How feminine hygiene products can cause more harm than good
Feminine hygiene products, such as vaginal cleansing products, are often marketed to women to prevent vaginal odor. A common myth with vaginal cleansing products is that it can prevent pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and vaginal odor. However, vaginal cleansing products are unnecessary and can cause more harm. Vaginal cleansing products may include:
Why shouldn’t I use vaginal cleansing products?
Vaginal cleansing products can change the necessary bacteria and natural pH levels of the vagina. A healthy vagina has good and harmful bacteria that helps maintain an acidic environment, which protects the vagina from infections or irritations. Use of vaginal cleansing products can wash away the good bacteria and cause the harmful bacteria to overgrow. This can cause health problems for you and your vagina.
You should not use vaginal cleansing products to get rid of vaginal odor or other vaginal problems, such as:
- Vaginal discharge that smells bad
- Vaginal itching and thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an order
- Burning, redness, and swelling in or around the vagina
- Pain when urinating
- Pain or discomfort during sex
Vaginal cleansing products will only cover up odor for a short time and will make other problems worse. Odors and other problems may be a sign of vaginal infection or an STI. If you have any of the above symptoms, talk to a healthcare provider healthcare provider instead.
What health problems are linked to vaginal cleansing products?
Use of vaginal cleansing products can cause:
- Vaginal dryness
- Bacterial vaginosis
- Yeast infections
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- STIs – including HIV
- Problems during pregnancy – including preterm birth and ectopic pregnancy
What is the best way to clean my vagina instead?
Best way to clean your vagina is do nothing.
The vagina cleans itself naturally by making mucous that flushes out any blood, semen, and/or vaginal discharge. Avoid perfumes, deodorants, and powders in the vagina. It’s okay to wash the outside of your vagina (known as the vulva) with warm water or mild soap when you bathe. However, even some mild soaps can still cause dryness and irritation.
Vaginal cleansing products are unnecessary and can cause more harm. The best thing you can do, is do nothing! Your vagina will take care of itself. However, if you have any concerns about the health of your vagina, take control and find a healthcare provider near you!