Vaginal ‘Health’ Products: Help or Harm?

Vaginal ‘Health’ Products: Help or Harm?

If you’ve perused the grocery store aisle of feminine hygiene, you are likely to find a host of products that are marketed for “vaginal health” or freshness. These include deodorizing sprays, feminine wipes, douches, and more. This leads many women to ask: “do I need these products to maintain my vaginal health?” Unfortunately, this is a topic that is plagued with misinformation and misleading advertising.

The truth is, the human vagina is designed to self-maintain in most cases. In fact, in your efforts to make your “down there” area smell better, you could be creating more harm than good. Most gynecologists will tell you that keeping a clean vagina and scheduling routine vaginal exams is all you need for optimal vaginal health.

Here are a few items that you may think are helping but may actually be harming your vaginal health.

#1 Scented Soaps and Deodorizers

It is understandable if you don’t always feel “fresh” down there – especially when you are on your period. This may lure you into advertisements for scented pads, feminine wipes, scented soaps, sprays, and more. In reality, the perfumes and added chemicals used in these scented products can disturb the careful pH balance of the vagina. This can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as itching, excess discharge, or a vaginal infection that requires antibiotics.

#2 Douching

According to the Office on Women’s Health (OASH), 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15 and 44 douche their vagina. Douching involves using a lavage device to flush water (or special cleanser liquid) through the vaginal canal. While you may not have trouble finding a douche kit to purchase at your local store, these are not medically recommended.

#3 Silk or Satin Panties

It’s okay to love pretty underwear. However, be mindful of the fact that the health of your vagina may be at risk if you only wear panties made of silk or satin. While they may look and feel better than cotton, these materials can retain moisture and restrict healthy ventilation. Unfortunately, this creates a perfect environment for bacteria overgrowth and infection. Cotton, on the other hand, can help wick moisture away and allow your vagina “to breathe” more.

At North Pointe OB/GYN, we value the importance of educating women on which products and habits are not fostering better vaginal health as they may assume. We recommend yearly gynecology wellness exams as the best way to keep your vaginal health in check and address any concerning odors you may be experiencing. Call our Cumming clinic today.

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