VAGINA DOUCHING: A RISK TO WOMEN’S HEALTH
As a frolicsome teenager with an impish nature that slightly loves to do naughty things for fun, I used to participate in a class called “Education for Health” Which was broad based in outlook and also a mix of general biology and sex education rolled into one in a disorganized manner.
Recounting an anecdote in one of those fun loving classes, we will ask questions that would unnerve and startle our ever patient and long-suffering teacher.
One of the spooking questions raised on this fateful day goes thus: Her good friend she said, used intimate cleansers to douche on a daily basis. Despite this, she ended up with a bad vaginal infection. “How was this possible?” my classmate wondered.
Our teacher expounded that over- use of cleansers for douching even the ones labeled as “safe” for intimate part of the body could upset the fragile and innermost balance of the vagina and give rise to infections; was our teacher right or wrong in her assessment?
Feminine hygiene products are merchandise – which include copious types of inward washes, wipes, shaving gels, and lubricants but also intimate douches and products for alternative care procedures such as vaginal steaming- are popular in many countries around the world.
Statistical indices show that the feminine hygiene market, on the whole, brought millions of foreign exchange into the economies of dozens of countries in 2017 alone.
Moreover, the global feminine hygiene market was projected to grow from $25.37 billion in 2021 to $26.65 billion in 2022 at a compound annual growth rate of 5.1% to $32.97 billion in 2026 at a compound growth rate of 5.5%.
It is pertinent to state here in this piece that the intention is not to kill the feminine products that help put food on the tables of those who eke out a living from these products that promote douching, But to educate the unsuspecting feminine base out there about the dire consequences of engaging in the act called douching.
It is shocking that in this time and age when information about how we are supposed to condition our body (most especially, the sensitive part of our body) properly to good hygiene we still pander towards products that can cause us to gnash our teeth in agony.
Many ladies wash the INSIDE of their vagina an act called douching- which has caused many infertile problems for young women engaging in this ignorant act.
Verifiable evidence has proven beyond reasonable doubt that douching cause perpetual foul smell resulting from vaginal discharge and continuous infections which upset the normal vagina environment which can lead to difficulty getting pregnant.
Moreover, the need to want to feel clean and maintain personal hygiene is not a criminal act but the innermost and sensitive reproductive organ of the feminine gender must not be sacrificed on the altar of engaging in the act of douching.
Nevertheless, the body itself secrets natural juices that automatically keeps the vagina good, moistened and healthy because that’s what breaks out as the normal vagina excretion that women see.
The vagina is ceaselessly being cleaned and it uninterruptedly stays clean all by itself. In as much as nobody washes the inside of their eyes and nose we just trust that its clean because the body naturally has an apparatus that unquestionably and undoubtedly cleans all the openings housed in the physiology of the human body without the aid of anyone.
In this situation, and as stated earlier, the typical vagina discharge that you see is one such cleaning mechanism. It’s the body’s way of constant cleaning and flushing.
That’s the reason why the normal vagina emission doesn’t ooze bad smell like some people make it to be. (It may have a smell but it’s never bad) does not have any color (or sometimes you see slightly off-white), doesn’t itch, or comes with fever, abdominal pain, and it’s not excessively much. This is what the ordinary discharge feels like.
Putrid smell from vagina emission starts due to so many reasons and it boils down to mainly infections. [But not exclusive to sexual transmitted infections.]
And one reason you get repugnant smell from vagina discharge is the washing and sticking all sorts of unhealthy feminine care products inside the vagina and subsequently, the innermost part of the female genitalia starts to have very abnormal discharge like fishy smell,
Yellowish/greenish and sometimes pinky color and it can be cheesy, very itchy, and you feel unwell with a fever or abdominal pain. All of this indicates an infection or an imbalance in the vagina environment.
Consequently, this imbalance in the vagina area is because of needless practices mainly by the act of douching with products like perfumed soaps, using bubble baths, shampoo or shower gel, vaginal deodorants, and many other highly marketed products that are harmful to the health of the vagina.
In fact, some have the fishy smell because they had recent sex or change in sex partner or current intrauterine device contraception- but also because of all this unnecessary douching and washing of the vagina.
However, there is the need to put things in proper and clearer perspective. Eating well and having a normal bath is an elixir for basic hygiene.
The vagina by itself has some natural microorganisms and a pH that normally keeps it clean and healthy on its own.
The standard vaginal discharge which is odorless, colorless and non-itchy is the vagina cleaning itself out. This is how fantastic the vagina is without your help.
Conversely, I can’t talk about the harmful effects of douching without proffering solutions on how to have a healthy vagina. So what are the simple tips for having a healthy vagina?
Firstly, use only warm water to wash the vulva (the outer part of the vagina). Then dry with a quick towel.
Secondly, never douche. Thirdly, avoid putting anything into the vagina- no soaps, no creams, no deodorants and sprays. Then as much as you can, adorn clean cotton underwear.
Try not to wear nylon, acetate, or other fibers that may cause irritation. Next, avoid wearing anything too tight, rinse underwear thoroughly after wash. Except you used it before with no problems, Thongs too can be unsafe.
In fact, do not engage in saltwater bath as a routine or if not recommended. It is unnecessary. But if you just had a baby and your doctor or midwife prescribes it, do sit baths as advised.
As much as possible, avoid wearing nylon pantyhose or panty girdles. Nylon materials are notorious for trapping heat and moisture, providing ideal breeding environment for organisms.
If you need nylons or leggings, wear cotton panties its better. In addition, anytime you feel the need to clean up, simply have a shower.
Or use safe intimate wipes if a shower is not accessible. Intimate wipes give convenience especially when you are menstruating, or during the times of the year when you are travelling long distance.
Furthermore, wipe yourself from front to back. It is very easy to export bacteria from the anus to the vagina when you wipe from back to front, this rule will save you a lot of infections.
Also use unscented and uncolored toilet paper in order to avoid irritation.
Similarly, never use a perfume or deodorant to make the vagina smell better.
A vagina may have a unique smell, but it should never ever smell bad. A foul or fishy smell is usually a sign of infection and poor hygiene.
Alternatively, never wear the same pads, tampons or panty liner for a whole day. Panty liners are not intended to be used for prolonged periods of time. Leaving the same one on for too long can irritate your skin and increase the risk of infection.
Finally, please stay away from the bad practice of self-diagnosis, googling your symptoms and self-medication. It is unsafe and risky for you.
If you have any worries about abnormal vagina discharge or smell, see your doctor. You may have serious infection.
NEVER ENGAGE IN THE ACT OF DOUCHING and NEVER WASH THE INSIDE OF YOUR VAGINA.
Anjorin Oludolapo Charles
Media Assistant Officer and Digital Media Lead at OYSHIA.