At a time where everyone is a self-acclaimed medical expert and Google is the first go-to for every symptom you may be experiencing, women have been known to try all sorts of methods to help clean their vagina. While their intent may be good, here are some adopted actions that are causing more harm than good you should be aware of:
CUCUMBER: The cucumber cleanse is a process of inserting the cucumber into the vagina and leaving for 20 minutes while twisting around until it gets warm. However, famous Canadian gynaecologist, Dr Jen Gunter, has warned that you only increase your chances of contracting HIV or gonorrhoea if exposed.
CHOCOLATES: A recommended tease during sexual intercourse, chocolates can make you look sexy and also cause yeast infection because you are loading your vagina with sugar. Sugar is a potent tool for causing an imbalance in the pH levels of the vagina. Use chocolates on other sides of the body above the belly button.
FRUITS AND VEGETABLES: While fruits such as strawberries, bananas, cucumbers can spice things up, you leave your vagina at the mercy of bad bacteria. No matter how clean the fruit is, it still carries bacteria which might not upset the digestive system but will your privates. Dr Raquel Dardik, M.D., a gynaecologist and Associate Professor of Gynecology at NYU Langone Medical Center has this to say about vegetables, “Vegetables have pesticides, so you’re putting pesticides in your vagina which I don’t really recommend, and you can have them break off and have little bits and pieces that stay there for rather unhealthy amounts of time which, again, I don’t recommend. But nothing takes root, it’ll just rot.”
INTIMATE SPRAYS AND DOUCHES: Several beauty companies promise that their intimate sprays and vaginal wipes are the best in the market and are sensitive enough for the vagina. What they do not tell you is that the vagina is self-cleansing and releases discharge which is unclean.
Using these products increases your chances of getting an infection. Why? “They contain ingredients and chemicals that can dry out the vagina, cause irritation and increase the risk of tiny tears in your vagina that bacteria and viruses can enter through,” says Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical associate professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine.
YONI PEARLS: Adopted by women and promoted by some beauty enthusiasts, Yoni detox pearls can lead to the death of Lactobacillus acidophilus, a common bacteria in the vagina that produces lactic acid which prevents the growth of other harmful bacteria. That is not all. If left in too long in the vagina, it can cause severe infection, pelvic inflammatory disease and toxic shock syndrome (if used during periods). Using them to treat yeast infections can cause another severe yeast infection and make you bleed.
LUBRICANTS: Petroleum jelly (vaseline) is a common and favourite oil-based lubricant because of how easy it is to use. However, petroleum jelly or any oil-based product is hard to wash out thereby making it a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.
HAIR REMOVAL CREAMS: There are sayings in the public space that those who have clean and hairless privates are clean. While there are several hair removal creams to thank for that, these creams are really harsh and can cause abrasions which leads to itching, bumps and infection if used on the vagina or its surrounding area.
VITAMIN E: In 2017, reality star Khloe Kardashian advised women to try vitamin E as a natural moisturizer. She claimed that it may “strengthen vaginal lining!!! Moisturize your labia and vagina with vitamin E oil to combat dryness and soothe irritation.” Reacting to this, practitioners have argued that there is no proof that this actually works. Instead, oils like Vitamin E can break down latex condom thereby increasing the chances of unwanted pregnancies and allergy.
STEAM: Several articles preach on how steaming is a safer way or cleaning the vagina. Steaming involves sitting on a special chair that has herbal mix steam including lemon come out to steam their bottom. However, several doctors have expressed their scepticism on this method of cleaning the privates.
YOGHURT: The myth of putting natural sugar-free yoghurt to clean and get rid of thrush made its way into the Nigerian social media space recently. The argument is that it contains lactobacillus. However, medical practitioners recommend that you eat it. This is because the natural probiotic introduces lots of healthy bacteria to help with a balanced vaginal environment.
TATTOOS: In 2018, vagina tattoos were referred to as the “new black.” This new fad has since seen women visit the hospital for inflammation, infections and killer-itches. Besides, why upset the delicate area for a trend that will cause an imbalance in your pH levels?
SCENTED PRODUCTS: Some women have been known to react to scented toilet paper, soaps and scented condoms. It is best to avoid it altogether instead of trying to see if you’d react.
ALCOHOL TAMPONS: Dipping your tampons into alcohol damages the vagina walls.
The vagina is self-cleaning and is fine with water. Before you take any action on your vagina, always consult a MEDICAL DOCTOR.