Itching, burning, bloody urination, painful sex, and horrific discharge are just a few of the symptoms way too many women get when a vaginal infection hits. A recent study reveals that the vaginal hygiene industry, a $2 billion industry in North America alone, is selling us a load of dangerous crap. Commercial lubricants, vaginal moisturizers, feminine wipes, anti-itch creams, and douching kits have been linked to vaginal infections: UTIs, yeast infections, bacterial infections, and general pain and unpleasantness.
What’s really infuriating about this, is the fact that so many women flock to these products in order to keep their punanis feeling “fresh and clean.” But where did anyone ever get the idea that a vagina can’t stay fresh and clean on its own, with the help of gentle bathing?
Well, our media-driven society has manipulated us into believing that women’s vaginas are unclean. Women feel compelled to go for the heavily-marketed vaginal hygiene products, as a required means to obtain optimal vaginal harmony. They’re convinced such products are a necessity, rather than a choice.
And a very dangerous choice it is.
The reality is that these hygienic products screw up the sensitive natural biome of our vaginas. A recent cross-sectional Canadian study shows strong evidence supporting the link between these feminine hygiene products and infection. Participants who had used any vaginal/genital health and hygiene product(s) in the three months prior had approximately three times higher odds of reporting any adverse health condition. Not to mention the health issues that come from using mainstream tampons and sanitary napkins.
Here’s a list of feminine hygiene products to keep away — far away — from your yoni.from 6 Feminine
6 Hygienic Products Linked To Vaginal Infections
Despite the fact that years of research back up the negative effects of douching, 20 percent of U.S. women in their fertile years are still douching away. of age had douched within the last year. Recently, our co-founder, Maryam Henein, even overheard a conversation where a male was mansplaining to his girlfriend about the hygienic benefits of douching. As if he’s got a clue to what he’s talking about.
The Canadian study links douching to adverse obstetrical and gynecological health outcomes, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, reduced fertility, ectopic pregnancy, low-birth rate, preterm pregnancy, cervical cancer, bacterial vaginosis (BV), and a higher risk for STDs. Participants in the Canadian study who reported using a douche in the previous six months had almost three times higher odds of reporting a yeast infection, seven times higher odds of reporting BV, and more than 2.5 times higher odds of reporting a UTI than participants who had not douched.
What’s more, a 2002 study saw a significant correlation between douching and vaginal dryness. Douches commonly include fragrance, which can be made of hundreds of different undisclosed chemicals, some quite toxic, and some certainly associated with allergies. When these toxins come into direct internal contact with absorptive vaginal mucous membranes, the result is quite dangerous.
2. Vaginal Gel sanitizers/Washes
Women who participated in the Canadian study who reported using gel sanitizers had almost eight times higher odds of reporting a yeast infection and almost 20 times higher odds of reporting BV than participants who had not used gel sanitizers. Those who used feminine washes/gels had almost 3.5 times higher odds of reporting BV, and almost 2.5 times higher odds of reporting a UTI.
Vaginal gels and similar products commonly contain the preservative, Benzethonium Chloride. Due to safety concerns, this same chemical is restricted from use for products that contact mucous membranes in Canada, Japan, and the European Union.
Participants of the Canadian study who reported using mainstream moisturizers/lubricants had 2.5 times higher odds of reporting a yeast infection and 50 percent higher odds of reporting a UTIs compared to participants who had not used moisturizers/lubricants.
Many of the bestselling lubes in the mainstream contain some of the same ingredients that are also used in antifreeze, brake fluid, and even oven cleaners. Not only is that one of the most unsexy realities, but those chemicals can also throw off the natural salt balance and pH in the vagina and put you at a higher risk of contracting bacterial vaginosis.
If vaginal dryness is a problem you struggle with, make sure you opt for natural lubricants. Curious Intimate Massage Oil not only uses the most ethical ingredients, but it also encourages the body’s ability to lubricate in the future.
4. Feminine Wipes and Baby Wipes
Wet wipes are hugely popular for their refreshing powers, but they may be one of the riskiest products to try down there. The participants of the Canadian study who used feminine wipes had almost double the odds of reporting a UTI. Those using baby wipes had almost 60 percent higher odds of reporting a UTI.
Many feminine wipes contain dangerous toxins such as parabens, Formaldehyde releasers, Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (IPBC), and Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MI and CMI) which have been linked to cancer, hormone disruption, and fertility problems. Many women have reported itching, burning, irritation, allergic reactions and bleeding rashes from use of these products. In addition, there were several reports of associated urinary tract infections. Several women noted that they used wipes in order to alleviate symptoms, but found that the wipes merely exacerbated the problems they were experiencing. Women of color are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals in feminine wipes, as they’re more frequent users of these products, as a result of targeted odor discrimination.
A healthy alternative to baby and feminine wipes is good old toilet paper. Just moisten the toilet paper with a bit of water (you can spray it on, so as not to oversoak them) and wipe to your heart’s content.
5. Anti-Itch Creams
When your vagina feels irritated, it seems only natural to use mainstream anti-itch cream. But this product increases the odds for infection even more than many others. Participants in the Canadian study who used anti-itch cream had almost 18 times higher odds of reporting a yeast infection, five times higher odds of reporting BV, and two times higher odds of reporting a UTI compared to participants who had not used anti-itch creams. So ditch the anti-itch cream — it’s only going to do you more harm than good.
Test results show dioxins, furans, and pesticide residues in tampons, which have been linked to cancer, reproductive harm, and endocrine disruption.
Tampons contaminated with these chemicals maintain contact with vaginal tissue for hours at a time for several days each month for women who use them. Elizabeth Moriarty, formulator of Curious Intimate Massage Oil, warns:
“Synthetic fibers are more absorbent than cotton. This concentrates menstrual proteins to a greater degree and provides an ideal environment for toxic anaerobic bacterial production. Additionally, higher levels of undesirable anaerobic bacteria and higher pH is found in women who use conventional feminine hygiene products, and higher levels of protective, beneficial bacteria and a desirable lower pH is found in women who avoid these products.”
Though the main selling point of a feminine hygiene product is its absorbency, too much of it can cause dryness, especially tampons, says Kate Dixon, a women’s health expert, “The female genitalia needs natural body fluids that helps a balanced pH, because of too much absorbency of these products, it causes irritation due to trapped bad bacteria that can lead to ulceration, and even infection.”
A Healthy Alternative To Vaginal Hygiene Products
Listen, I get it. In this day and age, it’s hard not to fuss over every detail of your body. And these feminine products sound so appealing. Who doesn’t want to be moisturized, lubricated, and smell good down there?
But the truth is, we don’t have to be slaves to these toxic products. There are amazing natural alternatives that can save us from vaginal infections and other health issues.
- CLEAN, NATURALLY HYGIENIC LUBRICANTS: CURIOUS
Some lubricants, such as Curious Intimate Massage Oil, not only smells amazing but is also specifically formulated to enhance your vaginal pH with beautiful ingredients such as green tea extract and pomegranate. That means you’ll naturally start smelling better, down under, even when you’re not using the oil every day.
- NATURAL ANTIMICROBIAL: EXCELSIOR
Silver is a 5,000 year old solution to both topical and internal infections which was largely buried and forgotten with the introduction of (patentable) antibiotics, that have since taken a massive toll on our collective resistance levels due to overuse. At HoneyColony, we realized the power of chelated silver (highly bio-available mixture) early on for UTI treatment. The #1 topical solution today is Rashblock, which can be applied externally. When UTI infections are recurring, it’s also good to take a few drops of Silver Excelsior Serum, the market’s top solution, with 4,000PPM concentration (typical colloidal silver contains 10PPM, or 1/400th the potency). You only need a couple of drops in a glass of water if infection is active or at risk, and the problem is usually taken care of. Finally, if you have a long-term requirement to keep your resistance at a maximum potential, and want to have a cost-effective solution, why not opt for a DIY solution for silver. With Silver Healer, you can make your own, highest-quality colloidal silver at the cost of distilled water, when ever you need it.
According to OBGYN Dr. Levy Gantt, “Women should aim to keep the vaginal pH at a 3 or lower, as that is the healthiest for the vagina. Most women who are having symptoms or chronic infections have a pH of 5 or above. Semen, blood, and most vaginal products (sprays, perfumes, lotions) all raise the vaginal pH. Using products that are designed to lower the vaginal pH will help keep the vagina healthy. Women should NOT use perfumed sprays, douches, lotions, gels, or other products that are designed to ‘make things smell better.’ They should not self-treat with any creams or lotions that they have in their medicine cabinets that they’ve used in the past to treat infections.”
We also have to scrape away the misinformation the media’s fed us about our vaginas being stinky, unhygienic wastelands that need all sorts of products to control issues Moriarty explains, “The vagina is perfectly designed. Rather than dispute the intelligence of nature, we should consider the mechanisms by which vaginal physiology and biochemistry interplay. Cellular turnover is a key feature, along with maintenance of pH within a narrow window and a balanced vaginal biome. It’s more complex of course, but this is a simplified explanation of a proper basis for developing products that naturally support the female body.”.
So make sure you treat every part of your body right and give your vagina the respect and loving attention it needs.
Linda Miriam Aziz-Zadeh is a freelance writer and editor who is passionate about preserving the natural beauty and wonder of our bodies, this planet, and the world. She is the co-founder of Crunchy Buzz, a health and wellness digital marketing agency.
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