Dr., What Feminine Hygiene Products are Recommended?

>> Thursday, May 22, 2014

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The skin of a woman’s genital area is sensitive but tough at the same time. This area is designed to protect from germs and produces protective natural oils and discharge that keep the area healthy.

That's why we discourage chemical or perfumed feminine hygiene products, especially douching, as these products readily break down this natural protective barrier and actually promote infections. Gentle daily cleaning on the outside skin and in all the creases with mild soap and water is all that is needed for many women.

Many also find that using WaterWorks helps them with daily vaginal cleansing to help them feel fresh and clean. It is FDA - cleared for the treatment of vaginal odor. It is a reusable device, with a slim medical grade stainless steel nozzle that sprinkles warm water gently downward within the vagina to rinse out old period blood or semen (or just for daily hygiene). The tip is connected to a reusable bag and hose to deliver the warm water through the nozzle. It is becoming a "must have" for many of us as part of our daily cleaning regimen in the shower.

The body produces vaginal discharge that naturally cleanses and protects the vagina. When women use traditional drugstore douches or use tampons or pads, they are removing the natural protection of the body. It is a well known fact among gynecologists that regular use of minipads and tampons to "soak up" or "wick away" excess discharge can actually make the body form more discharge. This is because the body has to replace the discharge that was taken away to continue protecting itself. Deodorants and perfumes added to pads and tampons can also cause allergy problems.

Everyone’s private area has a normal odor that cannot be removed or covered, no matter how much we try. The odors come from the chemicals in sweat, including pheromones, which are made by the body and can attract (or repel) others in general or sexually. If the odor is strong or the discharge yellow, this may indicate that you have an infection.

The vagina is able to clean itself with no special care. During menstruation, you can wash your body, including your genital area, in the same way as you always do. Be sure to change your tampons and sanitary pads regularly, at least four to five times a day.

Vaginitis is the medical name for swelling, burning, and itching from the vagina. When the vulva (outer area around vagina) is also affected, it is called vulvovaginitis. This is usually caused from imbalances of pH and organisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa, yeast or the more severe types of vaginitis from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like trichomoniasis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, genital herpes or human papillomavirus. The main symptom of vaginitis is a lot of whitish, gray, or yellowish discharge from the vagina. Milky-white vaginal discharge is normal for females of all ages, but with infections there is an abnormal amount of odorous even blood-tinged discharge. Many women experience a swollen, red vulva, which may be painful or itchy and cause painful sex.

Proper hygiene contributes to overall good health. Daily genital cleansing is so important. Mature women have natural hormones that cause oil and sweat glands to be more active. Vaginal discharge may vary due to the menstrual cycle, amount of sexual activity, exercise and the types of birth control used.

Accumulation of this normal bodily discharge can promote rashes, irritations and odors. Daily showers or baths can help with this, as can wearing clean clothing. And it is essential to wipe from front to back to prevent the spread of bacteria and also use a blow dryer or air dry before dressing, especially when you are fighting off infections.

Wearing all-cotton underwear or underwear with cotton crotches can prevent vaginitis. Then changing your underwear and pantyhose every day and removing them as soon as possible at the end of the day, especially in hot, humid weather.
Use deodorant-free white toilet paper or baby wipes to avoid perfume and dye. Avoid using feminine hygiene products like sprays, powders, lubricants, or bath additives. Do not douche as douching is not necessary. Use deodorant-free sanitary pads or tampons and stay away from spermicidal foams, gels, and creams.

I hope this helps as we approach summer. Please stay safe and have fun.

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