Vaginal hygiene products have become immensely popular throughout the past several decades, as all different corners of the health care and wellness industries work to improve women’s quality of life. Although some can be helpful, especially when working to treat specific ailments, a new study has raised some red flags and eyebrows with respect to the regular use of feminine hygiene products, notably long-term items.
A cause for concern
A new study from the University of Guelph was recently published in BMC Women’s Health and revealed that a relatively large study has made it clear that many women wind up experiencing health issues after using feminine hygiene products. The study, which involved 1,500 women in Canada, revealed that an astonishing 95 percent of the pool used feminine products and that they were roughly three times as likely to experience infection than those who did not.
According to the researchers, this correlation is concerning and is most closely tied to moisturizers, anti-itch creams and feminine wipes. While often used to treat a certain condition, they did seem to negatively impact long-term vaginal health. At the same time, though, the study did include a note regarding the potential qualifiers and variables that were not included in the research.
“The study does not establish whether it is the products causing the infections or whether women are using the products in an attempt to address the infection,” wrote lead investigator Kieran O’Doherty in the report. “However, the results do provide important evidence for strong correlations that need further research.”
Because, as the researchers noted, the vaginal hygiene industry rakes in roughly $2 billion annually in North America, the findings should be known by women who use them.
Avoiding the issue
This study does not mean that all feminine hygiene products are high-risk, and women who need treatment can reduce their chances of infection or other complications in other ways. For example, an article written by Wendee Nicole and published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine stated that those products containing carcinogens, allergens and heavy chemicals should be avoided.
“Overusing the products or applying them when it is not entirely necessary could also lead to damage.”
Of course, overusing the products or applying them when it is not entirely necessary could also lead to damage, so following the instructions carefully can help to reduce risk of infection and other complications. Proactive care that does not involve the use of feminine hygiene products might be best as well.
Women’s Health Magazine suggests being cautious with the use of antibiotics, to eat Greek yogurt regularly, to pay close attention to the types of underwear you use and consider taking a well-researched approach to general care. For example, the website states that douching and the use of soaps can actually lead to significant irritation and other issues. The science is not quite in on the former, but researching the best methods and talking to a personal care professional can help you avoid the need for heavier products down the line.
Perhaps most importantly of all is to always discuss your symptoms and intended use of products with a qualified doctor, ensuring that you understand your options and what the outcomes could entail. And, as always, check out some of the ways we can help you live your healthiest life.