You’ve probably seen lots of vaginal hygiene products lately like scented sprays, fragrance soaps and douches that claim they’ll make your vagina better-smelling, cleaner and healthier. While these products may seem appealing, the truth is they aren’t necessary and can actually contribute to problems like vaginal infections.
The Vagina is Self-Cleaning & Self-Balancing
The vagina naturally maintains a healthy pH and bacterial environment with vaginal discharge.
Estrogen helps maintain the lining of the urethra, vaginal walls, and uterus as well as vaginal lubrication. It also encourages the growth of beneficial bacteria like lactobacilli which maintain the vagina’s slightly acidic pH. This pH prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and controls yeast in the bacteria.
When you use special products like fragranced soap and douches, you are actually upsetting your vagina’s natural pH.
Most vaginal hygiene products are soap-based and alkaline while the vagina is supposed to be acidic.
Even “pH balancing feminine washes” can be problematic because they contain irritants, fragrances and chemicals that can contribute to itching and irritation.
Research has shown that women who frequently use feminine hygiene washes are more likely to develop bacterial vaginosis.
Vaginal Douches Aren’t Great Vaginal Hygiene Products
Virtually all vaginal hygiene products and fragrances are unnecessary and contribute to pH imbalance and irritation. Douches can be even more dangerous, however.
A douche is a popular vaginal cleaning system that expels a liquid into the vagina. This liquid may be scented water or a mixture of water and vinegar.
Douching can cause vaginal irritation, pain, inflammation, and itchiness. If you already have bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection and try to clean your vagina with douching, it’s possible to push the bacteria further into the cervix. This can actually worsen the infection and increase the risk of more serious complications.
Douches can also wash out healthy bacteria in the vagina which changes the vaginal pH and makes it easier for a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis to occur.
The Safe Way to Correct Vaginal pH
The vagina has a normal pH of 3.5 to 4.5 which is ideal for supporting lactobacilli and warding off infections. Many things can affect vaginal pH and cause it to become too acidic or too alkaline which encourages bacterial overgrowth or an overgrowth of yeast.
For example, sex can interfere with vaginal pH because semen has a pH of 7 to 8. Your menstrual cycle can also change your vaginal pH as blood has a pH of 7.4. Your pH should return to its normal range soon but this doesn’t always happen.
If you have been using feminine hygiene products to mask vaginal odors or attempt to get rid of unusual discharge, you may be dealing with a vaginal infection that will only get worse with vaginal hygiene products.
A safe and effective method for restoring your normal vaginal pH and treating vaginal infections is using boric acid suppositories. Boric acid is listed as safe for treating persistent or recurrent vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis and research shows that it really works.
Boric acid is actually better at treating BV than antibiotics because it restores the naturally acidic pH of the vagina. Research shows it’s up to 88% effective at treating bacterial vaginosis. That’s better than antibiotics yet it comes without the risk of a yeast infection afterward.
Don’t threaten the health of your vagina with vaginal hygiene products that claim they’ll get rid of odors. Boric acid suppositories are a safe, science-backed approach commonly recommended by gynecologists.
Sarah Nelson is a nurse with 15 years of experience working with a variety of patients. She has a Masters of Science in Nursing and has spent a large portion of her career working exclusively with women in an OB/GYN setting.
Nursing is a passion for Sarah but she also enjoys writing and sharing her expertise online with people who need helpful information. Treating patients well and helping them learn more about their own bodies is a key essential to a healthy lifestyle that Sarah truly believes in.