I’ve been thinking about doing a blog post on this subject for the longest time but had always put it off in favour of other posts, however I think it’s high time that I actually post this as worryingly, I’ve seen an increasing amount of youtubers and bloggers releasing sponsored content featuring feminine hygiene products. Not only is it uninformed and irresponsible, it’s potentially dangerous to the hundreds and thousands of young women out there who take in the content without knowing the side effects or the truth behind these products, so I’m here to shed a bit of light.
I’d like to start this post off by saying that I am by NO means a medical “expert” on vaginal health, however having worked with a group of 12 of the top private gynecological consultant surgeons in the UK in a laboratory for three years (and actually seeing real vaginal specimens after feminine hygiene use), I have picked up a harvest of valuable information that I hope will be of use to some of you out there! So let’s begin:
We all know what this is: the vag, lady garden, wizard’s sleeve, piss flaps, meat drippings, clunge, whatever you call it, the vagina is a v v beautiful and delicate organ that is capable of doing a multitude of amazing things and thus, must be taken care of v well. Now, the vagina cleans tself using natural vaginal secretions; this secretion is called discharge and is 100% normal. It’s normal to produce clear or white discharge and changes to discharge can normally be linked to hormones ie, yours may change colour depending on your menstrual cycle, menopause or pregnancy.
The vagina has the most amount of bacteria in our bodies, second only to the anal area. It is this bacteria that helps clean and moderate our pH level, keeping the vag clean and healthy.
Discharge and Scent
Absolutely NO ONE’S vagina smells like “nothing”. The only time that may happen is if you have literally JUST finished taking a shower and the discharge hasn’t had time to line the vagina again. Every woman has their own personal scent. The general description is that the scent resembles a ‘slightly musky’ aroma. Again, while it is normal to produce clear or white discharge, you may get the following. which are signs of abnormal discharge:
- A sudden change in colour or consistency
- A sudden bad smell
- An unusually large amount of discharge
- Itching or pain around groin area
- Unexpected bleeding
The common causes of the above may be the following; thrush, bacterial vaginosis, or an STI. If you find that your discharge resembles cottage cheese, it may be thrush in which case you would need to see your GP for some meds. If you notice a strong smell, it may be bacterial vaginosis. Bacterial Vaginosis is VERY common; it doesn’t mean you’re a freak, it doesn’t mean you’re unclean and it doesn’t mean you’re weird. All it means is that there is a slight imbalance in bacterial in your vagina, and a one week course of antibiotics will normally clean that right up.
Why feminine products are BAD BAD BAD
As I’ve stated above, our vaginas have everything it needs to order to maintain it’s pH levels and keep it safe and healthy. The only thing they require from us is to keep the area clean. What are the tools we need to keep it clean?
Water. Water. WATER.
All you need is a flannel or soft cloth and water. The flannel is useful for cleaning around the labia and inner labia to remove any bits of secretional fluid that may have been lodged within the flaps, which can cause a smell if there all day (especially if you’ve been sweating too). What you DON’T want to use are perfumed soaps and lotions and ESPECIALLY feminine products.
Apart from causing emotional and mental stress by giving women another reason to hate and feel insecure about their bodies, feminine products cause physical damage too. Let’s assess the myths shall we?
- Claims to be intimate and mild. FALSE
- Claims to not disturb the pH balance of the vagina. FALSE.
Any product that contains a chemical will always be too strong for the vaginal enviroment. By using these feminine products, you are making your vagina more susceptible to infection and harm as it destroys the good bacteria within your vaginal walls. Let me throw a few more feminine facts at you:
- They make you more prone to infections.
- The wash actually goes nowhere near the inside, so at best you’re being duped and at worst you’re harming your body.
- They can erode the lining of your vagina, including the labia and inner labia walls.
- Creates bacterial imbalance
- You do not need to remove any of the healthy bacteria in your vagina. You need it.
- It is a form of body shaming. Why am I not seeing a men’s smegma and foreskin wash anywhere?
- It can cause severe yeast infections.
- It does not fight infections.
Maintaining a clean & healthy vagina
So you want to maintain a clean vag? Try the following:
- Clean your vagina with water regularly. If on your period, clean at least twice a day.
- Practice safe sex. If you’re into foreplay, make sure your partner’s fingers/fingernails are clean.
- Drink loads of water.
- Wear breathable, cotton underwear
- Wipe from front to back
- Don’t use feminine products OR WET WIPES. I DON’T CARE IF YOU GET AN EMERGENCY BOOTY CALL, JUST DON’T.
- Eat Greek yogurt; it’s full of live cultures that help boost the good bacteria in your hoo-haa.
- Get a regular smear test.
- Be wary of bath soaks when taking a bubble bath.
- Stop listening to the corporations who make money off of your insecurity.
- Beware of stupid men who may try and dictate how they want your vagina to look and smell.
- Please stop watching Youtube videos from “gurus”about feminine washes. They have been misinformed.
- A healthy mind is a healthy vag!