Rinsing out your lady parts might not be as good an idea as you think…
We all like to feel nice and clean after a shower, but it turns out some of us are trying to be a little too clean.
A whopping 25% of women are reported to use douching – a method of intimate cleansing which involves flushing water up into the vagina – in order to cleanse themselves.
But new research has show than this extra level of hygiene could actually be detrimental to your health. According to a study by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, douching doubles your risk of ovarian cancer.
Scientists believe that this is because the water used to rinse your vagina actually pushes harmful bacteria up towards your fallopian tubes and ovaries.
This is good reason to stop douching IMMEDIATELY – ovarian cancer is frequently referred to as a ‘silent killer’ since sufferers often do not experience any symptoms until the disease is in its later stages.
Although this is the first time douching has been associated with ovarian cancer, it has always been the source of controversy amongst medical experts. In the past it has also been linked to yeast infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, reduced fertility and ectopic pregnancies.
Unsurprisingly, the NHS advises against douching, as well as using scented wipes and vaginal deodorants, which can affect the pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation. Instead, it recommends avoiding all perfumed soaps and gels when cleaning intimate areas.
So what should we be doing to keep clean down there then?
Vaginas are actually self-cleaning, meaning that douching is both unnecessary and dangerous. According to the NHS, the best way to wash your lady parts is to use plain unperfumed soaps to wash around the area and NOT inside it.
Meanwhile, outside of the bathroom, you can keep your vagina in good health by looking after the rest of your body too. “Generally, good vaginal health is maintained by making sure you’re in good general health,” explains Dr Suzy Elneil, consultant in urogynaecology at University College Hospital, London.
“This includes a healthy diet and exercise. Normal exercise helps maintain good vaginal function, as walking and running helps the pelvic floor to tone up and ensure good general health.”