Many people use what are called feminine health products – such as intimate cleansers and towels, showers and even deodorants – hoping to feel clean and fresh. Does this product really help maintain genital health? In this function we check the lights.
In middle school, I received a class called “Health Education,” an eclectic mix of general biology and sex education transmitted in an accident.
As a cheerful teenager, many of my classmates asked questions and told anecdotes that they hoped would haunt our old teacher.
However, one of the questions really attracted the interest of all the girls in the class.
His good friend, he said, uses intimate cleansers daily. He suffered from a severe vaginal infection. – How is this possible? my classmate wondered.
Then the teacher told us that excessive use of cleansers, even those considered “safe” for intimate areas can disrupt the delicate balance of the intimate vagina and cause infection; But is our teacher right or wrong in his assessment?
The so-called feminine health products – which include various types of intimate ablution, towels, shaving gels and lubricants, but also showers and intimate products for alternative care treatments such as vaginal steam – are very popular in many countries in the world.
Statistics show that the market for feminine health as a whole has brought a million dollars to the economy in many countries only in 2017, with China and the United States leading the field.
In the United States, sales for vaginal care in 2018 is more than $ 286 million and costs $ 41 million. At the same time, other types of feminine hygiene products – excluding sanitary napkins, pants and cotton – raised more than $ 309 million in the economy.
But in recent years discussed the mantra of health and wellness sites and vaginal health education materials, namely that “the vagina is its own cleaning furnace.”
This idea refers to the fact that the vagina naturally produces secretions that remove dead cells and bacteria, so it does not need to be cleaned with soap, detergent or shower.
If the vagina doesn’t need to be cleaned again, does the same rule apply to the vulva? And how can different personal hygiene products affect vulvovaginal health? Here are some questions that we will discuss in this Spotlight feature.
Vagina and base of the vagina
First thing: What is a vagina, what is vulva and what is the difference between the two? In the medical sense, the vagina refers to the internal muscular tract, which extends from the cervix to the vaginal opening.
The vulva is the outer part of the female genital tract, which includes:
- inner and outer labia (small labia and large lips)
- vertebrate clitoris (outside of the clitoris) and the clitoral hood (a fold of skin that protects the head clitoris)
- vestibule (which surrounds the vaginal opening)
- opening of the urethra
- To maintain vaginal and vaginal health, we must ensure that two important aspects remain balanced: the pH, which is a measure that means something acidic or basic, and the balance of their bacteria.
Research has shown that vulvar pH is usually between 3.5 and 4.7, while vaginal pH varies according to age and menstrual cycle.
So, before reaching reproductive age and starting menstruation, the vagina must have a pH of 7 (neutral), while fertile age has a vaginal pH of 3.8-4.4. During menopause, the vaginal pH may be 4.5-5 or 6.5-7, depending on whether you are using hormone replacement therapy.
When it comes to understanding what a balanced germ in the vagina is for the vulva, everything becomes less clear.
In the vagina, the bacterial population varies according to the menstrual cycle and, according to some studies, people of different ethnicities also have different vaginal microbes.
In the case of vulgar microbiosis, experts have conducted several studies to determine what the normal bacterial population is like. However, previous studies have shown that the vulva naturally contains bacteria in the vagina, as well as some species in human feces.
According to one study, “the vulva is more complex than expected,” because the population of vulvabacteria in humans is very different.