Over the past several years, vaginal products have become popular by promising relief from odor, itching and other problems. However, the truth is that there are five popular products that can interfere with your vaginal pH levels, cause yeast infections and even trigger UTIs in the sexually active.
The vagina is self-cleaning, which means you don’t need to wash it the way you would the rest of your body. There are many washes that guarantee to help lessen the smell of your vagina without damaging pH levels. However, scented washes can actually disrupt the delicate balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina.
Are these washes what causes recurrent UTIs? Yes, they can be one of the factors that cause people to have UTIs, especially if they are used on a regular basis. That’s why doctors recommend using water and a mild soap if absolutely necessary.
Oils and Gels
Lately, gels and oils have been promoted for vaginal health, but these can actually cause UTIs in the sexually active and other vaginal health problems. Tea tree oil and vitamin E oil are two of the most popular ones that people claim have health benefits for your vagina. Some vitamin E suppositories have been linked to better vaginal health, but if your vagina is healthy there is no need to add oils or gels. However, if you notice irritation, itching, burning, a foul smell or any other symptoms, it is best to seek professional help before applying oils and gels that may make it worse.
Vaginal wipes have been promoted to help clean the vulva and vagina after exercise, sex or during times when you want to feel fresh. Unfortunately, these have many of the same side effects as scented washes. While wipes may say they do not disrupt the pH levels, they have been found to do exactly that. Thus, the end results may be STIs, UTIs, infections, irritation and sensitivity. The best UTI prevention is often proper hygiene without products or only those products recommended by professionals.
Products shaped like eggs claim to promote tighter and stronger vaginas. Often these products are created from substances like silicone or jade. However, both silicone and jade are porous materials that can retain bacteria and transfer it to your body even when cleaned. There are some body safe silicones, but it is best to avoid vaginal eggs in general to prevent UTIs in the sexually active.
Lubricants can make intercourse easier, but some products may actually cause more harm than good. This is especially true for flavored lubricants or ones that heat up, as both can disturb the highly sensitive vaginal ecosystem and lead to irritation, allergic reactions to the chemicals and UTIs. That’s not to say that lubricants should be avoided entirely, but it’s important to be careful with the type you use.
Safe Vaginal Health Recommendations
While it is true that certain products can help improve vaginal health, it is important to understand which ones are helpful and which ones are harmful. As always, be sure you only use products and supplements that promote vaginal health and do not cause UTIs in the sexually active.