All women use this, but it doubles the risk of ovarian cancer

Numerous women hold aversions to scented intimate products and might feel self-conscious about their intimate health. This perspective often stems from misconceptions that consider the vagina to be unclean, necessitating cleansing with gels or specialized soaps. However, some hygiene practices taken to maintain “personal cleanliness” may actually jeopardize well-being and lead to serious health issues, with a heightened risk of ovarian cancer being particularly significant.

Douching involves the introduction of water and other substances into the vagina for hygiene, often facilitated by devices such as irrigation bags. While once believed to offer contraceptive benefits, modern science contradicts this notion.

Contrary to common belief, the vagina is inherently self-cleaning. It possesses the capacity to defend itself against infections and bacteria. Key to this function is the vaginal flora, comprising protective bacteria that enhance local immunity. The vaginal pH (4-4.5) acts as a natural defense against bacteria associated with fungal ailments.

Vaginal cleansing is unnecessary. Regular douching and use of harsh agents fail to disinfect intimate regions and instead elevate infection risks. This practice disrupts the vaginal flora, altering its ecosystem by eliminating beneficial bacteria. Consequently, the vagina becomes more susceptible to irritation, infections, and yeast issues.

Beyond being invasive, douching is perilously linked to heightened ovarian cancer risk. A study from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences revealed that it doubles the risk of ovarian cancer, as reported in the Journal of Epidemiology. Over several years, researchers tracked more than 41,654 women aged 35 to 74 in the US and Puerto Rico, all without a history of breast cancer but some with breast cancer-affected sisters. Questionnaires delved into lifestyle, health, fertility, and personal hygiene, including douching frequency and talcum powder use.

In subsequent analysis, researchers examined medical data in 2014 to assess its impact on ovarian cancer. Findings disclosed that out of the 41,654 women, 154 developed ovarian cancer, with 20% diagnosed within the year preceding the study. Notably, the procedure amplified ovarian cancer risk by 80%.

Clarice R. McCullough of the National Institute of Environmental Health emphasized the superfluous nature of douching, underscoring the vagina’s innate capacity for self-cleaning. McCullough stressed that douching disrupts the natural equilibrium of vaginal flora, thereby triggering severe infections.

The study also assessed the association between ovarian cancer and talcum powder use. Usage within the year prior to the study was reported by 12% of women with ovarian cancer and 14% without. Researchers concluded that no significant link exists between ovarian cancer and talcum powder.

Based on these scientific insights, it is prudent to steer clear of vaginal douching to avert various infections, complications, and the elevated risk of ovarian cancer.

Recommendations for Personal Hygiene:

  • Wash the external genitalia with clean water.
  • Refrain from further vaginal interventions and avoid products labeled “gentle” designed for intimate cleansing. Such products may contain chemicals that disturb the vaginal ecosystem, causing irritation.

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