Bigwig corporations that sell feminine hygiene products have tapped into the pulse of Indian women by urging them to use intimate hygiene wipes. Why? Because having a nifty wipe in your purse can help you clean discreetly even in the dirtiest of public washrooms. Now that’s empowering if nothing else.
But then why are scientists the world over claiming that intimate hygiene products like these wipes aren’t all that good for women?
Perhaps, these studies can offer an answer
A study published in the journal BMS Women’s Health claims that there is an association between specific vaginal/genital health and hygiene products like wipes and washes and adverse health conditions.
And another study published in the journal Microbial Ecology in Health and Disease ratifies that intimate hygiene products have an adverse effect on the vaginal biome. Products like washes, wipes, sprays, and so on hamper vaginal moisture which is responsible for vaginal immunity.
Intimate wipes feature harmful chemicals that are bad for your vulva
“Women should avoid using intimate wipes and other feminine hygiene products because the fragrances and preservatives in these products are not good for your vagina,” suggests Dr Seema Jain, associate director, obstetrics and gynaecology at Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi.
“Our vagina has a natural mechanism of killing bacteria and viruses. Using an intimate wipe might disrupt this protection mechanism and can expose the vagina to STIs and STDs,” she adds.
Using the wrong technique can also land you in a soup
But if you must use one, you’ve got to use the right technique. “Wipe your genitals from front to back,” Dr Jain suggests. “If you do it the other way round there are high chances that you might push anal bacteria towards your vagina.”
So are there no benefits that these wipes have to offer?
“These products are only beneficial when you are on the go because you may not always find clean water,” she says.
Women often ask me if they can use these wipes after having sex, but I don’t recommend it. When you’ve just had sex, your vaginal lining is super sensitive. Cleaning it with these chemical-laden wipes can cause itchiness and rashes.
Quit the wipes and try these natural remedies instead
“While travelling, carry a pack of cotton hankies and coconut oil. You can dip the hanky in water or oil to clean your vagina. This way you’ll clean yourself while protecting your vaginal biome,” she concludes.
There you go ladies. So, stop throwing money at these fancy wipes and allow your vulva to do its job naturally.