A new study suggests that women who routinely engage in vaginal douching are exposed to more health risks than their peers who don’t.
Experts explained that a harmful chemicals found in the liquid solutions sold at their local store or drug store can severely disrupt their hormonal balance. Additionally, douches are coated with hazardous chemicals that easily enter women’s bodies through the practice, experts caution.
Yet, this latest study is not the only one to warn against the health hazards vaginal douching may imply. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently cautioned that the practice of washing vagina with water or a chemical solution can result in infections, while other experts believe that douching may also be a cause to infertility in women.
But despite experts’ warnings, about one woman in four aged 15 to 44 still uses vaginal douches.
The recent study found that women who use vaginal douches also expose themselves to dangerous chemicals called phthalates, which doctors found that can disrupt the natural hormonal balance.
Researchers explained that introducing those harmful chemicals in the vagina can do more harm than good. First the chemicals in the liquid solutions can disrupt the healthy bacteria bloom in the vagina and expose them to pesky mycoses such as Candida albicans. Second, if the woman has a STD or infection, douching can move the viruses and harmful bacteria up to the uterus and ovaries and cause persistent health issues.
The research team said that the most harmful category of phthalates is diethyl phthalate (DEP), which is usually found in tampons and douches. The team reported that they had found large concentrations of DEP in women that routinely use douches. For instance, study participants who said that they engaged in douching in the last 30 days had over 50 percent more DEP in their urine samples than women who did not.
But if women used douches more than twice in a month, the concentrations jumped by 152 percent, researchers noted.
The study involved 739 healthy women aged 20 to 29 who had been involved in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. During the survey, participants provided urine samples and responded to surveys on the use of feminine hygiene products such as feminine wipes and powders, douches, tampons, and pads.
After researchers assessed the levels of phthalates in the urine samples, they found a strong link between vaginal douches and higher concentrations of the harmful chemicals.
Dr. Ami Zota, co-author of the study, cautioned that phthalates enter more easily women’s bodies because douches are used internally and thus provide “more opportunities for absorption.”
Image Source: AOA Family
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