Feminine Hygiene Products Affected My Health: A Case Study
Feminine hygiene products such as intimate wipes and sprays are often recommended for keeping you clean and fresh “down there”, but they will not necessarily suit all women. Sam Allen (22) was horrified at the amount of irritation that she experienced as a result of using feminine hygiene products.
Soreness and ItchingInitially, Sam was using feminine hygiene wipes to maintain a fresh feeling during her period. It did not take long for the feminine hygiene wipes that Sam was using to have a negative effect on her. She says, “After a couple of days of using intimate wipes, I started to feel very uncomfortable. The skin quickly became red, sore and itchy. This was despite the fact that I had made a point of choosing wipes that claimed to be fragrance free in the belief that they would not cause me any problems”.
InfectionAfter the soreness and itching continued to cause discomfort, Sam made an appointment to see her GP to discuss her symptoms. She says, “I was diagnosed with thrush, and advised to buy a tablet and cream combination to treat the symptoms. This was supposed to clear up the problem and soothe the irritation. Satisfied that this would be the end of it, I followed the GP's instructions”.
Rather than clear up, the irritation actually got worse. In frustration, Sam booked an appointment with a different GP, who had a different opinion on her symptoms. She says, “He suggested that my symptoms were indicative of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). He prescribed an antibiotic, which was much more successful. After two days, my symptoms disappeared”.
ReoccurrenceAs the vaginal discharge from the infection had left Sam feeling less than fresh, she decided to use mild and gentle feminine hygiene wipes on a one-off basis. This turned out to be another mistake.
She says, “At the time that the GP diagnosed my Bacterial Vaginosis, he was not convinced that my use of feminine hygiene wipes was the main culprit as this type of infection can have a range of different causes. However, when I returned to see him with the same symptoms after using the so-called mild and safe feminine hygiene wipes, he suggested that they could affecting the delicate pH balance within my vagina. Needless to say, he advised that I refrain from using feminine hygiene products at all. Instead, mild soap and water should be sufficient to stay clean and fresh in intimate areas”.
While Sam does not suggest that feminine hygiene products should automatically be avoided, her experiences of using them have made her sceptical as to how necessary they are and whether they really live up to the claims made about them.
She says, “While many women may use feminine hygiene products without having any problems, there are likely to be women like me whose experiences of them are not positive either. The strongly perfumed types are the most likely to cause problems, but as my experiences show, even the so-called mild types can cause irritation to the outside of the vagina or if they get into the vagina and affect the pH balance”.