Feminine Hygiene Product's Hazardous Chemicals Are Enough to Make You Sick

woman looking at drugstore photoBack in the day, women used Lysol as a douche. And it was for birth control, not just to make your va-jay-jay feel and smell its very best. But today's more "gentle" douches that promise to make you feel like summer flowers or smell like autumn rain are not so great, either. In fact, today's douching products expose women to dangerous phthlates, according to a new study.

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Phthlates are industrial chemicals found in some cosmetics and can interfere with the way estrogen, thyroid, and testosterone hormones work. They're also thought to be especially harmful if you're pregnant (or looking to get pregnant): In a study published in October 2014 in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, researchers found an association between prenatal exposure to phthalates and an increased risk of asthma in childhood. 

Douching has been also linked to increased risks of vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, problems during pregnancy, and sexually transmitted disease.

For the study, researchers at George Washington University took urine samples from women between the ages of 20 and 49. Those who had douched in the past month had a 52 percent higher concentration of a phthlate called diethyl (DEP) in their pee. Those who douched twice a month had a 152 percent (!!!) concentration.

The scientists admitted that the women in the study could have been exposed to DEP from something else, but it doesn't matter. This study is just one in a loooong line warning us that douches simply aren't a good idea.

More from The Stir: Does Your Womb Need a Good Detox?

Surprisingly, in the U.S., nearly one-third of women regularly douche. Some do it because they think it'll stave off an infection. Social and cultural factors also come into play.

"But it's not a good thing," says R. Mark Ellerkmann, MD, FACOG, director of the Urogynecology Center at Mercy Medical Center's Institute for Gynecological Care in Baltimore, Maryland. "The vagina is a microcosm of different bacteria and yeast, some of which helps ward off bad bacteria."

When you douche, you wipe out EVERYTHING, upsetting your vagina's natural "environment."

You also mess up its PH, says Ellerkmann, who explains:

A healthy, premenopausal vagina is very acidic because bacteria don't like that. Whether you douche with water, vinegar, or a fancy perfumed product, you're changing the natural PH and leaving the field open for bad bacteria to come in.

So yes, it's disturbing that douches may expose us to DEP. But we shouldn't be using them anyway.

 

Image via © Yuri_Arcurs/iStock

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