Doc’s Corner: Know Your Body, BV and Women’s Health

Image © Walt Stoneburner.

Image © Walt Stoneburner.

By,

Suzanne Coleman, MD

 

Ladies, I wanted to talk about your personal health.  I’m writing this to let you know that there is no need to put anything “up there” to clean yourself.  Where?  Your vagina.  Your body takes care of itself, it’s made to keep itself clean.  Anyone who is putting anything up there to “clean” themselves is potentially putting themselves at risk.

I recently read that some women have been putting petroleum jelly up their vaginas.  This stuff, while great for other things, doesn’t belong there.  In the article they found out that people who do this are much more likely to get BV.  What is BV?  It’s that bad fishy smell some women get coming out from their vagina.  It means that the normal healthy environment that exists in the vagina has been messed up by something.  People who end up with this need to go to the doctor to get antibiotics to treat it.  The full name of BV is bacterial vaginosis.

Many women who come in to be treated for this end up getting it over and over again.  This might explain why!  If they keep doing something that isn’t good for their body, then the body reacts.

Also, I know of no evidence that douching is necessary for women, in fact, it is potentially more harmful than anything.  Putting chemicals inside your body in this way isn’t the best idea, unless your doctor recommends it for some reason, and I have never heard of even one doctor who has recommended that.  Like I said, your vagina is made to keep itself clean.

So I wonder if those people who are are using petroleum jelly in their vaginas are doing it to try and provide lubrication during intercourse?  If so, they should try something else that is healthier, like the products made especially for intercourse.  Check out the water-based lubricants at the local drug store, or ask your doctor what products she recommends for this.

Petroleum jelly is something that you never want to use with a condom.  This is because it will react with the condom and can cause it to break or weaken, therefore allowing sperm and infections to possibly get through.  This is true for anything that is oil-based (including butter, cooking oils etc.), so you should not use anything like that with a condom or you are putting yourself at risk.

So there you have it, some good info to know!  Go forth and be happy and healthy.  If you have any questions, make sure to ask your doctor, don’t feel awkward about asking us, it’s what we do.

___________________

Source article on medscape.com (you may need to register to see it):  http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/780461?nlid=29037_1341&src=wnl_edit_dail

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