Experts warn women against douching

Douche-washingObstetricians and Gynaecologists (O&G) have warned women to be wary of health risk associated with douche washing.The experts, under the aegis of Society of Gynaecologists and Obstetricians of Nigeria (SOGON) said that the common habit of douche, that is, washing the vaginal with soap, detergent and antiseptic among others exposes women more to vaginal infections.

The association, at a meeting in Lagos, said it was imperative for women to know that the status of the vagina boils down to its pH level that is typically 3.5 to 4.5, adding imbalance pH accords for vaginal health issues.

A healthy pH, according to them, helps beneficial bacterium to thrive and do its job of maintaining vaginal health.Member of the association and specialist at Reddington Hospital, Dr. Olufisayo Balogun, explained that the normal environment of the vaginal has some bacteria-lactobacillus, that is a normal ‘commensal’ or ‘flora’, whose presence does not amount to infection, rather as protection against infections.

Balogun said: “In a woman of reproductive age, the ovaries are still active. The lactobacillus makes the glucogen available in the vagina. The Bacteria work on the glycogen to convert to bacil acid that brings down the pH level within the vagina. Once the acidity of the vagina increases due to the reduction of pH, the environment becomes acidic. Then the bacteria profligate,” he said.

Another expert, Dr. Bayo Bamisebi, added that when pH becomes elevated, the environment shifts in favour of the pathogenic bacteria. This, according to Bamisebi, can allow pathogenic bacteria to cause vaginal odour, discomfort and even infection.

“Elevated pH is one of the key factors doctors look for when diagnosing vaginal infections. Maintaining healthy vaginal pH within the healthy range can help reduce risk of vaginal issues.

“Unfortunately, elevated vaginal pH can be caused by a number of things, including your period, because blood has a pH of 7.4, sexual intercourse (pH of semen is 7.1 to 8), some hygiene products (even “pH-balanced” feminine washes have a pH of 5.5 or higher). The hormone fluctuations that women experience each month are also associated with elevated pH.

“In addition to this, the art of douching-washing the vaginal with soap, detergent, antiseptic, or sitting on potty is a harmful cultural practice and wrong perception.”

Bamisebi explained that women who engage in such practices usually that that douching would make their vagina clean. “But the implication is that while trying to wash the vagina off its discharge, the normal bacteria-lactobacillus are wiped off. Once the bacteria- lactobacillus are off, the acidity increases and the pH of vagina is reduced and becomes suitable for other organisms to thrive.”Balogun clarified that every woman has normal vaginal discharge and it is expected to be clear, scanty, odourless and not associated with itching…”

“At any point in time once there is a departure from these parameters, leading to the vagina being associated with odour, itching, either coloured or profuse, that is a derailment. And that is a signal for infection. And vaginal infection has been described as the commonest gynaecological presentation by women across the county,” he said.

He encouraged women to visit their hospitals once they have itching for proper diagnosis. Balogun said as experts, Klovina is trusted in the treatment of any or all of the vaginal infections. This is because it is a vaginal pessary that contains Clotrimazole, Metronidazole and lactobacillus Spores, which are indicated for the treatment of vaginal infections- both fungal and bacterial, such as Vulvovaginal Candidiasis, Bacterial Vaginosis and Trichomonas Vaginalis, and restores a healthy vaginal floral.

“A vaginal pessary is a plastic device that fits into your vagina to help support your uterus (womb), vagina, bladder or rectum.“In times past, we have medication for just each infection, but the good thing about the technology is improvement in pharmaceutical research that avails us with holistic treatment compared with empirical treatment. With modern technology the type of organism responsible for an infection and its sensitivity through culture are gotten. We now have medications combined to treat these combined infection at a go. I have been using Klovinal for over three years with good results,” Balogun said.

Brand Manager of Klovinal, Chukwuma Ozoh, said in addition, Klovinal protects women’s vaginal. He said: “Before its introduction into the Nigerian market, a large number of women always go back, that they aren’t well treated but Klovinal has bridged that gap. It is also safe in pregnancy. In addition to what experts in the field have said, women should learn to put on dry briefs and not wet undies,” Ozoh said.

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1 Comment
  • Morgan Nwanguma

    Thank you very much for this topical issue broken down to bits. These infections and the habits that sometimes precipitate them just do not seem to want to go away. But I’m sure glad there are pointers to some sort of solutions.