Hygiene Products: Harmful or Helpful?

Health Tips

Recently, intimate hygiene products have become more and more popular: tampons, pads, wet wipes, etc. Some say that the use of these hygiene products can provoke various “female” diseases. Is it so? Goodshapetips asked this question to a gynecologist.

A huge selection and variety of hygiene products makes it possible for a modern woman to lead an active social life.

Tampons allow in the most delicate period to continue to do your favorite things and hobbies – dance, swim, run; pads provide a sense of security in all periods of life, even in the most “critical”; wet wipes are comfort and freshness at any time.

How harmful or useful is their use, and do they have a therapeutic effect in gynecological diseases?

Myths about the dangers of tampons

Gynecological tampons are small dense oblong cylinders pressed from a soft absorbent material – a mixture of specially processed and bleached natural fibers (cotton and viscose).

They are inserted into the vagina to absorb menstrual flow. Tampons are produced with and without an applicator (a device for facilitating the insertion of a tampon).

According to the volume of liquid absorbed, the following types of tampons are distinguished: Lites (intended for adolescents, as well as for use with minor bleeding); Regular (with slight and moderate discharge); Super (with moderate and heavy discharge); Super plus (with very heavy discharge).

The first use of products similar to modern tampons was recorded as early as 1550 BC. In ancient Egypt, women made them from soft papyrus. The first modern tampons were created in the early 1930s by the American physician Earl Haas. The product was called Tampax (from the English. Tampon & pack – tampon and packaging).

Used for almost a century, modern tampons have proven themselves not only in terms of ease of use, but also because of the safety for women’s health.

However women who use tampons should not forget about the risk of complications such as toxic shock syndrome (TSS). It develops very rarely. Most often, the cause of the disease is Staphylococcus aureus, pyogenic streptococcus and clostridia, which normally live in a small amount in the body.

With the introduction of a tampon, especially a highly absorbent one, microcracks can form in the vaginal mucosa, through which bacteria and their toxins, under certain conditions, enter the bloodstream.

To prevent this from happening, when using tampons, it is necessary take some precautions:

use tampons only during menses, do not use them to absorb normal vaginal discharge;

do not use tampons for bleeding during pregnancy;

reuse of a tampon is unacceptable;

do not leave the tampon in the vagina longer than 4-6 hours;

avoid using tampons that are more absorbent than necessary, especially if they are uncomfortable or difficult to remove;

do not use tampons all the time, alternate them with pads;

do not use tampons during sleep – this will allow the microcracks that formed when using a tampon during the day to heal;

do not use tampons if you have inflammation of the upper (adnexitis, endometritis) or lower genital tract (vulvovaginitis), as well as during the treatment of vaginal infections;

if there is discomfort in the vaginal area or blood flow, which could be due to incorrect or insufficiently deep insertion of the tampon, remove the tampon and then insert a new one;

use tampons of only world famous brands; avoid the use of so-called “health”, “healing”, “cleansing” tampons from unknown manufacturers, since it is not possible to evaluate their safety.

Sanitary pads: which ones to choose?

On the topic of identifying the potential danger of tampons, many studies have been conducted both in Russia and abroad, during which it was proved that when used correctly:

one. tampons do not cause changes in the microflora of the vagina and an increase in the number of bacteria;

2. tampons do not cause endometriosis, ectopia (erosion) of the cervix, infertility and do not affect the duration of the cycle and the most menses;

3. at the same time, tampons, even “improving”, containing various substances of plant origin, do not have a therapeutic effect in gynecological diseases – ectopia (erosion) of the cervix, inflammatory processes of the appendages, prolapse of the genital organs;

4. virgins can use mini tampons; however, in order to avoid unpleasant incidents, they should first consult a gynecologist;

5. the tampon cannot penetrate the uterine cavity, since the cervical canal is very narrow – 2-3 mm; if the lanyard came off the tampon, and the tampon remained inside, then try to remove it with your fingers inserted into the vagina; If this fails, then immediately contact a gynecologist.

Is it safe to use wet wipes?

Pads are special hygienic devices fixed on underwear, adsorbing:

daily vaginal dischargepanty liners for women)

menstrual (female sanitary pads)

postpartum discharge (postpartum pads)

urine with incontinence (urological pads)

There is a wide variety of gaskets depending on their thickness, length, shape, color and the presence of “wings”.

In ancient times, for hygienic purposes, women used papyrus, wool, pieces of cloth, paper, deer moss and other natural “wealth”. The first similarity of gaskets appeared in the XIX century. Commercial production of the first women’s sanitary napkins began after the First World War, during which nurses used surgical dressings to make them.

For a hundred years, the device of gaskets has undergone various changes, the result of which is absolute convenience and comfort in use.

To this day, this feminine hygiene product is regularly updated: the top layer is modernized, made from the latest materials in the form of the smallest three-dimensional mesh, filled with extracts of various plants (chamomile or aloe), flavors; the absorbent layer is being improved – at the moment there are absorbent materials, upon contact with which the liquid becomes gel-like.

The main issue discussed in the literature concerns the safety of gaskets in relation to women’s health. It was previously thought that women who use panty liners have an increased risk of developing vaginal candidiasis (thrush).

Indeed, in a number of women suffering from a chronic form of candidiasis, after refusing to wear pads, the thrush disappears. At the same time, many of my patients who have been using panty liners for years do not have thrush at all!

Scientists have found that chronic recurrent “thrush” does not develop in everyone, but only in individuals with certain features of immunity and individual response to the pathogen. If you don’t have such features, use pads to your health!

Wet wipes, given their varieties (children’s, hand, intimate), are one of the most common personal hygiene products. They were invented in the 70s of the last century. Wet wipes indispensable in conditions where the use of water and soap is impossible: when traveling, outdoors, etc.

In the production of wet wipes special non-woven materials are used as the base material, with low hygroscopicity and air permeability.

Special requirements apply to the impregnation of intimate hygiene wipes. It should not contain alcohol, but at the same time protect against bacteria and have a calming effect. It contains antiseptic additives such as calendula extract, as well as milk protein, which strengthens the protective properties of the female body.

As a gynecologist, I can say that wet wipes for intimate hygiene have no contraindications. But one should take into account the possible individual intolerance, which often occurs on deodorizing additives.


Photo: shutterstock.com

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