By Spy Uganda
Reproductive health experts have warned women using Vaginal Washes and Fresheners that they risk contracting various type cancer in their genitalia.
Medics led by Dr, Rosette Namulindwa conducted research recently which revealed that a big percentage of women who use vaginal washes like Klenva Liquid, V Wash and others face higher risks of contracting cancer than those who don’t use them.
Researchers identified some of the commonest Vaginal washes on the market which include Klenva Liquid, V Wash Plus, Betadine, Naturacentail feminine, which cost between Shillings 5,000 to 380,000. Many of them are advertised as a solution to irritation and bad odors in the female genitalia and can be bought off shelves in supermarkets, beauty parlous or supermarkets.
However, medics warn that the use of these genital washes is exposing so many Ugandan women to infections such as Urinary Tract Infections and yeast infections.
One of the researchers Dr. Franklin Wasswa, a Public Health Specialist, said that “The vagina doesn’t need any kind of wash or special substance to clean because it is a self- cleaning organ. “
He added that “Using a chemical wash distorts the normal cleaning process which exposes the vagina to infections. Soap or foam and the vagina do not have any business being near each other.”
Dr. Rosette Namulindwa, a Specialist Obstetrician/ Gynecologist at Mulago Specialized Women’s and Neonatal hospital, cautioned women to avoid using intimate washes to cover up health conditions that they might be suffering from.
Dr. Namulindwa said that “Using vaginal washes changes the vaginal pH, which can lead to a number of virginal infections. PH is the measurement of how acidic or alkaline (basic) a substance is. “
Namulindwa explained that “The normal vaginal pH is supposed to range from 3.6 and 4.5 making it moderately acidic. However, this depends on ones ages. During the ages of 15 to 49, it is supposed to be below or equal to 4.5. During menopause- 45 and above, the pH is higher than 4.5”.
She noted that “Some dealers even go as far as saying that they contain anti-aging chemicals. The manufactures of the vaginal washes claim they help women to protect their vaginas from infection and keep them fresh all the time, which is contrary to the old practice where women were advised to use plain water to clean genitals.”
“When women use washes, the vaginal pH is tampered with and as a result the pH might be lowered or increased. These variances create a perfect environment for bacteria such as yeast to grow which leads to infections,” Dr. Namulindwa explained. Dr. Namulindwa said that due to the high demand for vaginal washes, their research noted that there is an increase in the number of women suffering from infections, which they believe are as a result of using vaginal washes.
She however advised women to stick to the traditional methods of genital care and stop copying western things. “The best way to clean the vulva is using water. Soap is not needed. Washes are not needed. Even after monthly periods, only water should be used. Water works,” Dr. Namulindwa said.
However, whereas medics are discouraging women from using vaginal washes, retailers of the products adamantly market them as the answer to all genital care problems.
Josephine Atapi is a sales representative of AIM Global, the distributors of Naturacentail feminine Wash. She said their products are natural and don’t have any side effects.
Atapi explained that “We use natural products. This product has no side effects and helps women keep their vaginas clean since many times they sweat or even go to the toilet to urinate and do not clean themselves well which can cause discomfort and or even bad odour,”
Some of the elements in the wash include; Elemi Oil-plant tissue, which is supposed to act as a stimulant, an anti-inflammatory, tonic and pain relief for vaginal diseases such as vulvovaginitis.
Dr. Wasswa said that so many women are duped into using the products due to the aggressive marketing carried out by the manufacturers and sellers of the products. He said women are made to believe that the responsibility to address sexual issue lies with them.