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Your Vagina Is a ‘Self-Cleaning Oven’

July 06, 2017
From the WebMD Archives

The Internet was awash this past week with concern, outrage and, yes, excitement in some corners, over the release of a product designed to release glitter in women’s vaginas.

A single post on the company’s Facebook page was shared more 40,000 times, but its signature product appears now to be unavailable.

While it remains unclear whether the company and its signature product is wholly legitimate, it’s not the first vagina-related product to get attention. Remember wasp nests and jade eggs?

WebMD talked to Traci Johnson, a gynecologist at Gwinnett OB/GYN Associates outside Atlanta about what happens if you follow these vaginal trends.

WebMD: Should women be following trends of inserting objects into their vaginas?

Traci Johnson:. The vagina has a very delicate pH balance that it deals with on its own and so you want to be hesitant to put anything in the vagina that may wash away the good bacteria and therefore let bad bacteria grow. This can cause something called Bacterial Vaginosis (BV), which can promote a very fishy odor in the vagina. It sometimes can be very hard to get rid of that type of infection. So that’s one reason, and the other reason is it could cause some small scratches or sores in the vagina and you may have more painful sex. Also it could allow an increased likelihood if you are exposed to a sexually transmitted infection to obtain it.

WebMD: Celebrities and others have promoted products and treatments to clean your vagina, including a steaming process. Does the vagina need to be cleaned?

Johnson: I don’t recommend putting anything up in the vagina to clean it. Just use a very mild soap and water on the outside, where your pubic hair would be or is. Even the soap used on the outside, I recommend a more dye free, sensitive type of soap, or … a bar-like soap that doesn’t actually contain any of the harmful, harsh soap products. As far as the steaming and any kind of cleaning up in the vagina, I don’t recommend that because I think that it will change the normal pH balance..

WebMD: Are feminine cleaning products mild enough to clean the vagina?

Johnson: I think some women like them, they feel fresher after their use, they don’t have an issue with them, but as a general rule if somebody asks me if they should start using those products, I say no. I tell them the vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. I didn’t make that up — that’s just kind of ob/gyn talk — and (the vagina) naturally kind of migrates to what it should be and any kind of harsh chemicals may damage that delicate balance or damage the mucus of the vagina. It’s kind of like your eyes have a natural tears and natural lubrication, and is similar to the vagina. The vagina has glands that are there that promote its well-being and your body kind of cleans it on its own.

WebMD: If someone is thinking about trying these trends, do you recommend that they talk to their gynecologist first?

Johnson: Yes, definitely. If they are thinking about it then they should their ob/gyn about it and see what their take on it is and what they should except and if they recommend it or not.

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