Researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science found a positive correlation between the increase of ovarian cancer rates and douching (washing or cleaning the vagina with intimate cleansing products). 40,000 women in the United States and Puerto Rico were monitored for a period of over a year, where by the end of this period, 154 of the women had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Within the women who were diagnosed, the rates were double among women who reported douching in the year before entering the study, although the exact relationship between the two issues are still unknown.

Vaginal douching is quite popular among women where it involves cleansing the vagina with ‘feminine cleansing washes’. However, it is important to note that there are many factors that can contribute to this phenomenon as correlation does not mean causation. For example, women who notice discomfort or infections in their genital area may be more likely to douche, and this might also indicate poor ovarian health.

Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at New York University Raquel B. Dardik said: “Women who douche may do so because they have more infections, and perhaps the higher infections lead to more inflammation in the tissues which could increase the incidence of cancer.”

Douching is often seen as a way to keep the vagina fresh and free from bacteria, although it is not entirely backed by the medical community, and is solely due to the stigma of vaginas being ‘unclean’. In fact, douching has been linked to increased risk in yeast infections, as it can push the infection-causing bacteria to the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. Increased infections lead to increased risk of cancer, especially in regards to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

One of the safer alternatives to relief discomfort or infection in the genital area is by using lactic acid gel such as Relactagel®. Unlike feminine washes, Relactagel® is used intravaginally (not by douching or washing) thereby effectively putting the treatment gel where it is needed. With the lactate gel staying in place and not being washed out, Relactagel® provides a natural and effective solution in relieving infection and abnormal discharge.

The lactic acid in Relactagel® restores and maintains the natural acidity of the vagina thereby creating a suitable environment for good bacteria to flourish. The glycogen content in Relactagel® provides nutrients for naturally occurring bacteria thereby further promoting the growth and­ rebalance of natural bacteria. As well as relieving the symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis, Relactagel® can be used to maintain the natural pH balance of the vagina, thereby preventing a recurrence in the long term.

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