Why you shouldn’t put baby powder down thereSunday, June 19, 2016
MOST women hate the idea of sweating, though it is a normal part of our bodily functions. To reduce sweat, they may put baby powder on the troubled areas, be it their armpits, under their breasts, or even on their privates.
But according to obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Charles Rockhead, all powders can affect the pH level of the vagina, moving it from an acidic to an alkaline state, and making women prone to infections such as yeast and bacterial vaginosis.
"Good bacteria — lactobacillus — live in the vagina and keep it healthy by maintaining an acidic environment. However, anything you do to reduce the lactobacillus in the vagina can result in a vaginal infection — things like antibiotic usage, which reduces bacteria, and scented tampons which can have chemicals that sometimes affect the vagina or the flora in the vagina. Also, scented panty shields, washing the vagina with soap, and using certain condoms or spermicidal jellies are things that will cause an infection," Dr Rockhead said.
He added: "There are added complications with talcum, a chemical used in some powders, which can lead to ovarian cancer. So women must be mindful of whatever powders they put down there. Apart from infections, anything with talc has the potential to cause ovarian cancer."
Dr Rockhead’s claims are supported by lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, the first in 2013, which saw Deane Berg, a woman in her 50s who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, winning the suit against the major talcum powder manufacturer.
She reported more than 30 years of talcum powder use, including the Johnson & Johnson product Shower-to-Shower body powder, as part of her personal hygiene routine. A South Dakota, US jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of the link between the use of their talc powders for feminine hygiene and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Dr Rockhead pointed out that research shows that the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder was originally discovered in 1971 in a study that revealed talc particles in the ovarian tissue of cancer patients.
He explained that this was the first instance in which medical professionals realised women were at risk when using the powder on their genitals, sanitary pads, diaphragms, and in condoms, as the particles of talc easily made their way into the vagina and were able to travel deeper into the reproductive organs.
He said one sample study demonstrated the ability of carbon particles to travel through the vagina and into the Fallopian tubes in as little as 30 minutes, leading researchers to believe the same was possible with talc particles.
"The vagina cleans itself, so anything else you do to it is likely to create problems," he said.
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