Feminine hygiene products are all over the market and women are happily pulling these off the shelves into their shopping carts. After all, who doesn’t want to feel clean and fresh all the time? There are sanitary napkins and tampons to keep you dry during periods. Then there are scented soaps and vaginal douches that promise to make all your private parts fragrant. But, do you know that most of these are harmful female hygiene products with harsh chemicals?

Let’s take a quick look at what we are dealing with !

Well, it’s not enough to feel complacent about investing money in female hygiene products and think that you’re taking care of your special hygiene needs. Chances are, the products are doing more harm than good. And it’s definitely important to know about the harmful side of the products.

After all, the skin is the largest organ of the body. It is also the thinnest, as well as the easiest, for harmful chemicals to permeate. The toxins that come in contact with the skin enter the bloodstream easily and hence get distributed throughout the body. This is particularly true for the vaginal area. The skin in and around the vagina is extremely sensitive.

Can tampons and sanitary napkins be harmful?

To answer this, we need to ask another question. How much do we really know about the materials used for making sanitary napkins and tampons? Brands that produce these are not really required to reveal the list of ingredients or materials they are made of since they are ‘medical devices’. It is claimed that they contain dioxins, synthetic fibers, and petrochemical additives.

The plasticizing chemicals in them, like BPA and BPS, are hazardous chemicals that can harm the embryonic development and be linked to heart disease and cancer. The Phthalates content in paper tampon applicators can dysregulate gene expression, while the DEHP content can cause multiple organ damage. Sanitary pads contain harmful crude oil plastics, GMOs, odor neutralizers, and even pesticides.

Tampons and pads also have chlorine bleach, whose byproducts, like dioxin, can cause abnormal cell and tissue growth, as well as disruption of the immune, endocrine, and hormonal systems. Wearing these for prolonged periods of time can cause rashes, vaginal infections, Toxic Shock Syndrome, etc. The best alternative would be menstrual cups, which save you from all these dangers.

What about other feminine hygiene products?

The stores are full of products like vaginal douches, wipes, sprays, creams, etc. The first thing to remember in this case is that any product that promises to clean the insides of your vagina is a hoax - because your vaginal canal does not need one. It is self-reliant that way. Instead of helping, these products can disrupt the microbiome inside the vagina thereby causing infections and also resulting in other harmful effects by raising the pH level of the vagina. In addition, these products have many harmful chemicals that can cause allergic reactions, headaches, and vomiting, and also in some cases more serious ones like reproductive problems. They often contain potentially carcinogenic preservatives that release formaldehyde. Some products that are marketed as anti-itching solutions contain chemical allergens which actually add to the problem you are trying to treat.

The unregulated chemicals in feminine cleansing products, like allergens, endocrine disruptors, reproductive toxins, and carcinogens, can quickly be soaked up by the vaginal skin, which is highly absorbent. It might be difficult to find the right product, as there is hardly any supervision or pre-testing process to disclose a product’s side effects.

As a thumb rule, avoid any product that promises to make your vagina smell like fruits and flowers, or cleanse the vaginal canal on the inside. For cleansing, you should only choose natural, non-fragrant products that are designed only for external use to cleanse your vulvar area. Your vagina knows how to clean itself by producing a fluid of its own. Use water and mild, lab-tested unperfumed cleansers to wash the skin around the vaginal canal’s opening.

Remember that your vagina is not supposed to smell like roses and strawberries. So, ignore all products that go against the designs of Mother Nature!