Gynaecologists warn against use of vaginal cleansing brush, call it unnecessary, harmful

Instead of believing in fads like vaginal cleansing brush, one should adopt practices that actually improve vaginal health.

Myupchar July 28, 2020 16:44:15 IST
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Gynaecologists warn against use of vaginal cleansing brush, call it unnecessary, harmful

You might have heard gynaecologists and health experts explain that the vagina has an ecosystem of its own. A woman’s vaginal health — particularly the state of her vaginal microbiota or the microbial community in her vagina — determines her overall quality of life, her body’s defence or immune system against pathogens, and her sexual-reproductive health. Any disturbance in this ecosystem can lead to negative health outcomes.

And while this piece of vital information is shared by healthcare professionals all over the world, we still come across vaginal cleansing fads, like vaginal steaming, from time to time that not only suggest that you should interfere with your vaginal microbiota but that you should do so because it’s “healthy”. The latest of these fads is the use of vaginal cleansing brushes.

A vaginal cleansing brush for your period?

A brand introduced this product, reportedly claiming it to be “the world’s first and only vaginal cleansing brush” made of medical-grade silicone. The product is supposed to clean your vagina while you’re menstruating. According to reports, you’re supposed to insert the brush into your vagina once every day when you’re on your period, and it automatically removes any “debris” or dirt inside to make you feel cleaner and fresher.

While the product isn’t being marketed as a medical product that lightens the flow of your period, the makers reportedly claim that it can reduce the number of sanitary pads or tampons you require during your regular period. But the brush would need to be replaced after each cycle for hygienic reasons so it ends up increasing your period budget anyway.

The product came under international scrutiny after a gynaecologist and women’s health expert, Dr Jennifer Gunter, took to Twitter to criticize it and highlight the dangers it poses. “Every day it seems as if someone comes up with a new and thoroughly unnecessary, yet harmful vaginal cleaning product marketed as empowerment,” she said in the tweet.

Her comments then spurred many commentators, including actress and activist Jameela Jamil, to further speculate about the harm such so-called vaginal hygiene products are doing to women’s health. The makers of this vaginal cleansing product reportedly came out with a statement after this uproar on social media but soon deactivated their account.

What your vagina really needs

As mentioned before, your vagina does not need external products or methods to clean it. “The vagina is naturally self-cleaning and self-preserving,” says Dr Archana Nirula, senior medical officer at myUpchar and a gynaecologist with over 25 years of experience. “You don’t need to use products like these to artificially cleanse the vagina, because it will just cause an imbalance in the microflora, and that in turn can cause health issues,” she says.

So, instead of believing in fads like this vaginal cleansing brush, you should adopt practices that actually improve vaginal health. “Never use perfumed soaps or wipes to clean the genital area. Keep the vulva, or external parts of the genitals, dry, especially after urinating,” Nirula recommends.

“Make sure your underwear is made of comfortable, breathable material like cotton and that it’s clean and dry as well since moisture can cause infections,” she says. “Practicing safe sex and peeing after sex is also vital for your vaginal health. If you feel anything is wrong, don’t hesitate to visit a gynaecologist and get a proper screening done.”

For more information, read our article on Tips on keeping your vagina healthy.

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health.

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