The use of vaginal wash and feminine hygiene products can lead to bacterial infections and subsequently increase the risk of cervical cancer, Mr Stephen Turreh, a Pharmacist at the Ashaiman Polyclinic, said on Monday.
“Cervical cancer is cancer that starts from the cervix, which is a hollow cylinder that connects the lower part of a woman’s uterus to her vagina,” he told the Ghana News Agency in an interview in Tema.
Many women, especially the young ones, in a bid to either tighten their vagina after birth or give it a pleasant smell, turned to the use of feminine hygiene products, especially vagina wash, often advertised on social media, he said.
Mr Turreh said it was important to educate women on the effect of such products as they contained chemicals that destroyed the protective agents in the female reproductive organ, when introduced there, making it prone to bacterial infections.
The female reproductive organ has its own beneficial bacteria that serve as protective agents to fight infections but the chemicals in those products rendered them less effective, putting women at a higher risk of having infections, that could lead to cervical cancer.
“When a woman gives birth, the PH level of the vagina is neutral, but once she starts menstruating, it becomes acidic and that acidity is for a purpose, so any microorganism that enters there that is harmful to the body will be taken care of by the acid environment,” he said.
Mr Turreh said aside from cervical cancer, other related diseases could be contracted, including pelvic inflammation, especially through douching with devices other people had used.
He cautioned women against the use of some homemade concoctions to clean the vagina saying: “Getting something to cure something is very easy, but the problem is what it does to the body”
He advised women having discharges with odour and discolouration as well as itching to seek help from professional health care providers instead of using concoctions.