Using petroleum jelly or oils as lubricants is doing more harm than good, a recent study finds, as more women are susceptible to get vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases.
"Women should be aware that there is mounting evidence that some products that are inserted vaginally can cause damage to vaginal tissues, and can increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis and sexually transmitted infections," Joelle Brown, lead author and assistant professor at the University of California, told Reuters.
Researchers surveyed and tested 141 women between the ages of 18 and 65 for one year. In the last month, they found that 66 percent reported washing, douching or inserting over-the-the counter products or sexual lubricants vaginally, excluding tampons, and within that group, 45 percent used washes, either commercial or vinegar-and-water mixtures.
After retrieving lab results, researchers found 70 percent used commercial lubricants but discovered the women who used petroleum jelly or oils, at 17 percent and 13 percent, respectively, increased their chances of having bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis, or yeast infection.
Nearly 21 percent reported getting bacterial vaginosis while 6 percent got yeast infections.
Using petroleum jelly or baby oils are among the common vaginal practices reported. These women doubled their chances of getting bacterial vaginosis, a condition where there's an overgrowth of certain bacteria in the vagina.
Douching has been linked to risk of infections like candidiasis because it upsets the balance of naturally good bacteria that produces hydrogen peroxide, according to WebMD. So applying special products disturbs the natural vaginal ecology.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 20 to 40 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 commonly practice douching. Approximately half douche every week.
Vaseline manufactures a popular brand of petroleum jelly and labels on their packs that it's intended for external use only and not recommended as vaginal lubricants.
Researchers from the University of California published their findings in Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Published by Medicaldaily.com