Feminine wash products are a popular choice among women for keeping their nether regions feeling fresh and clean. Some women even assert that douching (cleaning the vaginal canal) regularly-- as frequently as everyday-- with feminine wash helps prevent the incidence and recurrence of both vaginal and urinary tract infections (UTI). Typically, feminine wash comes pre-mixed, as a combination of vinegar, water, baking soda, and iodine. Sounds innocuous enough, but how safe is it to use on a regular basis? Furthermore, are there any negative side effects for using too much of it?
According to Dr. Greg Alvior, a seasoned Ob-Gyne and president of the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) Medical Foundation, the answer to the first question depends upon the type of feminine wash being used. Not all formulations of feminine wash are the same, with some being much stronger than others in their ability to kill bacteria. Dr. Alvior states, “Some [types] are strong antiseptics, and so could cause a super infection with resistant-fungi and bacteria if used too often and too long.” In the case of a super infection, the resistant fungi and bacteria don't respond to conventional medical treatment, making it that much more difficult to manage and prevent from spreading throughout the vaginal area.
Also, keep in mind that in most cases, both good and bad bacteria can be killed by feminine wash, which could be a disadvantage, because your body needs the good bacteria. An adequate amount of good bacteria (normal vaginal flora) is needed to maintain the acidity of the vagina, which is what maintains your ability to fight and prevent infections in that region. Prolonged use of feminine wash-- especially the stronger types-- can change the acidity of your vagina, and can make you more vulnerable to infections.