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How to Prevent Vaginal Infections

The best way to avoid vaginal infections is to avoid putting anything in the vagina. A fascinating study in the Journal of Infectious Diseases shows that a change in normal vaginal bacteria and vaginal infections can be caused by cleaning the vagina with the fingers, wiping the vagina, or inserting anything(1). When a gynecologist examines a woman, he or she routinely checks under a microscope for clue cells, vaginal cells that have bacteria stuck on their surface. Women with clue cells are at high risk for venereal diseases.

Previous studies show that douching with anything including just plain water increases risk for vaginal infections. Another study from the University of Washington confirms the first study showing that women who use contraceptive jellies or cervical caps or diaphragms with contraceptive jellies, had higher than normal levels of intestinal bacteria in their vaginas that markedly increased their risk for vaginal infections. Women who used birth control pills were not at increased risk. The vagina is best left alone.  Also see Yeast Infections and Chronic Vaginitis

1) JHHM vandeWijgert, PR Mason, L Gwanzura, MT Mbizvo, ZM Chirenje, V Iliff, S Shiboski, NS Padian. Intravaginal practices, vaginal flora disturbances, and acquisition of sexually transmitted diseases in Zimbabwean women. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2000, Vol 181, Iss 2, pp 587-594.Address: van de Wijgert JHHM, Populat Council, 1 Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, New York,NY 10017 USA.

2) K Gupta, SL Hillier, TM Hooton, PL Roberts, WE Stamm. Effects of contraceptive method on the vaginal microbial flora: A prospective evaluation. Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2000, Vol 181, Iss 2, pp595-601 Address: Gupta K, Univ Washington, HSB, Dept Med, Div Allergy. & Infect Dis, 1959 NE Pacific St, BB1221, Box 356523, Seattle,WA 98195 USA

Checked 9/13/18

May 16th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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