Shaving down below means you're 'THREE TIMES more likely to get an STI'

In fact, so does using any hygiene product down there – think douches, feminine wash and intimate wipes.

Canadian experts surveyed more than 1,400 women on their vaginal health and hygiene practices and found that intimate products do more harm than good to your lady garden.

The most commonly used products included anti-itch creams, moisturisers, lubricants and feminine wipes.

Researchers also looked at how waxing and shaving pubic hair, especially when shaving foam is involved, affected women's health.

"Participants who reported use of any vaginal/genital health and hygiene product(s) had approximately three times higher odds of reporting any adverse health condition," the report, published in the journal BMC Women's Health, said.

Think nasty infections like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes.

Some 80 per cent of women surveyed reported having experienced adverse reactions like itching, burning, redness, unusual discharge, swelling and sores down there at least once in their life.

Women who used gel sanitisers were eight times more likely to get thrush and 20 times more likely to end up with a bacterial infection like bacterial vaginosis.

Those who used anti-itch creams were 18 times more likely to suffer with thrush and five times more likely to get bacterial vaginosis.

And those who opted for washes, gels or wipes were two and half times more likely to suffer a urinary tract infection.

Lead author Kieran O'Doherty, a psychology professor from the University of Guelph, said: "While research has shown douching can have negative impacts on vaginal health, little was known about the dozens of other products out there.

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"The study does not establish whether it is the products causing the infections or whether women are using the products in an attempt to address the infection.

"However, the results do provide important evidence for strong correlations that need further research.

"These products may be preventing the growth of the healthy bacteria required to fight off infection."

Pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer, reduced fertility, ectopic and pre-term pregnancies, and bacterial and sexually transmitted infections are all related to an upset in the natural vaginal bacteria, he added.

It's not the first time experts have warned against questionable health fads down there.

We've seen no end to vagina related trends, from glitterboming, to cucumber cleanses, Vicks VapoRub to tingle and cleanse and wasp nests to tighten – gynaecologists have warned against them all.

And they've also warned against Brazilian waxes, or any other kind of hair removal down there.

Dr Vanessa Mackay, a spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, warned women to keep their pubic hair.

"Pubic hair offers a natural barrier to keep things clean, to decrease contact with viruses and bacteria, and to protect the tender skin of the area," she said.

"Shaving or waxing your pubic hair puts you at higher risk of contracting venereal disease, like genital warts.

"Although pubic hair doesn’t completely prevent sexually transmitted infections, it helps avoid skin on skin contact with someone who may already have it."

Another study found that Brits who shave or wax off their pubic hair are four times more likely to catch an STI.

So, how can you keep your area clean without using unnecessary, and possibly dangerous, products.

The bottom line is, if you are really worried that your vagina is not clean enough take comfort in the fact that they are designed to be self-cleaning.

It produces a discharge that is a form of mucus produced from the cervix, the opening of the womb.

It is a completely normal part of female life and is the vagina's way of keeping itself clean and healthy.

And when it comes to washing, water and a mild soap is best.

"Mild soap or a mild shower cream and water is all that you need to wash the outside of your bottom, front and back," Dr MacKay previously told The Sun Online.

"And you don’t need to wash your vagina – it self-cleans.

"If you have any concerns about odour you need to contact your doctor."


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