Vagina myths that need to die, according to gynecologist Jen Gunter

Myth: You need to clean inside your vagina with special products.


Put down the douche.
Crystal Cox/Business Insider

Take one walk down the feminine hygiene aisle at your local drugstore and you’re bound to find a large selection of products that claim to make your genitals smell fresh and clean.

In reality, these products aren’t good for the vagina and vulva, and gynecologists including Gunter have warned against using them.

“There is no need for your vagina to smell like a garden,” gynecologist Dr. Donnica Moore previously told Insider.

The vagina’s odorous discharge is what allows it to naturally clean itself, according to the Mayo Clinic, so normally healthy people don’t need to buy any special products to clean down there.

A popular vaginal cleaning product is the douche, which works by expelling a liquid, like water or a vinegar-water mixture, into the vagina. Often, these products contain added fragrances, which Moore said are problematic. 

Fragrances can potentially irritate the vagina and cause inflammation, itchiness, and pain. Plus, if a person already has a yeast infection or other bacterial vaginal infection and tries flushing out the area with a douche, it can actually push the bacteria further up into the cervix and worsen the infection, according to Moore.

Even fragrance-free douches and other vaginal-cleaning products can upset the vagina’s healthy bacteria, Gunter wrote, and cause infections.

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