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Look Out, Ladies! Omv! Is After Your Vagina!!!

 I cannot believe what I just read in my email. Vagisil has a new product called OMV! Apparently, they have created scented wipes and cleansers for young teenage girls to use on their parts. A Dr. Jen Gunter, gynecologist, has tweeted against this and whipped up some conversation in the Twitterverse. A bunch of other doctors are on board, and I would like to add my voice to the conversation because the misconceptions about the cleanliness of the female vagina and vulva (and the uncomfortable results of attempts to clean them) have cluttered up my practice to a certain extent. Now Vagisil is aiming this at the teen population but my first contact with this issue was in 1981 when I was working as a medical receptionist for four male internists in Washington DC. This one elderly lady was going absolutely nuts about discomfort in her vaginal area, calling multiple times a day to complain about it and trying to reach her doctor. I do not remember what he did to treat it, but whatever he did, it was not having any effect. And he was notably underwhelmed by the constant flood of messages. Since I answered the phone for the four doctors, I got the full song and dance about what was going on and what the lady was trying to do to make it better. One day she revealed to me that she was washing the area with Ivory soap (a more drying soap has not been created -- except maybe lye soap) multiple times a day. I was 26 years old at the time and recognized that her obsessive cleaning was causing the problem. The next time I saw the doctor I explained to him what was going on, pointing out that this was the problem and she needed to be told to stop doing it. He clearly did not listen to me (HE didn’t have a vagina), nodding his head and muttering something over his shoulder as he went down the hall. The lady’s complaints continued. I went to medical school late in life and my mother commented that I had been practicing medicine for the past 20 years and it was time that I got legal about it. She was right: When her doctor did not address it, I explained to the patient over the phone that she was the one creating the problem and she had to stop doing it. I don’t know as she ever listened to me because I didn’t have an M.D. (yet) but her complaints finally died down. Now this was the 80s, and Vagisil had not been invented. You could not get Monistat without a prescription. If trouble occurred in Paradise, you had to wait for your doctor to treat it. And there were not as many female doctors around back then. Male doctors are less likely to understand the whole eco-system that is a woman’s vagina and the delicate balance therein because they do not have one. A vagina, I mean. It makes you think about the old joke about how going to a male gynecologist is like going to a mechanic who does not own a car.T hat was not my only contact with vulvar and vaginal irritation among my patients. I am always getting complaints about itching and burning, almost always caused by young women using soap to clean their parts. I have to tell them to stop doing it. Only water, you only need water. I think the removable hand shower is the best invention for female hygiene ever. And OMV! is not needed. Your vulva and vagina are not dirty. It has already been pointed out by someone in the Twitterverse that using OMV! is going to lead to developing bacterial vaginosis (and yeast, in my experience) which will create a great new market for Vagisil. Let me point out here I do not support using Vagisil for bacterial vaginosis or self-treating yourself with monistat and its equivalents when you think you have a yeast infection. Let’s face it, the most obvious symptoms of BV and yeast are the same: itching and discharge. If you’ve got a discharge, come see me. We will get you in right away because if you’re having discharge and itching, you do not want to have to wait a week or two to see your doctor.  

Author
Dr. Tess Dr. Tess Garcia Dr. Garcia and her team provide a level of personal care that maximizes patients’ health and well-being. We treat the whole patient: spirit, body, and soul.

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