(Cover) – EN Fitness & Wellbeing – Feminine hygiene products could make an infection down below three times more likely, according to a new study.Researchers at Canada’s University of Guelph quizzed nearly 1,500 Canadian women about their vaginal health and their purchases, with the most common products including anti-itch creams, moisturisers, lubricants and feminine wipes. Though in many cases women were buying such things to address an existing concern, specific products turned out to be connected to some infections.For example, participants using wipes were twice as likely to have a urinary tract infection, those using lubricants or moisturisers were two and a half times more likely to have a yeast infection, and those who had purchased gel sanitisers were almost twenty times more likely to have a bacterial infection.Lead investigator Kieran O’Doherty is concerned that the desire for women to feel clean and fresh could be putting them at risk from uncomfortable health problems. “Our society has constructed female genitalia as unclean, and the marketing of vaginal hygiene products as something women need to attain the ideal is contributing to the problem,” he explained. “These products are viewed as a physical need rather than a choice. But the reality is, there are potential health risks to using these products.”Feminine hygiene products are a £1.4 million industry in North America, but Kieran added that emerging medical research has linked the disruption of vaginal microbial systems to health problems such as pelvic inflammatory disease, cervical cancer and reduced fertility. “These products may be preventing the growth of the healthy bacteria required to fight off infection,” he warned.Though the findings did not establish whether the products are the cause of the infection for sure, Kieran believes that this strong correlation warrants further research.The study was published in the journal BMC Women’s Health.© Cover Media