FRESH START All-natural treatments are effective and eco-friendly.(PHOTO 123RF.COM)
If you have sensitive skin, allergies, or eczema, or often experience irritation down below, pads and tampons made from organic cotton (grown without pesticides) might help. “It hasn’t been proved, but some patients report fewer symptoms when using them,” says Dr Nina Brochmann, a co-author of The Wonder Down Under. “The menstrual cup is an excellent alternative. It doesn’t absorb excess moisture, so there’s less risk of irritation.” Try a few to find your perfect fit; even Tampax is making a menstrual cup.
For years, doctors have said to avoid genital-cleaning products. But Rael, Sustain Natural, and other companies now make pH-balanced wipes (meant for external use) from eco-friendly fabric, without the fragrances and harsh chemicals that can irritate sensitive tissue. The same is true of baby wipes, Dr Brochmann says: “They’re cheaper and usually hypoallergenic and fragrance-free too.”
As part of the natural movement, traditional remedies are getting attention. Boric acid vaginal suppositories, for example, are antiseptic and may help women with stubborn chronic yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis, Dr Brochmann says. Oral probiotics, especially those with Lactobacillus acidophilus, L. rhamnosus, or L. fermentum strains, may increase the amount of lactobacilli in the vagina, which in turn could help prevent urinary tract infections. But natural doesn’t always mean safe, she says. Run any remedy and its delivery method by your OB-GYN. ■