Toilet Paper Chemicals Can Cause Vulvar Irritation
Simple Swaps to Save Your Tush
During a time in which toilet paper may become our next form of American currency, it may be time to discuss the dark side of what wipes your moon. Research has shown half of women will experience a period of vulvovaginitis AKA vaginal discomfort leading to itching, burning, and stinging. Often women will self-diagnose and treat the itching with UTI or yeast infection remedies. However, studies have shown 50% of women that use antifungal medication do not even have a yeast infection. So, let’s talk about that precious white roll we are all stockpiling!
What’s the Culprit?
- Formaldehyde – Although toilet paper is a hygiene product, companies are not required to list the ingredients of their toilet paper or the chemicals used in production and have refused to provide such information claiming “rights to trade secrets”. Formaldehyde is a chemical often used that gives TP the characteristics touted in commercials such as strength and softness. Yet, formaldehyde can be very irritating to the vaginal tissue and is considered a possible carcinogen.
- Chlorine – Again, this is another chemical often used to give the paper products a bleached, white, “clean” look. Just like taking a dip in a pool, chlorine can be irritating to any skin but especially the sensitive dermal layers of the vulva.
- Ultra Soft Lint – No one can deny that the fluffy toilet paper looks most appealing for your sensitive areas. The softest paper however often leaves behind microscopic lint pieces covered in formaldehyde and chlorine to continue the irritation process even after your time spent on the toilet.
- Additives – Although papers containing fragrances, aloe, lotion, dyes, or perfumes may seem attractive to the consumer, these may also lead to allergic reactions and additional irritation. Furthermore, scented toilet paper uses chemicals that may disrupt the normal pH of your vagina thus leading to a possible yeast infection.
What’s the Solution?
- Brand Change – First and foremost you may consider changing to a less “soft” version of the brand you are currently using. In addition, a simple and cost-effective solution would be to change your toilet tissue brand to a non-bleached and unscented provider such as Seventh Generation.
- Cloth TP – Reusable cloth sanitary napkins is another option that is a bit more of an investment and requires more post-wipe work.
- Wiping Change – Dabbing after urination rather than wiping will decrease irritation and the possibility of micro-cuts from rubbing the tissue across the sensitive skin.