Products your gynecologist doesn't want you to use

Products your gynecologist doesn't want you to use

Molly Soloff
3 minute read

There is no shortage of products for your health. However, which ones are helping and which ones are hurting? We sat down with our resident medical expert, Dr. Katherine Palmerolaa board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist, to give us the scoop on the health products we shouldn't be using.

Vaginal cleaning and douching products

The vagina has natural bacteria that ensure a healthy vaginal environment — just like there is healthy bacteria in the gut (and emerging evidence that there are many other areas of healthy bacterial colonization). Vaginal cleansing and douching products (all of them!) harm these natural bacteria and facilitate growth of other pathogens that can lead to infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV) and yeast. You should not put any product in the vagina unless it is prescribed by your doctor for treatment of specific medical conditions.

Herbal supplements (SOME of them!)

Not all supplements are created the same. Since supplements are not FDA-regulated, there are varying levels of the proposed active ingredient in each formulation of a given supplement. Some herbal supplements can interfere with the liver’s metabolization of that supplement or other medications you may be taking, such as the birth control pill! Bottom line — be sure to share all herbal supplements with your primary care provider so they can confirm a newly prescribed medication is safe for you. And, if you are taking any medications (especially birth control pills!), talk with your primary care provider before starting a new supplement.

Lubricants (if you're trying to get pregnant!)

Did you know many lubricants (including saliva!) can be harmful to sperm and may decrease your chances of pregnancy? This is because some lubricants contain enzymes that may degrade sperm or impact their function, particularly the sperm movement. This does not mean that lubricants are a good form of birth control, however! The best lubricant for conception is the natural vaginal discharge, which increases in volume around the time of ovulation (resulting in an increase in clear mucus discharge you may notice!). However, if you need a little more lubrication, look for hydroxyethlcellulose-based lubricants which best mimic natural vaginal discharge and do not harm the sperm. Some examples are Pre-Seed, Uberlube, and even organic coconut oil.

Pregnancy & ovulation test combo

Pregnancy & ovulation test combo


Some things are just better together. With two pregnancy tests and seven ovulation tests, this combo gives you all the tools to better understand your body.

Bisphenol A (BPA)

There’s growing evidence that bisphenol A (BPA) can negatively impact all aspects of your health, but in particular can be damaging to your reproductive systems. BPA may interfere with the natural secretion and action of sex hormones, therefore interfering with egg growth and release (ovulation), and reduced fertility. There has also been evidence to suggest BPA may contribute to or exacerbate endometriosis through hormonal disregulation. Check out these tips to eliminate plastic from your life.


Vaping poses risks to your health from exposure to nicotine. Furthermore, there are limited studies to suggest that vaping non-nicotine products is safe — there may still be resultant damage to your lungs from inhaling these products. Given the insufficient evidence of safety, it’s best to avoid vaping for your optimal health.

Do you have questions for our resident expert? Share them below.

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