Could an everyday product be causing your vaginal infections?
Tik Toker Banned Toni, or Antonia Kanoria, recently posted a viral video after discovering the cause of her chronic vaginal infections. She tried everything in the book for months, until she found the root cause of her infections. Spoiler alert: it’s a product we ALL use every single day.
We’ve always been told to wipe front to back to avoid vaginal infections like UTIs and yeast infections. But, what if we shouldn’t really be wiping at all? After months of chronic BV and other vaginal infections, Antonia realized that the cause of her problems was the toilet paper she was using.
Could toilet paper be causing my vaginal infections?
One of the major problems with TP comes when you buy the scented kind. While you might be aiming to smell fresh down there, you might be trading that for a bout of yeast infections. The chemicals used in the fragrances can disrupt your pH balance and cause a yeast infection. (Note: this is also true for other scented products like wipes and cleansers.) However, there may be some ingredients lurking in your toilet paper that are even more harmful than irritating scents.
In 2010 the National Library of Medicine conducted a study on a patient who was experiencing chronic vulvar discomfort. The patient experienced constant rawness and itching. Yeast infection medication provided some relief, but did not get rid of her symptoms. Ultimately, it was discovered that she was having an allergic reaction to the formaldehyde used in her TP.
The NLM’s study concluded that if a patient presents chronic vulvar irritation and infection, and nothing is showing up on tests, “the patient should be advised to use unbleached toilet paper or minimally processed toilet paper to see if her symptoms abate.”
So, what is formaldehyde- this irritating ingredient that we’re essentially wiping against a very sensitive part of our body on a daily basis? Formaldehyde is a preservative. It is used in the production of fertilizer, paper, plywood, and some resins. It is also used as a preservative in some foods, medications, and household products. According to the CDC, “repeated exposure to formaldehyde can possibly lead to cancer. Workers may be harmed by exposure to formaldehyde.” Formaldehyde is also said to irritate the nose, lungs, and throat.
Why on earth are we rubbing it on our vaginas! Formaldehyde is used to strengthen TP and stop it from breaking down. According to the same 2010 case study, “the whiter, thicker, and pricier TPs are more likely to contain formaldehyde, while thinner, grayer, and more affordable brands are less likely to.” Yikes.
The study signed off by declaring, “We believe that it is crucial that the manufacturers of toilet paper and other personal hygiene products and household goods be required to reveal all ingredients and chemicals in their products.” This nods to the larger issue that we are not always aware, or properly informed about, WHAT we are consuming- whether it be dietary supplements, cleaning supplies, or toilet paper.
If you have a sensitive vagina (or even if you don’t) here are some better brands and alternatives when you need to wipe down there: