Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

When your gynecologist says to only wash with water

(181 Posts)
instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 21:37:52

When I've had bacterial infections or thrush more than one gyn has told me to wash my fanjo with water only and not to use any soap "because it upsets the ph/destroys the vaginal flora" etc.

I was too slow stunned to ask: are they talking about the vulva or the vagina?? I would never douche or wash inside with anything, but how can you keep your vulva clean with water only? I mean how can the vulva "self-clean" sperm, blood, discharge?

CaseyShraeger Mon 15-Oct-12 21:41:35

Because they are all water-soluble?

NoWittyName Mon 15-Oct-12 21:43:00

Water should be sufficient to clean all of the above! Have you given it a whirl? Try it for a bit and see whether you feel you are 'unclean'. If you really are worried then go back and ask your gp/gyn if there is anything very mild you can use.

Sparklingbrook Mon 15-Oct-12 21:44:06

My Gynaecologist told me the only thing you should add to a bath is yourself.

instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 21:50:41

It just doesn't seem to make sense. Isn't sweat water soluble? I still for the sake of those around me use soap under my arms.

And for my fanjo: I have hair between my legs, I sweat, only part of what's between my legs can possibly be self-cleaning (the mucuous membranes) - everything else is just normal skin, isn't it? And that is not self-cleaning, as far as I know.

IWipeArses Mon 15-Oct-12 21:51:58

The water does the cleaning.

Water only works fine. I am one of many who gets thrush or a UTI if anything else is used to wash. No douching required!

instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 22:02:39

How many women actually only use water? I thought nobody washed with water only. I figure if I haven't smelled you all around me it must be ok?

instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 22:03:10

Even when you have your period?

Mintyy Mon 15-Oct-12 22:07:12

Try Femfresh or Body Shop tea tree body wash. I always always get thrush if I use any other sort of soap or shower gel, but these two don't give me gip and I feel properly clean.

TheDetective Mon 15-Oct-12 22:10:05

I am 27, and in all those years have never used anything to clean my genital area! Water only. In a shower. I don't smell, and am clean.

I struggle to see what the problem is here! If you are concerned about just water, well use a flannel too? I don't, I just spray the shower head and this cleans it all for me!

I also struggle to admit to talking about how I clean my vagina on the internet

notcitrus Mon 15-Oct-12 22:13:11

Just water here, after my gynae told me to. I trim a bit to ensure water is sufficient, but that and using only Ecover on my pants has kept my personal ecosystem very happy since.

Mintyy Mon 15-Oct-12 22:13:17

What about your bottom TheDetective. How do you wash that? wink

TheDetective Mon 15-Oct-12 22:14:37

With water! The same way! I might rub a bit of body wash on the cheeks, but I don't go delving in cracks grin

Seriously wondering how dirty one can get down there??!!

instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 22:14:48

It's taken me a while to post myself, TheDetective but I figure that MNers have read it all anyway. blush

Oooh no no no

I like a good scrub down there with soap

TheDetective Mon 15-Oct-12 22:16:00

I'm just hoping DP doesn't find this thread!


instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 22:16:24

Well, how dirty? If you had blood, sperm or other bodily effluents on your hands you would wash them with soap, Detective, wouldn't you?

TheDetective Mon 15-Oct-12 22:17:17

Yes because I will be touching other people/things with my hands.

I generally don't rub my genitals on other people. Mostly.

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 15-Oct-12 22:18:24

Water only in those regions. I don't smell :-)

RandomMess Mon 15-Oct-12 22:18:45

I was told to use "simple" soap only ie the brand simple and it made a huge difference try that first and resort to water only if that doesn't make a difference.

MajesticWhine Mon 15-Oct-12 22:19:40

I use soap or showergel on my pubes. And soap around the bum. But wouldn't put soap inside the flaps or around the vagina. Hot water does the rest.

nametakenagain Mon 15-Oct-12 22:20:57

Just water here too. Never anything else. Um, thought that was normal! Never had infections tho grin

HoneyDragon Mon 15-Oct-12 22:28:05

Water only here too. On genitals and face.

minipie Mon 15-Oct-12 22:37:32

Water only, except face and pits. If you use water thoroughly enough it will wash away all blood and other fluids, they are water soluble.

Re armpits: Sweat is water soluble but deodorant isn't. And we wear clothes which absorb the sweat, which then smells.

instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 22:40:59

Ok, you have converted me. I'll try.

TeaBrick Mon 15-Oct-12 22:41:31

I've recently started using water only to wash my bits, and haven't noticed a smell. I use soap on my arse though!

Pooka Mon 15-Oct-12 22:44:28

I used to get thrush. I started using lactacyd wash which did the trick. But mostly just water.

rubyrubyruby Mon 15-Oct-12 22:44:34

Water only here or th itching starts

bonzo77 Mon 15-Oct-12 22:45:57

some people can get away with soap, others can't. I can sometimes. if you really want to use something aqueous cream is good. If you have a hand shower you can sort of direct it for a really good rinsing (obviously not in an upwards direction). Actually if you aim it right it can be quite good fun.

instantfamily Mon 15-Oct-12 22:48:52

That'll make me forget about any smell paranoia, bonzo !

TrippingTheLifeFantastic Mon 15-Oct-12 22:53:01

Body wash from the neck down to my toes! Every single area is thoroughly cleaned. I have heard the "water only" theory but I cannot see how it would work. I wouldn't feel clean without having a good scrub.

rednellie Tue 16-Oct-12 00:45:54

Water only here. Clean cotton knickers and no smell ever.

I personally find it odd how many people admit to scrubbing their fannies with soap. If I did that even once I'd be itching for weeks.

sashh Tue 16-Oct-12 06:48:22

Another vote for water only. The thought od anything else makes me shock.

What do you clean your mouth with?

You might use toothpaste on your teeth and a quick rinse with mouthwash but do you get a flanel and soap and wash the inside of your mouth and inside your nose?

Structurally the tissue of your mouth and vagina are very similar.

Sparklingbrook Tue 16-Oct-12 06:51:17

And no scented loo roll-that is bad news for your bits. Aloe Vera, Shea Butter=Festival of Thrush.

PuppyMonkey Tue 16-Oct-12 06:52:08

Yes water only here too. And for the rest I use that soap free Zero shower gel. Very allergic to soap me. And Aloe Vera hmm

hedgehogpatronus Tue 16-Oct-12 07:16:32

Just to be really confusing, I was my vag area with raw, organic honey. Nothing goes near my bits which I wouldn't be happy to put in my mouth grin

I'm a bit of a hippie though.

HecateLarpo Tue 16-Oct-12 07:30:00

no chance. Just water leaves me feeling dirty.

<sigh> graphic on a tuesday morning.

I use shower gel on a loofah on the outside bits. If it's got hair on it - it's getting a soapy scrub and I don't care what anyone says! The inside bits, those which never grow hair, get a scrub with a rinsed loofah and nothing at all ever goes inside the vagina*. that is the self cleaning bit. Not the mons and majora grin.

*which is a whole other thread...

sashh Tue 16-Oct-12 07:39:05

A loofa? On your Fanjo?

HecateLarpo Tue 16-Oct-12 07:42:57

Yes. A good scrub on the outside bits and a gentle rub, erm, through (the minora). But never inside. That's the bit that'll give you problems, if you stick some soap on a bottle washer and try to scrub your cervix. grin

TeaBrick Tue 16-Oct-12 07:52:51

To echo sashh: A loofah on your fanjo shock. Why??

HecateLarpo Tue 16-Oct-12 07:54:18

you do know they're not hard and scratchy when they're wet, don't you?

I'm not scrubbing myself with a cactus grin

IsabelleRinging Tue 16-Oct-12 08:00:05

If you shower with shower the gel, it runs off your body and into all the 'cracks' on the way down anyway.

instantfamily Tue 16-Oct-12 08:00:40

Yes, sassh, i don't put soap in my mouth but I would clean my chin with soap or some kind of detergent if I had dried blood, urine or similar on it - all unlikely to be on my chin, I hasten to add. grin

Also, my Fanjo is slightly hairier than my chin but only just so I feel that more "dirt" is likely to get tangled up.

instantfamily Tue 16-Oct-12 08:02:06

I don't even get flannels, so the loofah doesn't sound like something I would try either, though.

TeaBrick Tue 16-Oct-12 08:03:36

Hecate I did know but had forgotten. It sounded like the personal hygeine equivalent of a hair shirt at first!

Fairylea Tue 16-Oct-12 08:04:47

Well I am hairless down there but I wash everything top to toe with shower gel... couldn't bear not to !!

Sarahbananabump Tue 16-Oct-12 09:21:53

One of the main causes of bacterial vaginosis / thrush etc is using soaps creams etc on the area .

Water only here too

Sarahbananabump Tue 16-Oct-12 09:25:50

Oh and no smell either - OH is amazed that I never smell of anything ever .
I obviously use shower gel / soap everywhere else though . Oh and I shave .

My best friend who used soap for years down there was always getting infections . When I told her to just use water the infections stopped .

Funny in a way soap makes you smell because you end up with horrible smelly infections!!

Sarahbananabump Tue 16-Oct-12 09:28:02

Ooh scented loo roll <shudders>

OH gets a severe telling off whenever he buys it( he doesn't now) .

Just one wipe and I've got thrush!

HecateLarpo Tue 16-Oct-12 09:29:31

grin had to google hair shirt

StillIRise Tue 16-Oct-12 09:33:06

Soap. Or gel. Even in the crevices.
Might experiment and try just water.

derekthehamster Tue 16-Oct-12 09:33:39

I've never used anything other than water, and never had any infections or thrush.

JollyJackOLantern Tue 16-Oct-12 09:35:57

I have mild excema. I use dermol (an aqueous non soap cream) when I wash my hands or when I shave my underarms. I use shampoo and conditioner on my head hair.

That's all. I don't smell smile

firsttimemama Tue 16-Oct-12 09:36:52

Re using soap on your hands or other areas - you would use if it didn't cause irritation but if it was giving you skin problems you would stop using it - and manage with water only. Same as any other area - ie the fanjo in this case.

Felicitywascold Tue 16-Oct-12 09:40:39

Water only.

I do not get all the scrubbing/soaping paranoia. It's a social construct- another way to make people feel bad about themselves.

Trust me, I hold down a job and I meet hundreds of teenagers every day. I wouldn't get any respect at all from them if I stank- at a distance I hasten to add. And my DH might have mentioned it if stank up close hmm grin

Ive had a few uti's in this pregnancy (brought on by antibiotics) and was advised to bath with no bubbles but with tea tree and lavender oil in it. The difference is amazing. As soon as an itch comes I jump in the bath, clean cotton knickers on after and no more itching!

I've never used soap or anything down there anyway. Water has always cleaned me fine.

chinley Tue 16-Oct-12 09:45:42

I use aqueous cream to shave my pubes and give a quick rub round with that while it's there, then just rinse off with water.

Sparklingbrook Tue 16-Oct-12 09:47:07

Sarahbanana I just saw some Shea Butter loo roll and my fanjo started itching. It is hideous stuff.

Also sitting on toilets with blue loos and rim blocks etc is not recommended-fumes up your fanjo. sad

LookAtHerGo Tue 16-Oct-12 09:53:48

I'm another just water convert. Pre DD I always used soap as I thought I used to smell if I didn't. Had an episiotomy when DD was born so no soap allowed, so just rinsed with water. Didn't smell at all, so I stopped 'washing' with soap and just let water and nature take its course, on the odd occasion I've forgotten and used soap I get that weird I smell feeling now!

noisytoys Tue 16-Oct-12 10:01:28

I once used scented tampons and I itched for about a month after sad

Sparklingbrook Tue 16-Oct-12 10:04:01

Scented tampons. sad They are all kinds of wrong noisy. grin

IvanaNap Tue 16-Oct-12 10:04:09

Femfresh is good, as someone upthread mentioned. Think it's half price in sainsburys too atm.

noisytoys Tue 16-Oct-12 10:08:24

Tampax pearl. I didn't realise til it was time to use them they smell like old lady perfume blush

Sparklingbrook Tue 16-Oct-12 10:09:29

Ooh no noisy. I can't use the Pearl sort, the applicator tries to grab stuff it shouldn't. sad

tabbycat15 Tue 16-Oct-12 14:12:57

I use ph balanced shower gel, I just would not feel clean otherwise. You can get Femfresh to wash if you are sensitive.
I shower in the morning as I feel so much cleaner as it wakes me up. I've wondered how people manage that shower/ bath at night especially if they has sex the night before. Surely you would smell if you didn't wash at all until the next evening.

Sparklingbrook Tue 16-Oct-12 17:23:46

I shower morning and night. grin

CoteDAzur Tue 16-Oct-12 17:26:50

It's not hard to find a pH-balanced shower gel to wash yourself with.

CoteDAzur Tue 16-Oct-12 17:27:04

tabby x-posts.

IWipeArses Tue 16-Oct-12 17:39:35

It may not be hard to find a ph balanced shower gel, but it isn't necessary.

Mintyy Tue 16-Oct-12 17:46:22

"It may not be hard to find a ph balanced shower gel, but it isn't necessary."

... but its way nicer than just washing with plain water, or unperfumed soap, or aqueous cream.

imho wink

CoteDAzur Tue 16-Oct-12 17:46:35

To each their own. I think it is.

HiggsBoson Tue 16-Oct-12 17:48:01


I've always lathered up my eternal frontage. I would STINK if I merely swished with water, surely?

HiggsBoson Tue 16-Oct-12 17:48:53



Mind you..can be eternal when in need of a trim blush

CoteDAzur Tue 16-Oct-12 17:50:22

Let's put it this way, I would be much less friendly with DH if he only washed with water.

MaBaya Tue 16-Oct-12 17:56:41

Women really really shouldnt wash with anything other than water. I thought all women knew this?! Wash your bum and even shampoo your pubes with soap, but dont let any soapy stuff near your actual vulva and vagina. It will not make you fresher. Just give it a really good swish with your hands and warm water. I shower in the morning and bathe in the evening like this and am fresh as a daisy. Soap gives you BV or means that even if you smell fresh initially, you'll be a bit fishy a few hours kater because your delicate bits do NOT need or like soap. Promise.

MaBaya Tue 16-Oct-12 17:57:09

Its different for men.

MaBaya Tue 16-Oct-12 17:58:07

BOAK at fem fresh too

HiggsBoson Tue 16-Oct-12 17:59:45

Women produce smegma as well though.

As a soap user I would def experience a whiffy vulva if I just swished with water next time I showered.

Are we saying that it is the soap use itself that causes the smell?

In which case I may experiment with soap free showering for a few days.

Cartoonjane Tue 16-Oct-12 18:06:23

Agree I smell if I do use soap. Water only all over. Even the mildest shower gel gives me eczema. I occasionally wash my feet with shower gel and always regret it.

TheDetective Tue 16-Oct-12 18:19:51

I would urge anyone using soap or other products down below to try just water for a couple of days, and see! You won't smell, seriously!

I shower every morning, so everything is clean at the start of the day!

MyelinSheath Tue 16-Oct-12 18:32:36

Water water everywhere except for head and pits.

CunningPlan Tue 16-Oct-12 19:14:24

Another water washer here. I was always told by my mother to never put soap there because it would sting. As I've never tried it, I've no idea if she's right, but I have an aversion to the idea.

Good swish round is all that's required.

Mintyy Tue 16-Oct-12 19:18:44

Alright, I can tolerate people not washing their vulvas with anything other than water.

But ... feet? bums?

Why on earth wouldn't you?

ScarahScreams Tue 16-Oct-12 19:22:08

I must admit to being shock that some Women don't use anything other than water to wash their vulvas. But each to their own. In terms of sex life, to be blatantly graphic, could you seriously give someone a blow-job that hadn't washed their dick?

I use a very plain unscented soap or baby wash, DDs aqueous cream. I have never had thrush or soreness - it feels and smells lovely and clean and fresh. I could engage in sexual activity if I didn't do this tbh.

AuntieMaggie Tue 16-Oct-12 19:26:08


Sorry but water alone does not get rid of traces of poo from your bum - its too fatty/oily!

Dr Christian did a test on some volunteers (I think it was a rugby team) who used shower gel and even the traces they were left with was enough to give you nightmares!

Sparklingbrook Tue 16-Oct-12 20:10:12

I use Andrex Washlets after having a poo. Squeaky clean here. grin

Quadrangle Tue 16-Oct-12 20:21:02

I use shower gel and will continue unless i suddenly start getting thrush or something. Haven't until now.

IWipeArses Tue 16-Oct-12 20:43:04

Well, each to their own, iyho, but 'it isn't hard' = 'you can't be bothered' in my judgey experience.

PogoBob Tue 16-Oct-12 20:50:50

Another one who uses bodywash - can't imagine washing anything that has hair on it with water only. Doesn't help that I am pregnant at the moment so more prone to 'glowing' (as my nan wouldn't put it) and don't feel clean with just water.

Only use a little bit of bodywash though so nothing ventures inside IYSWIM!

Mooq Tue 16-Oct-12 20:58:07

I always use soap everywhere and I have never had thrush.

I use bodywash inside 5 year old DD's vulva - should I not? It's baby body wash.

MaBaya Tue 16-Oct-12 21:12:45

I would never use soap on my daughter.

I repeat - boys bits are different. Ask a doctor. They are not as prone to infection, UTIs etc and boys do not get BV. They can have a good soap wash happily. Females really shouldnt. But hey...its been said. I'll get off my soap box now <ba doom tish>

Mooq Tue 16-Oct-12 21:15:43

So (possibly TMI) I should just use water on her (DD), but I still have to sort of wipe around the labia with my finger, otherwise it wouldn't be clean, would it? There are always some tiny bits of something in there! I wonder when she should do this all herself?

IWipeArses Tue 16-Oct-12 21:23:30

I was taught to wash the outside. I clean inside DDs vulva when changing nappy as she's 1, so get's poo everywhere still. A good rinse with water should get any bits of loo roll out of a 5 year olds. Probably do that herself around now too.

Elibean Tue 16-Oct-12 21:53:25

Cold water wouldn't do it for me, but warm/hot water is fine - I only ever use soapy things on the outside bits. And no smell, ever.

Did I really just type that?! blush

SuiGeneris Tue 16-Oct-12 22:18:02

Warm water only, but probably more often than average as we have a showerhead attached to the loo and can (and do) use the shower when necessary/possible instead of loo paper.

Since we are on the subject, do people without bidets or an arrangement similar to ours really wash those parts only once a day in the shower/bath? Even when having a period or after having a baby?

Since having given birth I can't use soap without getting itchy/sore/thrushy. Soap and Glory products are the worst.

Just water/aqueous cream here.

LeFreak Tue 16-Oct-12 22:36:36

I use soap or shower gel.
The only time I ever get thrush or anything else is when I take antibiotics. Or the one time I shaved all my pubes off hmm

TheDetective Tue 16-Oct-12 22:41:51

I don't get Thrush when on antibiotics.

But then I just use water, so my natural flora must be doing its job grin

Sorry, that sounds a little smug! (I have had Thrush btw, after a colposcopy grrrr!)

out2lunch Tue 16-Oct-12 22:50:02

never had any infections or anything but after i read one of these threads before i tried the water only thing - fine for a day but after that there was a def smell and i had to go back to shower gel/soap
i am sure water works for some but not for me

MakeHayNotStraw Tue 16-Oct-12 23:01:35

I am another water-only on everything except pits (and around humongous breastfeeding norks) and I am a juicy lady I don't smell, and it was a revelation to realise that soap=thrush (for me, anyway). Definitely no to scented panty liners and loo-roll (in fact I now use cloth liners and cloth loo wipes....).

MakeHayNotStraw Tue 16-Oct-12 23:02:33

I'm still chuckling at the idea of washing one's fanjo with a cactus from upthread....!

steppemum Tue 16-Oct-12 23:13:39

mooq - she is 5! I haven't washed my dds vulvas since they were in nappies!

and you really shouldn't be washing inside her vulva with anything soapy.

I use soap for underarms and bottom, but don't use any soap elsewhere. The soap I use id dove no scented soaps

My dcs don't always have soapwashes in their bath, and I don't wash them with soap. they wash hands with soap, no-where else unless they are muddy/ painty and it won't come off with water. Do use E45 junior soapwash in the bath about once a week.

Don't shampoo their hair much either. You skin and hair don't actually need much soap/shampoo

nailak Tue 16-Oct-12 23:14:30


it is pro biotic it will help you.

wash with yoghurt.

MummysHappyPills Tue 16-Oct-12 23:15:42

If you really can't bring yourself to only use water, you can use aqueous cream instead if soap.

I only use water down there and I don't smell. I give myself a good rinse with the shower head and that is more than sufficient! grin

steppemum Tue 16-Oct-12 23:16:51

just read that back, i mean I haven't washed them myself, they do it (sounded as if they hadn't had a bath since potty training hmm

BillComptonstrousers Tue 16-Oct-12 23:25:51

I never use soap or shower gel anywhere! It dries my already dry skin out. So I run a warm bath, soak for 30 mins, then get out. And I don't stink. Am I missing something? Do you all scrub like maniacs everyday?

MrawMraw Tue 16-Oct-12 23:44:37

My gyno told me to use only water (best), or aqueous cream (you can get from pharmacies cheap) or Simple brand soap if really really needed. NOTHING else.

Have followed this for 10 years and never smell (as far as I know!)

I use normal perfumed soap / gel for my pits and feet though, and face cleaner stuff for ze face.

IWipeArses Tue 16-Oct-12 23:44:39

Bill, do you just water wash your hair and face too?

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 07:30:36

"I don't get Thrush when on antibiotics... But then I just use water, so my natural flora must be doing its job"

If you take a strong enough antibiotic long enough, you will get thrush. That is because ABs will kill your treasured flora regardless of what you wash your fanjo with.

Bonsoir Wed 17-Oct-12 07:35:26

Now I know why so many people smell so awful sad

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 07:36:34

Re "I don't smell" - Of course you do. It is impossible for an adult mammal with normal hormones not to smell.

Those of us who take daily showers with soap or shower gel can tell when we start to smell, but you always smell the same so don't notice your body odor anymore. Like smokers who can't smell the stale smoke on themselves.

rubyrubyruby Wed 17-Oct-12 08:04:19

I wash everywhere else with shower gel as my skin needs washing properly. But I do get thrush if I use anything else other than water around my fanjo.

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 08:22:51

Exactly, Bonsoir.

Bonsoir Wed 17-Oct-12 08:31:36

Regular supermarket shower gel is not appropriate for washing your genitals (in the same way that it is not appropriate for washing your hair or your face). Buy some good quality ph neutal soap or gel but please wash your genitals with a product designed to remove odours, bacteria and dried on urine and faeces smile

FaintingGoat Wed 17-Oct-12 08:45:44

Any kind of soap on my fanjo results in stinging, stinging wees, so I'll carry on using just water, thanks. Hard as it is for some people to believe, I do not smell. I can assure you, DP would not go down on me if I did.

MummysHappyPills Wed 17-Oct-12 08:54:53

Some peopleon here are very strange. Not washing your fanny with soap does not affect your ability to recognise smells. I can still tell if my armpits smell for instance. Many people who wash their genitals with detergents will end up with bacterial vaginisis which has a fishy smell. Granted you may not smell for a wee while after you wash as the soap will mask the smell, but you will start to smell when it wears off. Normal vaginal flora does not have an unpleasant smell. The only way to preserve this is NOT to use harsh soaps.

And yes I do use soap on my armpits, but the tissue is completely different there. I do not use soap to wash my face, I use natural oils and my face doesn't stink. I use shampoo to wash my hair, but then again my hair is not living tissue and my scalp is skin that is resilient enough to cope with detergents.

VoterColonelSebastianDoyle Wed 17-Oct-12 08:58:57

Im sorry but i dont feel clean after just washing with hot water. I use a very mild soap grin

SilveryMoon Wed 17-Oct-12 09:05:38

Read with interest.
I am one who often gets bv etc. I always use femfresh, but after the borth of ds1, the doc told me no soap because of stitches and i swear i could smell myself.
My gp has told me that femfresh is basically the work of the devil and if I must use something other than water, to use aqueous cream, which was fine for a few days but then I'm sure I started to whiff so am back on the femfresh.

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:11:43

Aqueous cream is the work of the devil - it has been proven to be BAD for eczema after all, and therefore probably no good for the genitals, either....
I try not to get any soap near my mucous membranes - after all, I wouldn't want the stuff in my mouth, either... HOWEVER, I think it's pretty disgusting not to use soap or some kind of extra cleaning product on your anus... no wonder so many people leave so many disgusting bugs around public toilets, even if they do wash their hands, if their bottoms are teeming with uncontrolled bacteria... It is NOT just hands that can spread diseases. Given that there is a link between uncircumcised men and cervical cancer as a result of the bacteria and viruses that can thrive inside the foreskin, I think it is only fair for both men and women to make a little bit of effort to lessen the bacterial and viral load around their genitals, even if the mucous membranes at the entrance to the vagina are a different case and better only ever cleaned with water (which bit I do actually agree with).

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:13:26

(or, in the case of cervical cancer in particular, obviously it's the viruses that are the problem... although the bacteria can help cause bacterial vaginosis and other infections....)

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:14:19

ie using harsh cleaning products isn't the only way of getting thrush and bacterial vaginosis...

I wouldn't put anything in my fanjo that I wouldn't put in my mouth. I shower every other day, shower gel on my pits and bum, shampoo on my hair and a good rinse down. On the days I don't shower, I wipe down all over with a clean wet flannel and then soap and rinse my pits and bum. I haven't used soap on my fanjo or face for years. And I don't smell!

instantfamily Wed 17-Oct-12 09:20:07

Interesting. It reminds me of reading "The Dirt on CLean" and how perceptions of cleanliness differ in cultures and over time.

PuppyMonkey Wed 17-Oct-12 09:21:15

Sorry but grin at Bonsoir's sad face.

PuppyMonkey Wed 17-Oct-12 09:22:17

Maybe YOU smell awful to others Bonsoir wink

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:24:27

Yup - I use shampoo on ALL my hair... and soap or shower gel on my bottom and under my arms... and it varies what I use on my face, if anything other than the shampoo coming off my hair, depending on how much my face feels like it needs cleaning...

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:26:40

Of course, there's also the issue of whether deodorant and anti-perspirant use is a good idea... Removal of all bacteria and total prevention of normal bodily functions is not likely to do you much good, but then neither is stinking to high heaven in modern society...

ecto Wed 17-Oct-12 09:28:25

I have never used anything to clean my fanjo. I sit in a bath and the water does the work, I don't even touch any of the area. I have never had any thrush, UTI, infection or anything whatsoever down there. I applied the same principle after having both DCs - had episiotomy and stitches one time and a 2nd degree tear and stitches the other time. Both times, didn't touch, just sat in bath as usual and all fine.

I actively wash places like armpits, face etc. Just leave fanjos alone!

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:28:25

And some people are naturally more smelly than others... grin
I can get away with far less washing than my dh can, if you are talking about smell generation...

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 09:30:46

There are, of course, people who have never use anything other than water to clean down there who nevertheless get constant thrush or BV...

IWipeArses Wed 17-Oct-12 10:28:14

Have any posted?

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 11:06:20

Yup - I went through a phase of getting constant thrush and found not using soap did not help AT ALL. I did better and felt more comfortable on a specific feminine hygiene wash for my genital area, which was NOT aqueous cream - don't have any issues down below any more. Not everyone gets thrush because of soap, even if it doesn't help with some people...

Just water here

Quadrangle Wed 17-Oct-12 13:17:09

grin at the idea that the only alternative to washing with water only is to "scrub like maniacs everyday."

scotjls Wed 17-Oct-12 13:24:16

Chortling. I use shower gel normally but post-birth when everything down below was wounded and icky I used Boots Baby fragrance-free wash, and would do again if I had an infection. Really gentle.

MummysHappyPills Wed 17-Oct-12 14:11:22

Hear what some of you are saying, I have had thrush before but only when I have been on antibiotics, and once when I had sex in the shower (sorry tmi) and got shower gel up there (teach me to be adventurous!) and another time when I used fem fresh wipes when at a festival. Have been to lots of other festivals and not used them and been fine! I have never had bacterial vaginosis. I have worked in a gum clinic and seen lots of women with bv who are worried they have an Sti because the smell is so bad. Typical history is they all use soap/shower gel/feminine washes down there. Advice from dr every time has been to stop using soaps and use water only, or if they really must use something then aqueous cream. But I agree with other posters, I personally wouldn't, I have tried it and it stings, but us still not as bad as soap/shower gel. I just use water.

I knew someone who worked I'm gum in Manchester. There are some cultures that douche with all kinds of harsh chemicals in an effort to be clean. Just about the worst thing you could possibly do and causes all kinds of problems.

MummysHappyPills Wed 17-Oct-12 14:14:09

And it is very telling that the op has needed to see a gynaecologist about bacterial and yeast infections and clearly uses soap (sorry to talk about you op) smile

instantfamily Wed 17-Oct-12 18:17:35

That's ok, MummysHappy. I mean I can understand that it may be better for the fanjo to not have soap or similar around it but it seems difficult to reconcile with modern hygiene standards and polite society's expectations of how much we are allowed to smell.

And I was just wondering about the proximity of non-self cleaning skin and hair so close to the mucuous membranes and the nature of liquids/dirt we are dealing with. Surely, in a clinic you will use more than water to wipe blood and urine off a surface? Why is that not necessary on our skin?

Sorry, I am probably repeating myself.

MummysHappyPills Wed 17-Oct-12 18:31:24

Because it's your own blood and urine! If it has come out of you then why should it not touch your skin? We was our hands so we do not transmit stuff to other people or the environment, or to our mouths as it may be harmful to ingest it, but it won't hurt our fanjo's if it has come out of there! Water is sufficient to wash away debris, which is what we need to do there. But antibacterial products or soaps will only kill bacteria and strip natural oils and moisture, which is exactly what we don't want! Of course on a surface you want to kill bacteria and removes oils and grime so you will use antibacterial agents and detergents.

Killing bugs is not always good, especially not in the human body. Killing the good ones allow the bad ones to take over. Even skin elsewhere is colonised with a layer of bacteria which enhances our immune system by competing with bad bacteria and acts as a barrier along with our skin to protect us. We are obsessed with sterility and killing bugs, but end up wiping out the good ones!

There are millions of bacteria all over us all the time, but we don't stink all the time do we? It is the nasty ones that have been allowed to take over that smell bad, so if we get excessively dirty or there are no good ones in check to keep them at bay we will smell.

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 20:12:24

"Because it's your own blood and urine! If it has come out of you then why should it not touch your skin? "

So you don't wash your face with soap after you vomit? It's the contents of your own stomach, after all.

The point is not whether or not this stuff touches your skin but whether it should stay there.

You might have a point re fanjo flora inside the "lips", but outside and all around the rest of your genitals, soap is a very good thing.

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 20:53:51

Sorry, still prefer to use some kind of wash to remove bacteria from around my anus before my husband's penis gets anywhere near my genitals. What about, after all, the women who get thrush because they get anal bacteria and fungi in the wrong place?! There is no way anyone is going to convince me that it is perfectly OK never to use soap anywhere near your own backside or pubic hair, because that's just silly.
And my view on gynaecologists' views is that they are the same as the views of hospital opthalmologists in the past, who thought that contact lenses, particularly soft ones, were the spawn of the devil and nobody with any sense should ever wear them, because, surprise, surprise, the only people THEY ever saw who wore them had problems with them.

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 20:54:58

Let's hope women who don't use any soap also remember to be scrupulously careful how they wipe their arses and never wear pants that ride up into their bottom cracks... grin

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 21:01:43

And let's hope men keep their penises a bit cleaner than some women keep their genitals...

MummysHappyPills Wed 17-Oct-12 21:06:41

I wash my bum with soap! Just from the back instead if their front!

And fwiw my exp got balanitis from being too over zealous with the shower gel! blush

I have to say you must be very messy shitters if your anal area is permanently smothered in faecal matter! It's like saying the entire area around your mouth is constantly dripping with saliva. Have you ever heard of wiping and a high fibre diet?! grin

ElectricSoftParade Wed 17-Oct-12 21:08:22

While I am not a prolific poster I think I will NC after this.

Have always used soap/shower gel while washing but since entering early menopause I am more smelly than I used to be. I am intrigued and will have a 2/3/4 day experiment with just water.

I have only ever had thrush while on very high levels of ABs after a car accident. That was hellish as I was thrushy from mouth to fanjo. The nurse who came to change dressings for me recoiled from me (after having a look) when I said I was in pain there and said it was a horrid case. I recovered but have felt, especially since then, that I need a good wash. I'm not sure that water will give the same feeling but if the smelliness goes, it will be worth it.

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 21:11:28

"views of hospital opthalmologists in the past, who thought that contact lenses, particularly soft ones, were the spawn of the devil and nobody with any sense should ever wear them, because, surprise, surprise, the only people THEY ever saw who wore them had problems with them"

When was this? I've been wearing soft contact lenses since 1979 and never heard a bad word said about them.

rabbitstew Wed 17-Oct-12 22:07:44

In the late 1980s, when I asked the opinion of a hospital opthalmologist on soft contact lenses...
Since when does your arse have to be smothered in faecal matter for the bacteria to proliferate? Do you wash your hands after wiping your bottom and if so why?!.... Do doctors and nurses who spread hospital superbugs and people who walk around with them up their noses and all over their bodies, get this way because they are so filthy you can SEE the dirt?...
So, to repeat, I agree you shouldn't get soap in your mucous membranes, but to avoid all cleaning products anywhere other than on your hands is going to extremes, imo, but apparently not in the opinion of others. And that's coming from someone who has experimented with going without deodorant...

MummysHappyPills Wed 17-Oct-12 22:22:44

I just think the faecal matter is going to be there whatever. Wiping back to front and actually spreading it into your fanjo may give you thrush, but your vagina is designed to be in close proximity to your anus so can probably cope with the few stray colonic bacteria that are hanging around in that area. Especially if it has a healthy flora of good bacteria. Healthy bacteria on your vulva will prevent bad bacteria getting into your vagina.

CharlotteWasBoth Wed 17-Oct-12 22:23:48

Haven't read the whole thread, but this thrush sufferer washes with water for fanjo and soap for bum. Poo is greasy so needs soap to be cleaned off properly.

I heard it on Woman's Hour so it must be true. And I don't get thrush any more. Nor do I smell.

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 22:28:11

"I just think the faecal matter is going to be there whatever. "

Are we talking about soap-resistant poo now? hmm

CoteDAzur Wed 17-Oct-12 22:31:33

rabbit - That must have been a particularly clueless ophthalmologist. As I said, I started wearing soft contact lenses back in 1979, and have not heard a bad word about them from any doctor.

Ohsiena Wed 17-Oct-12 22:47:55

Pubes get a shampoo, just water for inside labia.

Arse gets a good soapy wash.

Do you people not shampoo your head hair? Does water sufficiently clean this too? Why would you use a cleaning product on head hair but not pubic hair? Hair traps and holds smells.

ScarahScreams Thu 18-Oct-12 00:12:56

I agree with Bonsoir.
Sorry but are you happy to participate in erm, "oral love" not having washed your flaps? Seriously? You will NOT be fresh.

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 07:39:44

Some women are prone to thrush, others aren't. Those who aren't can quite happily wash with soap anywhere they fancy and probably get bacteria from their arses in all sorts of places they shouldn't without getting urine infections or thrush. Other women aren't so lucky...

As for contact lenses, CoteDAzur - have you ever spoken to specialists working in hospitals about this? Because I don't think it is a clueless opinion coming from someone who has seen the hideous infections, ulcerations, dry eyes, vessels growing into the cornea from the old versions of soft contact lenses, it's merely a biased one based on their experience. Which goes back to my point about the advice on soap. If you see people who use soap and get thrush, you are going to hate people using soap, even though millions of women use soap with no problem.

TeaBrick Thu 18-Oct-12 08:59:26

It's not just the "healthy bacteria" in the vagina that provides a hostile environment for poo bacteria, the vagina is also naturally slightly acidic, which bacteria don't like, and most soap is alkaline. I had bv recently, treated it with balance active, and am now washing with water only (only in that area though, still washing the rest of me with soap)

MakeHayNotStraw Thu 18-Oct-12 09:19:51

Why assume that if you don't use soap on yopr fanjo you don't use it on your anus either? I definitely wash there with soap, but WO on vagina/vulva etc. DH has no problem with it, and believe me, if anyone was going to it would be him...grin

FWIW no, I don't use shampoo either. My hair does not smell (well, unless I use essential oils in the water rinse, then it smells of lavender) and gets comments on its cleanliness. Our bodies are designed to self-clean with a bit of help from water - if you choose to use soap all over all power to you (as I said, I am selective about it) but that does not mean that choosing not to because, like me, you are prone to uncomfortable, painful or smelly infections or, also like me, you wish to minimise contact between artificial chemicals and delicate membranes that it is disgusting. Believe me when I say I do not smell - my teenage students would soon let me know if I did (and I use homemade deodorant, too. Works just fine).

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Thu 18-Oct-12 09:22:58

Am heaving at greasy poo envy <---- that's green nausea not envy!

I use Simple soap on all external areas, but not legs as I get excema.

KateSpade Thu 18-Oct-12 09:39:55

Just been reading the whole thread,

Ahem, my input. Wash with water, I don't smell & the time I did use shower gel I got thrush.
But I think I have got thrush/BV now, so I'm booking an STI test just to make sure. Bloody vagina!

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 10:29:59

MakeHayNotStraw - who is assuming anything? People on this thread have said they don't use soap anywhere, including their anus...

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 10:31:26

My brother didn't wash his hair with shampoo for months to see if the "self cleaning" theory worked. He smelt like a damp sheep every time it rained and his hair went from blonde to mouse. Why didn't it work for him?...

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 10:33:04

ps he was washing his hair with water... perhaps he's no good at hair washing???

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 10:34:17

I really dislike the smell of damp sheep grin.

CoteDAzur Thu 18-Oct-12 12:42:33

"As for contact lenses, CoteDAzur... I don't think it is a clueless opinion coming from someone who has seen the hideous infections, ulcerations, dry eyes, vessels growing into the cornea from the old versions of soft contact lenses"

As I said, I am familiar with "old versions of soft contact lenses", having worn them in late-70s & early 80s. These were lenses that one used for 2 years and de-proteined in a small electrical device once a week (before all-in-one solutions came out), then neutralised before use.

My point is that contact lenses didn't cause the problems that you mention. Improper use of contact lenses did - keeping them in your eyes for days, not de-proteining or not neutralising after de-proteining (thereby burning your cornea) etc.

The ophthalmologist you spoke to was clueless not because he didn't actually see these problems (of course he did) but because he attributed them to normal use of contact lenses and concluded that contact lenses cause these problems and hence should be avoided.

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 12:53:16

You're kind of making my point for me, CoteDAzur. Gynaecologists see the problems soap can cause. It doesn't cause problems for most people, but it introduces the possibility of problems being caused.

As for improper use, I used soft contact lenses for years, I NEVER slept in them or overwore them, or swam in them, or forgot to clean them, or wore them for longer than the amount of time I had been told they were safe. However, I suffered from a clueless or negligent optician, who did not mention that in MY case I was nevertheless getting vessels growing in my cornea, because it was starved of oxygen. I was very angry when I changed optician to be told this and that I should limit my contact lens use to no more than 6 hours a day, with at least 2 days off a week... So I have sympathy for the opthalmologist in the hospital for thinking soft contact lenses are not as safe as some people think they are. In fact, it is now thought that laser eye surgery is safer - not by clueless opthalmologists, but as a result of research into the evidence so far.

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 12:54:39

(that should read, I was never told that wearing my lenses for up to 10 hours a day was bad for my eyes).

CoteDAzur Thu 18-Oct-12 13:52:17

Probably because it's not true. I've been wearing them for about 17 hours per day, every day, since 1979. It sounds like yours was a special case, rather than contact lenses being universally dangerous.

Quadrangle Thu 18-Oct-12 13:53:42

So glad i had laser eye surgery and no longer have to use all those solutions!

CoteDAzur Thu 18-Oct-12 13:55:32

Sorry to have derailed this thread so completely, btw. No more contact lens talk from me smile

rabbitstew Thu 18-Oct-12 15:28:55

I was a special case, the same as women who can't ever use soap in certain places grin. Of course soft lenses are perfectly safe for most people - even when they swim in them! It's only an unlucky minority who ever get serious problems. My problems weren't even serious, anyway, just something I should have been told about long before I was so that I could ensure the problem didn't get worse up to the point at which it could affect my vision (fortunately, I swapped opticians long before that happened).

Bonsoir Fri 19-Oct-12 09:55:19

I wonder whether all those soap-phobics realise that you do need to rinse the soap away properly after washing your genitals, with fresh water and a shower head...

rabbitstew Fri 19-Oct-12 11:03:48

I suspect they do, Bonsoir. It is a fact that some women cannot even wear trousers without getting thrush, whereas others can wear thongs, tight trousers, perfume their genitals, not wash soap off properly, douche right up inside themselves and still not have a perceptible problem with it. Everyone's immune system is different.

rabbitstew Fri 19-Oct-12 11:08:07

Also, no-one person's anatomy is identical to any other's.

Some people get eczema and asthma, some people are prone to thrush and/or BV, some people get chest infections with every cold, some people have constant post nasal drip and polyps up their noses, some people get appallingly bad acne, some people have very dry skin. We are all different. Some people really, truly, cannot use soap on specific parts of their body.

susiedaisy Fri 19-Oct-12 11:20:14

Wow, have read the whole thread and as a constant thrush sufferer I am going to give the' just water' theory a go, as I have tried all the neutral shower gels and none have made any difference I still seem to get frequent thrush,

Does anyone think the type of washing powder and softener has an effect or is it mainly shower gels ?

alemci Fri 19-Oct-12 11:35:36

yes susie perhaps using non bio on underwear may be a good idea and no softener.

i find wearing jeans too much makes me feel uncomfortable.

rubyrubyruby Fri 19-Oct-12 11:37:15

I think fabric softener affect me susie

If you suffer from frequent bouts try ironing your gussets. <<tmi>>

susiedaisy Fri 19-Oct-12 11:45:57

I don't iron, smile I have always just slung undies in with other clothes in the wash but I think I may put them in their own hot wash with no softener and a non bio powder, can only wear cotton ones as it is, the minute my nice silky ones even pass by my knees my fanjo begins to twitch with thrushsad

orangeflutie Fri 19-Oct-12 12:41:37

Have been having problems of late with an ahem dry fanjo blush

Spoke to drs who recommended a cream and that I wash the external area with aqueus cream not soap.

rabbitstew Fri 19-Oct-12 14:26:20

I stand by my assertion that aqueous cream is evil, unhelpful stuff... It used to be the first thing doctors recommended for eczema, too, but it turns out the stuff is positively bad for eczema. I really don't see why it would be any bettter for mucous membranes prone to thrush. It is cheap, though...(need a cynical smiley, now...).

Quadrangle Fri 19-Oct-12 14:37:19

Yes I've read that too here

orangeflutie Fri 19-Oct-12 16:15:06

Oh that's not good sad, just bought some aswell sad

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now