A clinical microbiologist with the National Hospital, Abuja, Dr Kenneth Iregbu, on Wednesday advised women to use clean water to wash the vigina as against use of soap.
He gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
Iregbu said washing the vigina with soap could cause viginal discharge.
He said that many of the soaps women used contained alkaline substances, adding that such substances were detrimental to the well-being of the vagina.
“Washing the vagina does not require more than clean water. Most of the soap we use in bathing are alkaline, so when you use them there, they will alter something at least for some period.
“When women use a lot of cosmetics - alkaline materials - to wash their private parts right inside, you tend to distort the normal PH of the vagina, which is supposed to be acidic.
“So if you go on neutralising the acid by use of alkaline substances, you will encourage the growth of one group of organisms against the other, and could lead to some discharges.
“From my own point of view as an infection specialist we don’t encourage the use of all those foreign things.
“Clean water alone is sufficient; it doesn’t change the flora; it doesn’t change anything. Even when you want to use it (soap), it should be the very mild ones that would not do much.”
Iregbu said discharges from a woman’s vagina could either be normal or abnormal.
He said that the normal discharge occurred during the second half of a woman’s menstrual cycle.
“Women have a life cycle of hormonal discharges that correspond with the ovulation cycle.
“The second part of the menstrual cycle is a period of increased secretion, which is normal and that is essentially what you expect to happen for every woman who is still in the reproductive years.”
The microbiologist explained that the abnormal discharge was caused when there was a disturbance of the normal eco system of the vagina.
“The vagina has a lot of flora by flora we mean organisms that normally live there. So they live in a balance.
“If for any reason the balance is tilted in favour of these organisms growing more, you can begin to have discharges.”
Iregbu said that abnormal discharge could also be caused by diseases like gonorrhea and trichomoniasis and infections like Candidiasis.
He said that such discharges could be whitish, greenish, yellowish or cheesy in colour, adding that some discharges came with an offensive odour.
He said that abnormal discharges could also be caused by an injury in the vagina or an infection of the glands on the walls of the vagina, which might or might not contain blood.
The microbiologist, however, advised women to be observant and see a doctor whenever they noticed a change in the quantity, and colour of the discharges.
“Talking about what the woman should do, the most important aspect is for you to realise that you can have normal discharges, and over time you get to realise this is the quantity or the volume that I normally experience.
“So at any point you notice that this discharges are increasing in quantity, you should get worried; you need to find out why it suddenly started increasing in volume.
“You also observe that the discharges you normally have are clear or milky in color and then it changes colour to brown, to yellow, to red, it should make you seek for medical attention.
“You also observe that the discharges you normally have are not offensive and then all of a sudden it is now offensive, you can perceive odour either while sitting on your own or when you remove your underwear you notice this odour, it should prompt you to seek medical attention”
Iregbu also advised women who used tampon during their menstrual flow to make sure they properly remove it to avoid altering the natural environment of the vagina.