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Holly Willoughby and Philip Schofield discussed myths surrounding how women should clean their vaginas and vulvas, in a segment on ‘This Morning’, featuring expert guest Dr Philippa Kaye.
The discussion came about following the discovery of a vulva mask, which Schofield explained has been designed to “hydrate, soothe and protect the skin while smoothing out wrinkles on the vulva”.
But when Willoughby raised doubts about whether the masks can really iron out wrinkles, Dr Philippa explained that they really aren’t needed.
“It feeds into the idea that women’s periods are dirty and shameful,” she said.
Dr Philippa went on to explain that the vagina has complex microbiome and if you disrupt the bacteria you risk irritation, bacterial vaginosis and thrush.
“Your vagina is a self-cleaning tube,” she added.
Before the show, Holly Willoughby teased a snippet of her script detailing the upcoming segment on what women should keep out of their vaginas.
The TV presenter, 39, posted a snap to Instagram of her script, which read: “What to keep out of your vagina, and off your vulva. Let's find out...”
Willoughby jokingly captioned the shared image: “How your morning shaping up? Here’s mine!”
The programme segment was all about feminine health offering women some guidance about how to safely look after the intimate area.
Dr Philippa went on to outline some other myths surrounding female genitalia and what it does or doesn’t need, including a vaginal brush, which sellers say is meant to help remove menstrual blood and other debris from the vagina.
“You are meant to put inside you during your period to help sweep it all out, but you don’t need to do this,” the doctor explained.
“Your body will naturally do this on its own. The vagina is meant to have a discharge, its supposed be moist. And it cleans itself.”
She went on to add that putting something inside could actually disrupt the vagina’s natural balance.
The doctor also discussed the process of vaginal steaming, famously recommended by Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop, which involves sitting over a pot of boiling water and herbs to ‘clean’ out your womb.
Dr Philippa warned that the process comes with a risk of burning extraordinarily sensitive skin.
“You need the balance of those bacteria [within the vagina] to remain as they are,” she said.
The segment also went on to discuss the use of home remedies, for example putting yoghurt on a tampon to treat thrush or putting garlic in the vagina because it has anti-bacterial properties.
But Dr Philippa recommended viewers didn’t attempt either of those DIY treatments.
“Putting food in your vagina is going to macerate and rot and can increase your risk of infection,” she warned.
Equally, she said, women don’t need to use any specific products to clean their vagina.
“You do not need any kind of soap, feminine hygiene product which promises to change the PH of vagina,” Dr Philippa explained. “It’s supposed to be slightly acidic, leave it be, no douching, your vagina is self-cleaning tube. You just need to wash the outside with a little bit of water.”
But Dr Philippa did have one final word of warning for anyone who spots a change down-there.
“If you have irritation or your discharge changes to something not normal for you, go and see your doctor,” she added.
This isn’t the first time women have been warned not to put things in their vagina.