Recently the pharmaceutical industry has decided that women with vaginal disorders are worth exploiting as a potential market for products. Women have also been encouraged to use sprays and wipes purely prophylactically – in an attempt to protect themselves against possible infection. This is a dangerous nonsense, for there is no point at all in regularly using any medicament in an attempt to make the area sterile. There is a considerable risk of causing damage and irritation by using such products.

Many of the items on sale contain antiseptics and deodorants. Bidex Cleaning Tissues, Bidex Spray, Elle Intimate Deodorant Spray and Femfresb Intimate Deodorant Spray all contain chlorhexidine which I do not recommend for regular use since it can cause irritation. Lanacane, advertised as useful for stopping ‘feminine itching’, contains benzocaine, resorcinol and chlorothymol. I don’t recommend any of these substances either for regular use in such a sensitive area as they too can cause irritation.

Any unusual or unexplained discharge, bleeding, rash or itching in or around the vagina needs expert treatment, not a home remedy.