Feminine hygiene is an essential element of importance in the well being of a woman, because in addition to preventing odours, itching, and discomfort, practicing feminine hygiene can also prevent bacterial infections from occurring. This is particularly important to pregnant women, as pregnant women cannot take over-the-counter medications, as well as not being able to take many of the medications prescribed for vaginal infections, and it can be a recurring problem if not treated properly.
Okay, so what exactly is "Vaginal Thrush" or "Vaginal Infection"?
Vaginal thrush, also known as candidiasis, is a yeast infection and is very common. They can develop in the warm, moist parts of your body, such as the vagina, mouth, and skin. Common symptoms include pain, itching, and vaginal discharge. They get so annoying because it's so embarrassing to itch that area in public. Sometimes they can get so itchy that they wake you up in the middle of the night too! The treatments for vaginal thrush include:
- an anti-thrush pessary (inserted like a tampon to treat Candida in the vagina)
- an anti-thrush cream (a cream to treat Candida on the skin around the entrance to the vagina)
- anti-thrush tablets (oral treatments, but with many side-effects, and not suitable for pregnant women)
There are many products on the market that claim to maintain your natural vagina pH, as well as support treatment for vaginal infections. I'm sure many of you have heard of the brand "Lactacyd", and that seems to be the more popular brand out there, but have you considered something more organic?
I never used to use any of these feminine hygiene cleansers until my first pregnancy in 2011, where I started using the Feminine Hygiene Wash by Lactacyd. The lady at the shop recommended it to me (amongst all other brands of similar products in the shop), and seeing how popular the brand was, I bought it.
The Feminine Hygiene Wash by Lactacyd is quite watery and has a soapy scent. This is suitable for pregnant women as well as times when you have a period. Since using the Feminine Hygiene wash by Lactacyd, I didn't feel any itchiness "down there" and I didn't have any infections.
After giving birth, I switched to using the Cleansing Daily Protection Extra Moisturising by Lactacyd.
This Feminine Daily Wash by Lactacyd is thicker in texture and has a fresh flower scent, and is suitable for daily use. After giving birth, my body changed as well as my hormones - I never used to have eczema but I started having them; and I started becoming more prone to vaginal infections. Most of the time, using this Daily Wash was fine and it didn't make me itch, but I did have vaginal thrush now and then.
I am now pregnant with my second child, and I continued to buy the Feminine Hygiene Wash by Lactacyd, but it made me itch like mad - when I was infection-free, it would make me itchy down there, and when I did have a vaginal infection, it didn't help relieve the symptoms at all!
Since then, I have used my normal Physiogel Shower Cream (fragrant free) to clean my intimate areas as well as the rest of my body. The Physiogel Shower Cream was the ONLY product that would not make me itchy, but the only problem was that it did not help prevent vaginal infections.
One day, while I was shopping for Jasper's things at Citistore Tsuen Wan, I came across this...Intimate Cleanser by Helan - Made in Italy! The Linea Mamma line is especially made for pregnant women! The box has Italian written all over it, but I was lucky enough to find English written inside the box!
I had never heard of this brand before, but I was so desperate for solutions to help prevent anymore itchiness! The lady recommended this, and explained to me that it did not contain as many chemicals as other brands out there, and that it contains natural and organic ingredients. I paid around HK$120, and it is quite pricey for a 200mL bottle (the Lactacyd comes in 250mL bottles and is much cheaper), but I purchased it with a 20% discount, so it wasn't too bad for something natural & organic.
There is a ugly flower scent that I don't love, but at least I know it's natural and not fragranced. It gets quite foamy when added with water, but it's free of SLS and SLES, preservatives and synthetic colourants, and it contains organic Tea Tree oil and organic Marigold. More importantly, you don't need to use a lot each time to get the best results! I have used this for over one week now, and I feel much better, although sometimes, I still feel a little itchy, especially after my shower, but it's nothing serious and definitely nothing like what I had before!
These are the things that I now do in order to help prevent vaginal infections:
- Use a natural & organic intimate cleanser
- Wash my panties with hubby's Dettol Shower Gel instead of allowing the maids to wash them
- Use my own personal towel (made of pure cotton) to dry my body after taking showers
- Wear a fragrant-free pantyliner, and change it regularly
- Use panties made from bamboo charcoal. I used to use cotton panties, but these ones dry much faster and do not feel tight around my thighs, and what I love about them most is that they are "one size fits all" as they can expand to quite big in size but aren't baggy like grandma's panties - perfect for pregnancy! They're usually on sale at Citistore, so that makes them around HK$50 for a pair, and I usually buy them in grey, as that's the natural colour of bamboo charcoal fibre!
This topic feels so weird to talk about in public, but indeed it is very important for women to be aware of such infections, so that we can all find ways to prevent them from occurring! Of course, there are way more brands out there than just Lactacyd and Helan, but it's all just about finding the right one for you! I did also try the Intimate Cleanser by Sebamed, but I'm not a fan of Sebamed (I was disappointed at how fragranced their products were for babies and adults with sensitive skin), but just in case you're interested:
It did used to be fragranced, but now that I've left it there for so long, the fragranced scent has gone, just leaving the bad chemical smell. I received this sample in the bag that the hospital gave me after I had given birth to my first child - nothing special, and I didn't continue buying it.
I hope I have been helpful, and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below! Thanks :)
For more information on some of the products, please visit the links below:
Helan (only in Chinese):
Sunna Character Bamboo Charcoal Panties: