The Truth About Toilet Paper: Why My Vagina Is Itching

To summarize: you vagina prefers grey cheap toilet paper, while your anus needs something soft and gentle. Bidet and wet wipes are compromised, too. Oh, my!

Why My Vagina Is Itching

The skin around your vaginal opening (vulva) is pretty sensitive, in fact, it is very easy to irritate it and cause so-called vulvovaginitis. No wonder, it is estimated that half of all women older than 24 years will experience vulvovaginitis at least once. Standard symptoms of vulvovaginitis include vaginal swelling, dryness, extreme itchiness, and pain during sex. What’s worse, it’s sometimes hard to tell that your vagina is simply irritated because of the pigmentation of the skin around the genitals. Moreover, almost half of the cases of vulvovaginitis have no clear cause. These factors make it harder to diagnose and prevent the annoying symptoms.

Often, women misdiagnose themselves with a yeast infection and use OTC medications in vain. In fact, studies have shown that 50% of women who use OTC antifungal medications do not have yeast infections and have vulvovaginitis instead. In this case, an OTC yeast medication can instead further aggravate the symptoms.

Vulvovaginitis can result from bacterial, viral, or yeast infections, or from contact irritation or allergy. This means that if you developed the symptoms after using a new product around the intimate area, try first to eliminate it and see if the symptoms disappear. That being said, if symptoms persist you need to check with your doctor to make sure it is not something more serious, like an STD, for example.

Possible causes of vulvovaginitis:

  • Soap
  • Laundry detergent
  • Lotions, cremes, and even nail polish if they come in contact with the vaginal area
  • Toilet paper
  • Wet napkins (baby toilet wipes)

Which Toilet Paper Is Better For Your Vagina

Toilet paper is a number one necessity in all households. Some have very strong preferences when it comes to choosing toilet paper, others don’t care much. But almost everybody hates the super-thin greyish cheap toilet paper in public bathrooms. However, it might be that the cheaper brands are better for you. Many expensive brands could, according to a study, contain formaldehyde a chemical that not only causes irritation but is also a cancer-causing agent.

“The thick, absorptive, strong, bleached, and expensive brands are more likely to contain formaldehyde than the thinner, cheap, “grayish” brands.”, concluded the researchers. Therefore, if you frequently experience uncomfortable signs of vulvovaginitis and your doctor can’t figure out what’s wrong with you, try switching to the cheap toilet paper and see if it helps. However, don’t rush into buying sandpaper-like brands just yet and read further.

In fact, some turn to reusable (!) cloth toilet paper or bidet solutions to avoid the irritation a regular toilet paper could cause.

Which Toilet Paper is Better For Your Anus

“It’s important to use a soft tissue to avoid cuts and bruises that could open the skin and lead to infections,” Manhattan OBGYN Daniel Roshan explains. Dr. Roshan urges his patients to splurge on a gentle toilet tissue. If you have hemorrhoids I’m sure you won’t even consider switching to a cheaper toilet paper. So back to the one laced with formaldehyde, I guess?

Quite frankly, when it comes to personal hygiene it’s tough to find a middle ground. Folks who are wiping poorly, infrequently, or overzealously might experience itching and irritation. Excessive wiping with dry scratchy toilet paper can lead to micro-tears in the anal tissue, causing bleeding and discomfort.

What About Wet Wipes?

Wet wipes seem like a great alternative: many have soothing plant extracts, for example, Aloe Vera or Witch Hazel and claim to be suitable for sensitive skin and dermatologically tested. However, upon further examination, customers still could get an allergic reaction. The culprit seems to be the preservative mixture of methylchloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MI).

MCI is not the only ingredient you should be watching out for. For example,  a study evaluated 54 different wet wipes with a total of 132 ingredients and concluded that “there are many potential allergens in personal hygiene wet wipes”.

Granted, you could be allergic to the most innocent and natural ingredients or develop a new allergy as time goes by. Therefore no cosmetic product could be 100% hypoallergenic and it’s always better to perform an allergy test on your wrist prior to using a new product on your more sensitive areas.

Oh, and of course, what are you planning to do with that poopy wipe? If the packaging claims that wipes are flushable, most likely they’ll still clog your pipes. Consumer Report team gave up after trying to dissolve “flushable” and “septic safe” wipes even with a help of a kitchen mixer. Their verdict: do not flush “flushable” wipes.

Many physicians suggest moistening toilet paper with water as an alternative which could be great if only water wasn’t so wet. I mean, it’s great that water disintegrates toilet paper quickly but you don’t want your TP to fall apart while you using it.

Bidet Is Bad For The Vagina

So if toilet paper irritates private parts with formaldehyde and wet wipes are full of potential allergens and clog your toilet, how about an old-fashion bidet instead? What could be better than running water after all, right? Well, wrong.

A study that looked at 268 women found that “normal microflora (Lactobacillus species) was not present in 42.86% of bidet toilet users, compared to 8.77% of non-users. Fecal bacteria were detected in 50 of the 268 cases (18.66%), 46 cases in users (92%) and only 4 cases in non-users (8%). Contamination by other pathogens was 4 to 6 times higher in users than in non-users.”, basically “habitual use of bidet toilets aggravates vaginal microflora, either by depriving normal microflora or facilitating opportunistic infection of fecal bacteria and other microorganisms,” concluded the researchers. Contrintuitevily, if you use a bidet you can be more prone to BV and therefore UTIs.

Why WipeGel

After a frustrating search for a portable, a flushable and skin-friendly solution I decided to work with a formulating chemist to create my own product that takes wiping to the next level. We put together five main ingredients to make wiping with any toilet paper better for your vagina and anus. A drop of WipeGel added to any toilet paper instantly turns your scratchy dry piece of paper into a luxurious, absolutely flushable wet wipe.

The moisture of the gel smoothes out the surface of the toilet paper and feels great against your skin. The gel is tested to spread nicely on the toilet paper without compromising the integrity of any TP brand.

Ingredients of WipeGel:

  • A hefty amount of witch hazel (30%)
  • A prebiotic blend
  • A vegetable-based natural preservative (it’s classified by INC as perfume because of its natural almond-like smell)
  • Other stuff: water, carbomer (to make it gelly) and less than 0.01% of sodium hydroxide to start the thickening of carbomer. That’s it!

WipeGel Is Great For Your Anus

It is so good for your anus that it even could be used as a hemorrhoidal wipe. While witch hazel is amazing for your skin on so many levels, it is also recognized by FDA as a potent vasoconstrictor that helps soothe the pain associated with hemorrhoids. Witch hazel contains several compounds with potent anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, which may be useful in treating a variety of conditions ranging from acne and scalp sensitivity to hemorrhoids.

Can you use witch hazel if you do not have hemorrhoids? Of course! Some people apply witch hazel directly to the skin for itching, pain, inflammation and minor skin irritations.

Witch hazel contains chemicals called tannins. When applied directly to the skin, witch hazel might help reduce swelling, help repair broken skin, and fight bacteria.

WipeGel Is Friendly To Your Microbiome

Harsh chemicals and strong preservatives alter your skin flora. And as you know, once you remove most of the bacteria, the pathogenic ones are usually faster to recover. As the result, whenever you clean something really well expect an overgrowth of opportunistic and pathogenic bacteria next. Pathogenic bacteria cause not only bad smell but also infections. As you know, when you take antibiotics, it is wise to start a probiotic regimen and enhance your diet with prebiotics to restore beneficial flora. Our prebiotic blend is a food for good bacteria but pathogenic and opportunistic bacteria can’t digest it.

In clinical studies, our prebiotic blend helps beneficial skin microbiota to recover faster and stronger after it has been exposed to a 40% solution of ethanol used in the tests. Without a prebiotic, four hours after application of ethanol solution, the skin microbiota recovered for 19% of its original balance. With prebiotic, the skin microbiota recovered for 92.2%. The prebiotic has been also extensively tested in intimate products, baby products, and products for sensitive skin with excellent safety results.

One bottle of WipeGel will last you several months and equals approximately 400 wipes.

If you try it, do let me know your thoughts!

2 thoughts on “The Truth About Toilet Paper: Why My Vagina Is Itching”

  1. Hi I been suffering for the past month with IC what is the best relief for it? It’s constant pain in my urethra like I have a fool bladder I urine small amounts all day

    1. Anastasia Visotsky

      Hi Yvonne, I don’t cover IC issues here and it’s a totally different beast. However, some new evidence shows that treating patients with symptoms and negative culture still could be successful. Read this article here (perhaps, substituting antibiotics for natural antimicrobials could be safer).

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