She’s had a strong opinion on the recent trends for women cleaning their vaginas with cucumbers and Vicks’ Vaporub.
Now Dr Jen Gunter, who is also a prominent critic of Gwyneth Paltrow’s controversial Goop website, has hit out at men who complain about the natural smell of their partner’s genitals which she describes as a ‘form of abuse’.
Writing in her latest blog newsletter, the Canadian gynecologist revealed she once dumped a boyfriend for complaining about the smell of her genitals.
Dr Gunter has urged women not to feel ashamed and feel they have to resort to buying harmful products that create artificial odours.
She says they upset the vagina’s natural pH balance and leave you at a greater risk of infections like gonorrhoea and even HIV.
Dr Jen Gunter has spoken out about men demanding or expecting their partner’s vagina to have an artificial smell (stock photo)
She wrote: ‘I once dated a guy who insinuated my vagina did not smell right. He was an a** in other ways too. For example, he though my hair would be better if it were straight. Sadly I took the bait, it wasn’t.
‘He thought I would look better if I dressed a certain way. Again I took the bait. I just felt worse.
‘When it came around to telling me how my vagina could be better it finally clicked that this is a form of control that men often use.
‘Fortunately I am an appropriately confident vagina expert and I had a light bulb moment and dumped his sorry a**.
Dr Gunter went on to urge women to not fall into the same trap.
She said: ‘I realize this may border on TMI [too much information], but honestly if it happened to me I bet it has happened to other women.
‘The continued proliferation of the what will they insert next, the products on drug store shelves, and the interest in these posts tells me that I’m probably right.
‘If you think you have a medical condition, see a doctor. If your partner insinuates that an artificial smell is preferable to the smell of a normal vagina they are the one who has an issue.
‘Telling women how they can be better is a classic way of tapping into body image issues and honestly in my personal opinion it is a form of abuse.’
Dr Gunter has previously stressed that women should be aware that douches are unnecessary – and even dangerous – as our intimate areas are designed to clean themselves.
She once tweeted: ‘A vagina takes care of itself. Like a self cleaning oven.’
In her recent post she explained: ‘For what I am sure is the 100th time the vagina needs no cleaning and the vulva needs very little.
‘I know the array of useless feminine washes and wipes at the drugstore and the drivel spouted by Gwyneth Paltrow via Goop imply otherwise, but I’m the actual expert.’
She has recently warned about the health risks of carrying out a ‘vagina facial’ using a cucumber (stock photo)
WHY IS THE PH OF YOUR VAGINA IMPORTANT?
Scientists have discovered an STI and HIV-fighting bacteria naturally present in some women’s vaginas.
L. crispatus bacteria in their vaginas is one of five types of bacteria present in female genitals.
But unlike in the gut – where we strive to have a mix of bacteria – many researchers believe the vagina is healthiest if just one (L. crispatus) is dominant.
Lactobacillus bacteria pump out lactic acid, which keeps the vaginal environment at a low, acidic pH that kills or discourages other bacteria, yeast and viruses from thriving.
There are even hints that certain Lactobacillus species reinforce the mucus in the vagina that acts as a natural barrier to invaders.
She recently warned about the dangers of carrying out a ‘vagina facial’ using a cucumber.
Then also said that using anything that upsets the pH balance – including douches, cleanses, steams, and vinegar pH balancing products – has ‘real potential for harming good bacteria or disrupting the mucosal surface’.
‘By damaging lactobacilli and the mucosa, attempts at vaginal cleaning increase a woman’s risk of contracting gonorrhoea or HIV if she is exposed,’ she said.
‘Paradoxically, it will also cause odour.’
Experts at the renowned Mayo Clinic echo Dr Gunter’s warning and say on its website that ‘it’s normal for your vagina to have a slight odor’.
It says that vaginal odor may vary throughout the menstrual cycle and may be especially noticeable right after having sex. Normal sweating also can cause a vaginal smell.
However, it states that ‘a strong vaginal odor – for instance, a “fishy” smell – might be abnormal and could indicate a problem.’
WHEN SHOULD I SEE A DOCTOR OVER YOUR VAGINAL ODOR?
It is completely normal for your vagina to have a slight odor.
Abnormal vaginal odor that happens because of infection or another problem is usually associated with other vaginal signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.
Common causes of abnormal vaginal odor include:
- Bacterial vaginosis – this is an overgrowth of normally occurring vaginal bacteria and the most common vaginal infection that causes a vaginal odor.
- Poor hygiene
- A retained or forgotten tampon left in place for several days
- Trichomoniasis – a sexually transmitted infection – also can lead to vaginal odor
Chlamydia and gonorrhea infections usually don’t cause vaginal odors. Neither do yeast infections.
Less commonly, abnormal vaginal odor may result from:
- Rectovaginal fistula (an abnormal opening between the rectum and vagina that allows feces to leak into the vagina)
- Cervical cancer
- Vaginal cancer
If you’re concerned about an abnormal or persistent vaginal odor, see your doctor for a vaginal exam – especially if you have other signs and symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation or discharge.
In the meantime, to minimize vaginal odor:
- Wash your external genital area: During regular baths or showers, use a very small amount of mild, unscented soap and lots of water.
- Avoid douching: All healthy vaginas contain bacteria and yeast. The normal acidity of your vagina keeps bacteria and yeast in check. But douching can actually upset this delicate balance.
Source: Mayo Clinic