An Irish gynaecologist has criticised a recent article published by Khloe Kardashian in which the reality star offered her readers advice on achieving "a happy and healthy" vagina.
The Revenge Body presenter (32) took to her app to advise her fans on the products she uses to show her "lady parts some TLC", publishing an extensive list of products she uses "down there".
The list includes a Fitbit-like device which monitors the number of kegel exercises that are completed in a day, flushable wipes, as well as various creams and potions she says soothe sensitive skin and moisturise the area.
The star also recommended Vajacials, a facial-like treatment carried out on the pubic area, which includes exfoliating, toning and masking the nether regions.
However, Dr Shirley McQuade, Medical Director of the Dublin’s Well Woman Centre, said using the extensive list of products suggested by Khloe could end up causing problems in the sensitive area, including bacteria vaginitis, the painful and irritating inflammation of the vagina.
"Overuse of multiple products on such a sensitive area is very likely to cause irritation leading to increased itching, discharge and pH imbalance. This is definitely an area where less is more. The vaginal area is self-cleaning so altering the pH can lead to an overgrowth of normal bacteria - which is called bacterial vaginitis.
"This can be difficult to treat as it tends to recur," she said.
On her list, Khloe recommends her followers use "cleansing flushable wipes for down there", however Dr McQuade suggested that women should be cautious about using such products as they can throw off the vagina's natural pH balance, making thrush and bacterial vaginosis more likely.
Dr McQuade also criticised Khloe's vaginal moisturiser suggestion and said women who are experiencing dryness should only use approved products for a short period of time before seeking the advice of a doctor if the problem persists.
"Pre-menopausal women do not usually have vaginal dryness so if they do a very short term use of a moisturiser is recommended, for example, a week or so. If this doesn't resolve the problem then a visit to a doctor is needed to check out what treatment it warrants," she said.
The Kardashian also recommended a product called the Elvie tracker, a $199 (€186) device which is inserted into the vagina to count how many kegel exercises are completed in a day. Dr McQuade said contrary to Khloe's other suggestions, the tracker could prove helpful to some women.
"Pelvic floor exercises are useful to use in certain circumstances like after childbirth or as part of treatment for some types of urinary incontinence but for the vast majority of women who have no symptoms they are not relevant.
"If the kegel exercise monitor was used to remind someone to do the exercises as advised by a physio then maybe it would help them keep to a program but if they used it to reach a personal best then that would be counterproductive. Like any group of muscles over exercising can cause discomfort pain and muscle spasm," she said.
Khloe admits she's a fan of Hollywood waxes, however Dr McQuade said Irish women should reconsider the practise as grooming can lead to discomfort and even increase the likelihood of infection.
"We’ve seen an enormous increase in the numbers of women waxing and shaving and a large proportion of women under the age of 50 are grooming themselves in this way.
"With that, we’ve also seen an increase in the number of women who are experiencing inflammation and irritation as a result of waxing or shaving.
"There is also an issue of skin damage. If skin is irritated, broken and damaged by waxing, it might not be able to fend off infection as easy.
"In this way, viral infections have the opportunity to spread easily.
"I’ve seen HPV, genital warts, spread along the line of shaving. Another viral infection, molluscum contagiosum which is similar to chicken pox, also spreads easier along the line of waxing or shaving,” she said.
As well as irritation and inflammation, Dr. McQuade said grooming also can cause folliculitis, which can be painful.
"Hollywood waxes for the most part can cause discomfort but also can cause things like folliculitis which is an inflammation of the hair follicles which can be quite painful and often has to be treated with anti-bacterial creams. Those who shave can also be prone to ingrown hairs.
"It seems like waxing and shaving generally just causes discomfort for days or weeks afterwards so our advice would be to not do either,” she said.
Khloe's complete list of products for a "happy and healthy" vagina