A Warning to All the Ladies Obsessed With Bath Bombs

| Women's Health
bath-bomb
(Photo: Shutterstock)

Brace yourselves, bath bomb lovers. As you sink into your hot bath made perfect by your favorite fizzing bath bomb, there could be more going on underneath the water's surface than you think.

You might know that the vagina requires a happy balance of bacteria living in perfect harmony for a pH level of somewhere in between 4 and 4.5, which helps keep away infection-causing pathogens. But did you know that something as simple as a bath bomb could disrupt your vagina's natural balance?

"[These changes] create an opportunity for bad bacteria to overtake the vaginal atmosphere and cause an infection," Jessica Shepherd, M.D., director of minimally invasive gynecology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told SELF. A different pH level can lead to an irritated or itchy vagina, which can lead to changes in vaginal discharge.

So those fun bath bombs you're dropping in your tub? There's a risk that the very aromatic chemicals that make your bath water smell oh-so-lovely could seep into your vagina, causing the not-so-fun symptoms listed above. (P.S. The same thing goes for other soaps, lubricants, douches, etc. You don't need to clean your vagina with anything other than warm water; in fact, you'll probably disrupt its pH levels if you do. One of the best things about it is that it can clean itself!)

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The thing is, not all women will be affected by bath bombs, which admittedly disolve into the water and might only come into contact with the vulva, the outer skin on the vagina. "You're going to have some women who have vaginas that are affected by bath bombs and others who don't," Shepherd says. "At the end of the day, it's up to everyone to make their own decision based on how they feel."

If you want to give it a try, use a bath bomb and carefully moderate your vagina's activity for the next few days. Look for irritation, odor or unusual discharge and if something's wrong, contact your gynecologist to discuss your options. If nothing's wrong, lucky you! Enjoy your luxurious well-deserved bathtime.

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