By YETUNDE AREBI
The woman’s sexual organ is perhaps the most important feature of the entire female reproductive organs. It serves as many ports, an entrance port to the rest of the reproductive system. Through it other features such as the uterus, the fallopian tubes, the ovaries are accessed.
It also serves as an exit port because it is through it that life is brought forth when a baby is birthed, bringing fulfillment and pride to the woman, joy to the man and ensuring the continuity of family name and the human race as a whole.
The monthly cycle (menstruation) is also expelled and urine, a toxic waste from the body passes through it even though from another channel. Finally, it also serves as the pleasure port of the female’s sexual desires. All (well, almost all) sexually built up tensions for both the male and the female are relieved at this port. Some say the pleasures available to both sexes are unimaginable and endless, if properly explored.
Depending on the skill, strength, openness and commitment of the partners, a single entry visa to this port, may quickly turn to a request for multiple entry and even emigrant visa depending on how the package is presented.
A visa applicant might just discover what got Mungo Park hooked on Africa, and the rest would become history.
This sexual organ also has eyes and a mind of its own, no matter what you may think of it.
It speaks a language understood only by its owner and perhaps those it allows into its secrets. For when it spots what she desires, it speaks to its owner. The result of the conversation is the issuance or denial of visa documentations into the entry port or pleasure port.
Once a male manages to secure the visa to enter this port, the importance of this organ is undeniable to the woman, the man she permits into her secret place, the society and humanity as a whole. Which no doubt explains the amount of care and attention given to it by both the owners and the men who use their services. Yes! Men too, do show concern and care for it. This is because of our conviction that should anything go wrong with this great port, a whole lot of things would likely be affected.
Apart from the physical discomfort and pain to the woman, her man also shares in the pain as embargo would have to be placed on it to allow whatever went wrong to subside. It can even disrupt the whole process of conception and birthing if adequate medical attention is not accessed properly and promptly too. Their could be some other grave consequences, causing permanent injury, diseases or even death. If you or your partner has ever had something seriously wrong down there, you’ll have an idea of what I’m talking about.
That is why I almost fell of my seat some weeks back when I first received a message about Vagina cancer and how use of soap to wash it could increase the risk of having it. As always, I took it with a pinch of salt after the initial shock of the picture that came with the message wore off.
The message as usual was directed to women and the men who love them with the advise that you pass it on to other women. I mentally tried to figure in my head, how many women must have already received the message with the gory picture and the number of those that will, should I comply and send to my female contacts. Tufiakwa! I thought, may I not be the harbinger of this evil picture!
But what if other women were also passing this stuff around under the guise of informing their sisters and friends? How true is this information anyway? For those yet to come across the message, I have reproduced one of my versions of it below. It read:
“Hi, Have you heard? Cancer of the vagina is all over. Please avoid washing your vagina with soap, water alone is enough.
There is a particular chemical in soap that is dangerous. It possibly causes cancer of the vagina. Cases of cancer of the vagina are all over most of the general hospitals, so be aware of this important message. If you have feelings for others, kindly pass this message over to people that are important to you. …. ”
I received three, one without any credit, another with the picture of a guy named Foreign Ben and the third with this gory picture with half of the abdomen of the supposed victim open and a Catheter hanging out obviously to drain urine from the bladder. It was this particular post that got me worried. Let me quickly confess that up till then, I’d not heard about this killer called Vagina Cancer. (and to think of how important this place is to women? How ignorant of me!) So I decided to do some investigation of my own.
I first forwarded the message to a friend of mine who happens to be a Professor of Medicine, Surgeon of both adult and children as well as a very senior doctor at the Lagos Teaching Hospital, (LUTH). He did not only debunk the story but also the content of the picture which he stated had nothing to do with the vagina as it was clear that the vagina in the picture was intact. According to him, vagina cancer is one of the rarest cancers and hardly was found among young women but menopausal women aged 60 and above and those who might have had cervical cancer.
The picture being circulated was actually that of a small child suffering from an attack of a flesh eating bacteria known as necrotizing fasciitis and wondered how anyone can be so callous as to misinform people with such.
Then, I tried to google the guy named Foreign Ben and came up with nothing. There was no one named as such linked to Cancer research anywhere in the world. (please you may forward me your findings if you are lucky with yours).
Finally, I wanted to know the substance in soaps generally which causes vagina cancer and I hit another dead end. What you are likely to find on most websites are findings on vagina itching and discharge caused by a range of factors including sexually transmitted infections and diseases.
According to Dr, Gary Sa on one of the sites I checked, “Although vaginal itching is the hallmark of yeast infections and other vaginal infections (including sexually transmitted diseases, STDs), itching in the vagina and vulvar areas has multiple causes. Vaginal itching can also arise due to chemical irritants that may be found in detergents or soaps, douches and vaginal creams, toilet paper, bath products, feminine hygiene products, and vaginal contraceptive products. Women in the menopausal transition may experience vaginal itching due to fluctuations in estrogen levels.
As estrogen levels decline in the perimenopause, the vaginal wall becomes thinner and drier, and itching may result.
Some studies have shown a link between psychological stress and vaginal yeast infections too. This is likely due to the fact that stress is known to have a negative effect on the immune system and could possibly increase the likelihood of getting a yeast infection”. Soap as cause for cancer was not mentioned.
And even if it was, which of our numerous brands of soaps in the market are we supposed to be running away from? To further narrow things down, what exactly are we supposed to be looking out for in these soaps? How many of our products have their composition written on the packages and how many bear manufacturer’s details such as expiry dates and other consumer information? Perhaps, we need to call on NAFDAC to help us out here.
The whole thing reminded me of the great Garri scare of the ‘9os when a certain Professor announced that Nigerians stop eating Garri as research had revealed that it causes cancer and blindness!
Or the one about lipsticks which broke in 2003 and was also found to be a hoax. Or the bit about a certain noodles which subsequently turned out to be a market propaganda strategy by some other brands.
It is a fact and indeed common knowledge that women are advised not to douche as it can disrupt the PH of the vagina, leading to infection, not cancer.
But how many of us women adhere to this on a daily bases? Or how many men encourage their women to keep the place only as the good Lord created it? A guy once told me if he must make love with a woman, she must first wash out all traces of mucous in her vagina! (He probably loves it dry!) A neighbour also once disclosed during a conversation with some other women that she washes her vagina with soap and water every morning and has also taught her little daughters to do likewise because that is the way she was trained by her own mother!
This little message has triggered off so many issues racing through my head. Are soaps and fingers and joysticks (penis) the only things we stick into our vagina? Please lets meet here again next week for the concluding part of this article. Do have a lovely weekend!