Washington: 'Hygiene is two-thirds of health' is a well-known proverb and when it comes to female hygiene it becomes a serious concern. Feminine hygiene products have no doubt become a must-have for several women today, but have you ever spared a thought if they are really true to their purpose? If not, here's the answer!

Women's feminine hygiene practices particularly vaginal douching and use of feminine powder - may be associated with higher levels of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their blood, according to a new study published in the Journal of Women's Healthy.

The study used biomarkers to link the use of feminine hygiene products to VOC exposure. Feminine hygiene products also included tampons, sanitary napkins, sprays, wipes, and other products.

Moreover, researchers showed that black women used vaginal douching significantly more and had significantly higher whole blood concentrations of 1,4-dichlorobenzene (DCB).

The use of feminine powder was significantly associated with higher blood concentrations of ethylbenzene. These products may be a direct source of VOC exposure or they may be related to other activities that increase exposure.

"Based on the findings of this study, feminine hygiene products that expose the vulvovaginal tissue to harmful VOCs should be avoided, especially during pregnancy," suggested Susan G. Kornstein, MD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Women's Health and Executive Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Institute for Women's Health, Richmond, VA.