Title : Intravaginal practices and genital infections: A cross sectional study in the Yaounde University teaching hospital
Cultural beliefs and educational factors strongly influence intravaginal practices of women in Sub Saharan Africa. These behaviors appear common in different population across Africa. Previous research has suggested that vaginal douching modifies vaginal flora and was associated with genital infections. The aim of this study was to evaluate the contribution of intravaginal practices in the acquisition of genital infections in women. For bacterial vaginosis diagnosis, vaginal smears were heat-fixed and Gram-stained then examined by light microscopy the results were interpreted by using a standardized method for diagnosing bacterial vaginosis, as described by Nugent. The mycological examination consisted of culturing on the CHROM agar Candida medium the vaginal swabs. The results were as follows: The majority of respondents were in the age group of 29-39 years (44%). The majority of participants were students with a prevalence of 42.60%. The results showed that 71% of women performed intravaginal practices and the most used vaginal practice was scraping the vaginal walls with the fingers (69.2%). Women with University level of education were statistically more adept at these practices (55.0%) than women with secondary level of education (30.8%) and primary level (14.2%) respectively, and the difference was significant (P0.05). Women who performed intravaginal practices were more co-infected with vaginal candidiasis and bacterial vaginosis (20.72%) than those who did not (10.34%) ; but the difference was not significant (p> 0.05). Intravaginal practices expose women to genital infections.