It isn’t uncommon for most women to have a bottle of baby powder in their bathroom cabinets even if they don’t have babies themselves. A lot of women sprinkle baby powder between their legs to prevent chafing, especially during their periods. Some even use baby powder to absorb extra sweat and deodorize the area. However, there have been many theories floating around about how using baby powder around your genitals can actually lead to ovarian cancer. A popular brand for baby powder was even forced to pay millions of dollars by a court to a woman who claimed that their powder gave her ovarian cancer. So how much truth do these theories hold?
Studies Have Not Been Conclusive
The American Cancer Society examined the research conducted on the effects of baby powder and found that the results were “mixed”. Certain studies have found a slightly higher risk for ovarian cancer among women who regularly used baby powder. Other studies found absolutely no evidence of baby powder leading to ovarian cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, a part of the World Health Organisation, has classified baby powder as possibly carcinogenic but reiterates the fact that not enough conclusive evidence has been found.
How Can Talc Lead To Ovarian Cancer?
While researchers are still not sure is talc has a definite link with ovarian cancer, they have a theory about how it may lead to it. When you sprinkle talc liberally around your genitals, it can make its way up your reproductive tract through your vagina. Once it is inside you, your body identifies it as a harmful invader. To fight it off, it causes an inflammatory immune response. This response can potentially lead to an abnormal overgrowth of cells and cause ovarian cancer.
Other Factors Which Can Lead To Ovarian Cancer
Studies have also shown that women who have used oral contraceptives like birth control pills for at least 5 years have an almost 50% lower risk of developing ovarian cancer, compared to women who have never used these pills. Focusing on these risk factors can be a lot more useful than worrying about talcum powder. When doctors try to determine the causes or risk factors for their patients developing ovarian cancer, talcum powder is the last thing they pay attention to. You can always cut out baby powder from your routine if that makes you feel safer, but there isn’t enough compelling evidence that you need to.