20/11/2015 Health Check


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Now it's time for this month's Health Check.


Welcome to Health Check, your monthly dose of global health


stories. This month, we will be looking at the health of women


around the world. Coming up: Should you be worried about the safety of


sanitary products? Dangers of an eye opening beauty treatment. And we


celebrate the women who are the hidden heroes of health around the


world. We look at an innovative device helping more women to


breastfeed in Bangladesh. On any given day, millions of women around


the world are using tampons and sanitary pads but recently, women's


health organisations and an American congresswoman have raised concerns


about their safety. For Health Check, we investigate whether you


should be worried. US Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney has been on a


mission for over 15 years. Female hygiene, female health, female


reproductive health, female hygiene products. This should not be taboo.


We should be talking about it. She believes more academic research


should be done into the safety of feminine hygiene and sanitary


products. And doctors are seeing women who are suffering from


embarrassing conditions. Vulvar I Ching is one of the most common


problems I have seen. It can be from eczema or dermatitis. That can be


due to exposure or imitation -- irritation. Contact dermatitis


caused in part by sanitary pads can be debilitating. It intervenes with


many aspects of their lives daily functioning to intimate


relationships. The most frustrating part of all is they are not given an


absolute diagnosis. How common are cases like this? Well, there is very


little data out there, so it is hard to know the extent of the problem,


but some believe there are many risks associated with sanitary


products. Sanitary products are an integral part of most women's lives


and it is estimated that the average woman will use more than 16,800


tampons or pads in a lifetime. This can contain synthetic products to


make them more absorbent and fragrances, both of which women can


have reactions to. So, should women be worried about the safety of these


products? There are already many strict guidelines that the


manufacturers have to follow. They have to show that the raw materials


used to make these products safe for human use but also that the final


product does not induce any bad reactions. Manufacturers do follow


internationally recognised safety assessment is. This includes skin


irritation tests, which can be done on areas like the lower back. But


there is very little industry independent research about the


safety of these products. Carolyn Maloney has been trying to get a


bill passed by Congress that would change this in America. Women need


to know what is in hygiene products and fundamentally whether they are


safe or not. This bill is to achieve that goal, to call upon our specific


agencies, the FDA and MIH, the federal drug administration and


National Institutes of Health, to disclose to us what tests if any


have been done, what are the conclusions and what have they


learned. Apart from the rise in toxic shock syndrome cases in the


1980s, sanitary products do have a good safety record, so the women


currently experiencing problems today could just be the unlucky few


who are sensitive. Although it may only be a small number of women who


have bad effects using these products, more academic research in


this area can help to conclude definitively that sanitary products


are safe. That was Lizzie Crouch reporting. One of the conditions she


touched on there was contact dermatitis, which is something I see


quite a lot of in my job as a doctor. What isn't? The words


dermatitis means inflammation of the skin and there are two types. There


is irritant dermatitis and diligent dermatitis. If you look at this


picture of that lady's face... That looks very painful. That is almost


certainly an irritant dermatitis, caused by soap, oil or make up. And


this picture with the genes, that is almost certainly allergic dermatitis


to Nicole, because often buttons in jeans and trousers are made of


material that contains nickle. Nickle is an often cited material in


dermatitis. Latex as well. I used to find I could wear any earrings at


all but now if I were certain earrings, my earlobes go pink. Would


that be a nickle allergy? Almost certainly. And it is great and


satisfying as a doctor because you can feel very clever and say that is


a nickle allergy and as soon as you take away the offending item, it all


seems to clear up. You can see here is much more severe looking picture


of what looks like a couple of dolphins on a henna tattoo. This is


an irritant or an allergic dermatitis. This could be a mix of


both because often henna is mixed in with other guys and people often get


a holiday. I had one my ankle and it looks like a not very nice pink


bracelet. The weird thing is people can develop these allergies years


later. Yes and there is a theory that the more you come into contact


with something the more likely it is that it will trigger a reaction.


There is almost a switch on the immune system that suddenly triggers


a vast immune response and all of these inflammatory mediators like


histamine and other chemicals rushed to the skin and cause that


characteristic redness and inflammatory look. It does not


really matter at all if I cannot wear nickle earrings but can it get


more serious? Yes. Yourselves like a mild dermatitis because it


disappears the day after, but it can be much more severe, as some of


these images show. If you get dermatitis on your face, that can


have a psychological effect, which also affects the people in our next


piece. Eyelashes are big business in Japan. You can buy anything there


from boutiques, pharmacies and even vending machines. As the craze


spreads, the Japanese health authorities are becoming concerned


about the increasing number of actions that they cause they say


that the eyes of the window to the soul and in Japan, women are paying


vast amount of any to open them right up. Eyelashes extensions are


the latest craze here and it is an extremely intricate treatment that


should take about an hour or so with each hair is laid on a separately


with blue. When eyelashes extensions are done properly like this, it is


supposed to enhance your natural look. But for women using leaching


and the market, the result can be less than flattering. Chiori is one


customer who left a cheap parlour with more than she bargained for.


TRANSLATION: It was my third time getting eyelashes extensions. It


came as a cheap coupon from a beauty salon. Straightaway, it was painful


and my eyes started to sing. -- sting. But Chiori is not alone. A


government survey has shown that one in four women have experienced some


sort of irritation from eyelash extensions and doctors are reported


hundreds of cases in their clinics each year. TRANSLATION: Against


patients every two to three months coming in to complain about foreign


objects in their eyes, puffiness and irritation. The worst-case scenario


is caused by changing the service of your eye stop for example, if it


reads as damage during the procedure or if the extension is not properly


attached. That can result in an infection and is at its worst, you


can even lose your eyesight. -- and if that gets worse. Because of


potential complications, it is illegal to perform eyelash


extensions without a licence. But women on the hunt for bargained


treatments don't bother asking for proof and put themselves on -- at


risk. Since 2013, the government has started a crackdown on unlawful


practices in the hope of protecting consumers. TRANSLATION: We set a


rule that only those with hairdressing licence as are allowed


to do this treatment for it our union gives the certificates to


beauticians to frame and these marks to shops, but from the customer


perspective, there is


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