Genital tract abnormalities among female sex workers who douche with Lemon/Lime juice in Nigeria

  • AS Sagay
  • GE Imade
  • V Onwuliri
  • DZ Egah
  • MJ Grigg
  • J Musa
  • TD Thacher
  • JO Adisa
  • M Potts
  • RV Short
Keywords: CIN, Cytology, Douching, Lime, Nigeria


Vaginal douche products have been associated with cervical cancer. We examined female sex workers (FSWs) in Nigeria who douche with lemon or lime juice and compared the findings with that of nonusers. We obtained Pap smears and performed colposcopy of the vulva, vagina and cervix. A total of 374 FSWs comprising 81 Lemon users (LUs) and 293 non lemon users (NLUs) were examined. Their mean age was 27.8 ± 6.7 (range 16-63) years. At colposcopy, 17(4.5%) had genital warts [LUs 5(6.2%); NLUs 12(4.1%); p=0.43], 61(16.3%) had suspected
squamous intraepithelial lesions (SILs) [LUs 17(21.0%); NLUs 44(15.0%); p=0.20] and 65(17.4%) had other findings. Pap smear cytology showed that 87(24.6%) had SILs [LUs 26(33.3%); NLUs 61(22.1%); p=0.03]. Lemon/lime use was associated with cervical dysplasia after controlling for HIV status (Adjusted OR=1.8; 95% CI,
1.0-3.0). Our data suggests an association between the practice of douching with citrus juice and cervical dysplasia (Afr J Reprod Health 2009; 13[1]:37-45).

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