LivingWhat is a vaginal douche?

What is a vaginal douche?

A shower or irrigator is a device used to introduce a stream of water into a part of the body so that it can be washed. The main use of douching is therefore to clean the female vagina.

Many women douche to try to remove vaginal odor and believe that doing so helps keep the vagina clean, but is it safe?

It is believed that up to 1 in 5 women between the ages of 15 and 44 tend to douche regularly, but this can have unpleasant and even dangerous health consequences.

Douching involves filling an irrigator with water and pouring it into the vagina. Some women sometimes choose to mix water with other liquids, like vinegar, or use products that contain ingredients like baking soda, iodine, antiseptics, or even fragrances.

Women claim to douche for the following reasons:

-to get rid of unpleasant odors in the vagina
-to prevent pregnancy
-to wash body fluids, such as menstrual blood or semen
-to reduce the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection

Despite these beliefs, science has not shown that douching achieves any of these goals.

Are douches safe?

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology states that women should not douche. The vaginal flora keeps the vagina healthy and prevents infection. A woman’s vagina is ‘self-cleaning’ and can maintain the correct pH balance without interference. No need to douche.

In fact, douching can remove the ‘good bacteria’ from the vagina, which can change its pH balance, allow harmful bacteria to multiply, and lead to infections, irritations, raw skin, and more serious complications.

Risks of douching

Douching can do more harm than good. Regarding pregnancy, douching is not a valid form of contraception. In addition, it can make it more difficult to get pregnant if you are looking for conception. In pregnant women, douching can cause premature labor, increased chance of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.

When it comes to infections, there is a common misconception that douching can help prevent or get rid of vaginal infections. However, the truth is that it is completely the opposite. A regular douche can increase the chances of developing a vaginal infection. Disrupting the natural pH balance of the vagina can lead to yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Not surprisingly, women who douche are five times more likely to develop vaginosis than those who do not.

Using a douche when an infection already exists is also likely to make it worse and spread to other parts of the reproductive system.

Alternatives to douching

Keeping the vagina clean is simple. The easiest way is to wash with water when we bathe or shower. Ideally, use a fragrance-free vaginal gel that does not alter the natural pH balance of the vagina. When washing, gently hold the outer folds of the vagina and rinse it with water. The area should not be scrubbed and soap or water should not get into the vagina.

Reference: https://www.womenshealth.gov/files/documents/fact-sheet-douching.pdf

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