Vaginal Douching

Personally I do not see any benefits in vaginal douching.

I strongly believe that commercial douches cannot mimic or improve nature's way of letting the vagina be self-cleansing.

The tissue lining the vagina is similar to the tissue lining the mouth. You wouldn't use soap to clean out the inside of your mouth, right? Likewise, it isn't necessary to douche or use soap inside your vagina either.

Most doctors and the American College of Obstetricians Gynecologists (acog) point out that the risks associated with douching far outweigh the benefits.

The Side-Effects of Vaginal Douching

Vaginal Infection And PID (Pelvic inflammatory disease)

Douching increase the chance of vaginal infection and PID and it changes the delicate balance of vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) and the acidity level of a healthy vagina.

There are both good and bad bacteria and a small amount of yeast living harmoniously in the internal vagina anatomy.

The good bacteria produce lactic acid to maintain a slightly acidic environment in the vagina and keep the bad bacteria in check.

When that balance or acidity is disturbed, it creates a favorable condition for the bad bacteria and yeast to thrive. As a result vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis and yeast/Candida overgrowth set in.

Furthermore, if you have a vaginal infection, squirting liquid from a douche can push the bacteria that are causing the infection up the reproductive tract, namely the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries and cervix.

This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – a chronic infection that can cause scarring of the pelvic organs, ectopic pregnancy and even infertility, if left untreated.

If you are pregnant, bacterial vaginosis and PID can have adverse effects on the baby. This includes infection of the baby, labor problems, pre-term delivery and low birth weight.

Research has shown that women who douch has a 73% risk of getting pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

Cervical Cancer

Several studies found that women who douche more than once a week might have a higher risk of developing cervical cancer than woman who does not. It is believed that vaginal douching might destroy natural antiviral agents that are normally present in the vagina.

Given the above scenario, why do women use vagina douches?

Well, there are a variety of reasons why women favor vaginal douching. Some are related to myths and misguided information.

Clear the vagina of residual blood after menstruation

This is not necessary as the vagina is self-cleansing. You will notice a brown vaginal discharge towards the end of the menstrual cycle. This is our body’s way of shedding old uterine cells in preparation for our next monthly period.

For Vaginal Hygiene

Again, this is not required. The vagina cleans itself by secreting a fluid or discharge. This vaginal discharge is a mixture of cervical and vaginal secretions. It is the medium whereby dead cells, mucus and bacteria are transported out of the vagina. This is nature’s way of keeping the vagina clean and healthy.

Reduce Vaginal Odor

We cannot get rid of vaginal odor completely no matter how clean we are. However, if you have strong vagina smell accompanied with abnormal vaginal discharge, it is better to see a gynecologist rather than use douches.

It could be a sign of bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted diseases or maybe vagina fistula. Douching will lead to complications as mentioned at the beginning of this article.

If you want to feel fresh and clean before or after sexual intercourse or during your period, cleansing the external genitalia with a herbal feminine cleanser is sufficient.

Prevent Pregnancy

This information is misleading. Other than employing birth control methods or getting your partner to use a condom, vaginal douching cannot prevent pregnancy.

Avoid STDs After Sex

No. It is a myth that douching after sex can prevent STDs. The best way to prevent sexually transmitted infections is to practice safe sex and be faithful to only one partner who has been tested negative for STIs.

If you are not in a monogamous relationship, use male or female condoms to prevent contact with semen, blood, vaginal fluids or sores on your partners’ genitals which could spread the sexual disease.

From the above, you can conclude that there are hardly any benefits from vaginal douching. Therefore, it is better not to douche unless advised by your obstetrician. Even so, most probably he would suggest that you use a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar rather than chemical douches.

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