There was once a time when douching was considered almost a necessity for women. It was commonly thought that vaginal discharge or fluid had to be cleaned out, and douching was the way to do it. We now know that not only is douching unnecessary, but it could be damaging your health. Unfortunately, many women are unaware of the risks and still douche regularly.
Find out why you should kick the douching habit – or don’t start one:
- A healthy vagina has a natural balance of bacteria in an acidic environment. If the pH levels are disrupted with douching, it can kill the good bacteria, and allow bad bacteria to take over. This can lead to an infection called bacterial vaginosis, as well as yeast infections.
- Douching may cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is a potentially serious bacterial infection that causes infertility and pain, and affects the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Douching can cause PID by forcing bacteria up into the uterus, where it doesn’t belong.
- Douching may actually increase your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Because it removes some of your normal, protective bacteria, douching leaves the vagina more prone to STDs and other infections. Use a latex condom to prevent STDs.
- Evidence suggests that women who douche are more likely to have ectopic pregnancies or a premature baby.
- Douching does not prevent pregnancy. Douching has no effect on sperm or the likelihood that you will get pregnant. You must use proven, effective birth control to avoid pregnancy.
- A vagina has an effective system for cleaning itself. It doesn’t need to be cleaned internally with douching. Forcefully squirting water, vinegar, and other douches into the vagina can cause more harm than good. Just washing your external genital area with a gentle soap and water during a bath or shower is all you need. In addition, vaginal powders or sprays are generally not recommended or necessary.
If you are experiencing unusual discharge, itching, pain, or odor in the vaginal area, talk to your gynecologist. You may have a bacterial or yeast infection or another issue that needs to be addressed. Your gynecologist is here to help, so be sure you feel comfortable talking to your doctor about any health problems or changes in your health. Get your questions answered and any health issues treated sooner rather than later. Your gynecologist will work with you to treat any problems so you can enjoy a healthy, active life.
CarePoint Health Women’s Services
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can optimize your health and prevent many common women’s health issues throughout your life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, pleasecontact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.