The great douching debacle has been plaguing women for a number of years now. To douche or not to douche? Many women do it after getting their period, having sex, or noticing an odor in their vagina. Vaginal washing and soaking in the form of a douche has been around for eons, however it's the solutions that have changed over the years. Are they safe and is it safe to douche?
According to Medicine Net, vaginal douching is the practice of flushing or washing out the vagina. The solutions sold now are generally pre packaged and contain vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. At home you'd follow the directions on the box, mix it up, and insert the tip of the squeeze bottle or bag into your vagina and squeeze the solution into the vaginal cavity.
Additionally, Web MD noted that 20 to 40 percent of American women have used a vaginal douche. Higher rates were seen in teens, African-American, and Hispanic women although why this is the case is unknown. Besides just wanting to feel clean, many women believe douching after sex prevents pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, which the same Web MD article explained that douching is absolutely not effective for those purposes. In fact, it explicitly stated that douches could actually harm you more than help you and they are generally not recommended by health care professionals.
According to the Women's Health website, douching gets rid of your vagina's natural and necessary bacteria. It explained that a healthy vagina has good and bad bacteria so as to create an acidic environment to ward off infections. Douching can actually cause harmful conditions as noted on the site such as: bacterial vaginosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and problems during pregnancy like ectopic pregnancy and preterm labor. The same Web MD article also noted that recent research suggests there might be a link between douching and cervical cancer.
So what to do if your vagina smells funny or you have some itching or burning? The Women's Health site explained that those symptoms could actually be the signs of an infection, and it's best to call your doctor about them immediately. It noted that if you douche to deal with these symptoms it might be harder for a nurse or doctor to determine what's actually wrong. All of the latest research points to douches generally not being recommended for women, but if you still want to give it a whirl it's best to consult your doctor first to determine the safest solution and frequency for your body.