What is douching?
The word "douche" means to wash or soak in French. Douching is washing or
cleaning out the vagina (birth canal) with water or other mixtures of fluids.
Most douches are prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, baking soda, or iodine.
You can buy these products at drug and grocery stores. The mixtures usually come
in a bottle and can be squirted into the vagina through a tube or nozzle.
Why do women douche?
Women douche because they mistakenly believe it gives many benefits. Women
who douche say they do it to:
- Clean the vagina
- Rinse away blood after monthly periods
- Get rid of odor
- Avoid sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
- Prevent pregnancy
How common is douching?
Douching is common among women in the United States. It's estimated that 20
to 40 percent of American women 15 to 44 years old douche regularly. About half
of these women douche each week. Higher rates of douching are seen in teens,
African-American women, and Hispanic women.
Is douching safe?
Most doctors and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
(ACOG) recommend that women don't douche. Douching can change the delicate
balance of vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) and acidity in a
healthy vagina. One way to look at it is in a healthy vagina there are both good
and bad bacteria. The balance of the good and bad bacteria help maintain an
acidic environment. Any changes can cause an over growth of bad bacteria which
can lead to a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. Plus, if you have a
vaginal infection, douching can push the bacteria causing the infection up into
the uterus, fallopian (fuh-LOH-pee-uhn) tubes, and ovaries.
Viewers share their comments
Vaginal Douche (Douching) - Side Effects
Question: Have you experienced side effects from vaginal douching?