Vaginal Douche (Douching)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Can douching after sex prevent pregnancy?

No, douching after sex does not prevent pregnancy and should never be used as a method of birth control.

Can douching after sex prevent sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs)?

Douching after sex or at any time has no effect in preventing STDs.

Can douching affect fertility or pregnancy?

Some studies have shown that women who douche regularly take longer to become pregnant when trying to conceive than women who do not douche. Other research has shown that douching may damage the Fallopian tubes and lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).

In pregnant women, douching was shown in one study to increase the risk of preterm birth by a factor of 1.9.

REFERENCE: Pray, S. W., et al. "Douching: perceived benefits but real hazards." Medscape.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/17/2016
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