Vaginal Douche (Douching) (cont.)

Should I douche to get rid of vaginal discharge, pain, itching, or burning?

No. You should never douche to try to get rid of vaginal odor, discharge, pain, itching, or burning. Douching will only cover up odor and make other problems worse. It's very important to call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad
  • Thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor
  • Burning, redness, and swelling in or around the vagina
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain or discomfort during sex
  • Significant bleeding other than menstrual

These may be signs of an infection, especially one that may be sexually transmitted. Do not douche before seeing your doctor. This can make it hard for the doctor to figure out what's wrong.

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

No. It's a myth that douching after sex can prevent STIs. The only sure way to prevent STIs is to not have sex. If you do have sex, the best way to prevent STIs is to use a condome and practice safer sex:

  • Be faithful. Have sex with only one partner who has been tested for STIs and is not infected.
  • Use latex or female condoms every time you have sex.
  • Avoid contact with semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and sores on your partner's genitals.

Can douching after sex stop me from getting pregnant?

No. Douching does not prevent pregnancy. It should never be used for birth control.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/19/2014

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