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Douching: Do or Don’t?

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There are many products on the market for personal hygiene, everything from different soaps and deodorants to sprays. It’s good to be clean, but when it comes to feminine hygiene, how can we ensure we are doing what’s necessary and safe?

Cleaning the outside of the private area has an easy solution -- mild soap and water. It’s different when referring to the inside of the private area or the vagina. Many women have been taught that regular douching is necessary. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) does not agree.

Womenshealth.gov reported that most doctors find that douching disturbs the normal acidity of a healthy vagina. Therefore, most doctors recommend that women avoid douching altogether.

What if a woman douches on a regular basis? What would happen? A number of problems could arise from vaginal irritation, bacterial vaginosis (BV), STIs and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It is important to note that STIs, BV and PID may cause complications when pregnant. Womenshealth.gov listed such complications as infection in the baby, difficulty in labor and even an early delivery.

So what is the best way to clean the vagina? The medical stance is to let the vagina clean itself. A mucous which is produced naturally in this area is responsible for internal washing. And don’t worry -- even healthy, clean vaginas may have a mild odor. But if you are experiencing a strong odor, itching, vaginal discharge and/or pain with urination, the best advice is to see your doctor -- not douche.

What regular douching can’t do:

Clean the vagina
Prevent STIs
Stop you from getting pregnant

What regular douching can/may do:

May affect chances of having a healthy pregnancy
May make it harder for you to get pregnant
May damage the fallopian tubes
May increase chances of ectopic pregnancy
May cause vaginal irritation, BV, STIs and PID

So when is it ever a good time to douche?

Only when your doctor advises you to.


Vaginal Douching: Evidence for Risks or Benefits to Women’s Health. National Center for Biotechnology Information.Web. 28 November 2011.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.