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To Douche or Not to Douche? That is the Question

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
 
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wondering whether or not to douche?
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Douching is washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other fluid mixtures such as water and vinegar, baking soda, iodine or some type of fragrance. The bottled mixtures are then squirted into the vagina through a tube or nozzle.

According to WebMD, an estimated 20-40 percent of American women age 15 to 44 douche regularly, with about half douching each week.

Women say they douche because they believe it cleans the vagina, rinses away menstrual blood, gets rid of odor, avoids sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and prevents pregnancy.

However medical experts say that’s not true!

In reality, the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. The cervix and vaginal walls create a small amount of mucus that carries menstrual blood, old cells and other matter out of the vagina.

Here’s the problem:

Douching can alter the delicate balance of vaginal flora and acidity. A healthy vagina has both good and bad bacteria. A balance of these two helps maintain an acidic environment, which is good.

Any changes can cause increased bad bacteria which can lead to an infection or bacterial vaginosis. And with a vaginal infection, douching can actually push the bacteria, meaning the infection goes up into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Health problems linked to douching not only include bacterial vaginosis, but sexual transmitted diseases (STDs), pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and negative consequences with pregnancy.

First, vaginal douching is not an effective means of contraception. Second, douching after sex does not prevent nor protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

In fact, using a vaginal douche as a means of contraception or to prevent STDs may have the opposite effect. It may actually increase the risk of pregnancy, getting an STD or other vaginal infection, as mentioned before, by pushing bacteria further up into the reproductive tract.

Douching may also affect the chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Limited research shows that douching may make it harder to get pregnant, wrote MedicineNet.com. In women trying to get pregnant, those who douched more than once a week took the longest to conceive.

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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.

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