Vaginal Douching – A Popular Trojan Horse
So here I was, minding my own business, when I ran into, stumbled upon, and came across a regrettable article chastising women who do not wash their vaginas as regularly as they have their baths.
It is a method to wash out the vagina, usually with a mixture of water and vinegar… I will not go into the ridiculous explanations given to justify women subjecting themselves to the centuries – old practice of douching. However, I have to confess that it did seem like a rave among members of a secret women – only group known as FIN.
You may ask, what is douching? The word “douch” is French for ”wash” or ”soak.” It is a method to wash out the vagina, usually with a mixture of water and vinegar, according to WebMD. I have heard with one ear that other than a certain popular product marketed as vagina – tolerant, there are dozens of others which may indeed pose real dangers to a woman’s health.
The benefits of cleaning down there cannot be overemphasised, claims proponents of vaginal douching. Among others, it helps remove unwanted odors from discharge and sweating, period blood, bla bla bla.
But permit me to disagree most emphatically and vehemently.
Overall, the risks posed by tampering with the holy grail far outweigh any benefits you might think of. In fact, some investigators have hinted that social science theories may help explain douching behaviour amid the well documented dangers.
In a prospective study, Hawes et al enrolled women from STD clinics and found that women who douched for hygiene had a 2.1‐fold increased risk of acquisition of bacterial vaginosis. Several other cross sectional analyses have generally confirmed this finding. Douching has been linked to bacterial vaginosis independent of other confounding factors in pregnant US women nonpregnant US women and in non‐pregnant female sex workers in Nairobi, Kenya. There was a trend toward an association between douching and bacterial vaginosis among adolescent women in 13 US cities. In the study from Nairobi, the use of homemade soap and water douches (almost all women used homemade solutions) elevated the risk of bacterial vaginosis. Overall, the risks posed by tampering with the holy grail far outweigh any benefits you might think of.
A study of over 1200 women at high risk for acquiring sexually transmitted infections, douching, particularly recent douching, was associated with bacterial vaginosis, lack of H2O2 + lactobacilli, and presence of bacterial vaginosis ‐ associated anaerobes and facultative aerobes. Because bacterial vaginosis has been linked to acquisition of HIV, preterm birth, and PID, these data add to growing concerns about the adverse health effects from douching.
Among a predominantly black group of women with clinical PID, frequent and recent douching was associated with endometritis and upper genital tract infection. The researchers concluded that “Women with endometritis or upper genital tract infection were more likely to have douched more than once a month or within 6 days of enrollment than women who never douched. These associations remained after adjustment for confounding factors, after analysis of black women only; and among women with normal or intermediate vaginal flora but not bacterial vaginosis.
According to health experts, including those at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you should avoid douching. Having some vaginal odor is normal. However, if you notice a very strong odor, it could be a sign of infection. Some studies have also hypothesised a link between douching, cervical cancer and ectopic cancer. According to health experts, including those at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), you should avoid douching. Having some vaginal odor is normal. However, if you notice a very strong odor, it could be a sign of infection. The acidity of the vagina will naturally control bacteria, and simply washing the vulval area with warm water and mild soap is enough to keep clean.
Finally, In my opinion, the lesson is a simple one. Mind what you put in there!