The word "Douche" simply means to wash or soak; it has a French origin and it is a method used to wash the vagina. Often times, ladies take extra care to wash their vagina with soap and water being ignorant of the fact that they are douching. Some even go to the extent of using a mixture of water and vinegar. Vagina douches sold in drugstores and supermarkets contain antiseptics and fragrances.
Myths about douching: Many women often provide the following reasons for douching which are not true; they include:
- to get rid of unpleasant odors in the vagina
- to prevent pregnancy
- to wash away bodily fluids, such as menstrual blood or semen
- to reduce the chances of contracting a sexually transmitted infection
Healthy ways to clean the vagina
The vagina produces mucus, which acts as a natural cleansing agent to wash away blood, semen, and vaginal discharge. Washing the outside of the vagina with water with regular bathing is sufficient for good hygiene.
Health Reasons you should quit douching:
- Vaginal Infections (bacterial vaginosis): Douching upsets the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina (called vaginal flora). These changes make the environment more favorable for the growth of bacteria that cause infection. Studies have found that women who stopped douching were less likely to have bacterial vaginosis. Having bacterial vaginosis can increase the risk of preterm labor and sexually transmitted infections.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID): PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. Research has found that women who douche may have a higher risk of getting PID.
- Pregnancy Complications: Women who douche more than once a week have more difficulty getting pregnant than those who don't douche. Douching may also increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (when a pregnancy grows outside of your uterus, usually in your fallopian tube); with an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants outside the uterus. The more a woman douches, the greater the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy.
- Cervical Cancer: Douching at least once a week has been linked to a possible increased chance of developing cervical cancer.