Douching is one of the most controversial practices when it comes to feminine hygiene. Seriously, many women consider it a taboo subject to even bring up. But the truth is, there are still so many concerns and questions that come up with the topic of douching, so we think it’s time we talk about this practice. So what’s the verdict? Is it worth it? Does it do anything? What even is douching? Here’s a rundown on what douching is and whether it actually helps with your hygiene down there.
What Is Douching?
Vaginal douching is washing the vagina with water and soap or another mix of fluids, such as water and vinegar. There are even specific douching products that are antiseptic or scented, promising women that their vaginas will have a very pleasant scent with use.
Research shows that one in five women douches. It’s very common in teenage girls but is also still being done by women even in to menopause and beyond. Douching itself is done by putting your mixture into a bag or bottle and squirting it upwards into the vagina. The fluids then come out of the vagina, supposedly cleaning it out along the way.
Douching doesn’t particularly sound like something any woman would want to do in their spare time, so why do it? Many women choose to douche because they believe it can help with:
- Unpleasant odors
- Washing out blood after a menstrual cycle
- Preventing sexually-transmitted diseases
- Preventing pregnancy
A Doctor’s Verdict
The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology has actually warned women of the problems with douching and the effect this simple act can cause with your vagina. People might think that douching is cleaning their vagina, but it actually causes problems.
Here are some of the problems that this practice may wreak on your vagina — and you!
- Douching can disrupt the vagina’s natural pH balance. When you clean out the vagina, you could be removing or reducing the number of good bacteria in the vagina, leaving it more susceptible to harmful infectious bacteria.
- Douching may also be connected to pregnancy complications, such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Douching can actually increase the chance of a woman getting pelvic inflammatory disease by 73 percent, which could also lead to fertility issues later.
- It may also lead to the development of cervicitis, which is inflammation of the cervix.
It seems to us that douching may have the opposite effect many women desire. The idea of putting chemical scents or abrasive liquids (like vinegar) could affect your vagina’s pH balance and actually make you more vulnerable to infections. And not just sexual ones, but a yeast infection as well.
What Can You Do Instead Of Douching?
Well, it seems like the verdict on douching is a big thumbs down. It’s good to understand what douching is and what it does to your vaginal health. But now, the other important question is, what can you do if you don’t feel so fresh down there?
Here’s What You Should Know…
It’s important to note that the vagina is self-cleaning. Yep, things like menstrual blood and discharge make their way out of your vagina on their own. If you feel like you have a strong odor coming from your vaginal area, then it’s time to make an appointment with your doctor. Sometimes a strong smell means you have an infection, and you’ll want to nip that in the bud as soon as possible. It’s also important to know that the vagina does have a mild odor, but it’s usually nothing worth worrying about.
Here’s What You Can Do…
If you are in the shower and you want to clean your vagina, doctors recommend mainly splashing warm water on it. You can use a very mild soap on the outside if you absolutely must or want to. Make sure to avoid heavily scented pads, tampons, or sprays near the vagina, as that can make you prone to infections. So, skip douching and be confident in your vagina’s ability to take care of itself.
Luckily, there are now products specifically tailored with the vagina in mind so that you can have a refresh, and your vagina can stay happy too! For example, Lily Bird wipes are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and gynecologist-approved, so you can refresh with confidence!
We all want to be confident women, and one thing that can impact our confidence is how we smell down there. These days, you’ll hear about women doing many different things for the sake of helping their vagina, but help isn’t exactly what’s happening in most cases. Just because someone you know has been douching for years doesn’t mean you should do it too!
As you’ve learned today, douching actually does more harm than good. So, skip the douching to avoid throwing your vagina into a funk.
Keep your little lady downstairs happy and healthy by skipping the douche and using something vagina-friendly instead such as Lily Bird’s pH balanced & hypoallergenic cleansing cloth wipes. Your best gal pal will certainly thank you.
By Jessica Thomas, MPH