Feminine hygiene is an important topic, however, sadly, not discussed enough. Due to this, women keep carrying on the practices that they hear from their mothers, grandmothers, friends, not verifying the information on their own.
One such practice that is not helpful for the health of the female reproductive health is douching.
What Is Douching?
Douche originates from the French word and means cleaning or soaking. This mainly entails cleaning the inside of the vagina with water, vinegar, baking soda or some other prepackaged cleaning fluid. It should not be confused with washing the vulva, or the outside of the vagina.
Douching involves squirting the fluid inside of the vagina using a tube or nozzle, and the mixture then exits through the vagina, all thanks to gravity. Many women partake in this activity to feel clean, not realizing, that this act is a harbinger of vaginal problems, that then have you running for the Gynecologist in Doctors Hospital.
However, some women also douche as means of preventing pregnancy. Newsflash, it does not work. There are many contraceptive options available, and douche is not one of them.
Similarly, women think that douching helps in preventing sexually transmitted infection. Unfortunately, that’s also not true. The only way to prevent STIs is by using condom during sex.
Moreover, a lot of the clean by douching to prevent vaginal odor, or to clean the vagina after sex or periods. However, vagina is a self-cleaning organ, and does not require cleaning to begin with.
The Issues With Douching
Alongside not achieving any of its purpose, douching also leads to further problems inside of the body. Following are some of the problems that can occur due to douching:
Bacterial Vaginosis (Bv)
Vaginal infections, also known as Bacterial Vaginosis, occurs when the balance of the vaginal bacteria, or the flora, is upset. Douching contributes towards the change in the vaginal floral, making conditions that encourage the growth of the bacteria. Women who douche even at least once a week are five times more likely to suffer from BV.
Consequently, vaginal infection ensues, that then causes discomfort and pain. Moreover, bacterial vaginosis also increases the risk of preterm labor and sexually transmitted infections.
According to research, douching at least once a week can lead to increased chances of cervical cancer.
Cervicitis is inflammation of the cervix. Women who douche have greater risk of having cervicitis.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is the infection of the reproductive organs, including, uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Douching increases the risk of PID by a whopping 73%. Alongside being a grave issue on its own, PID also makes it difficult for women to get pregnant.
Problems With Pregnancy
Amongst the more alarming impacts of seemingly innocuous act like douching are problems with pregnancy. Douching increases the risk of early childbirth, miscarriage, amongst other problems.
Moreover, douching also leads to issues with conceiving a baby. It is one of the major causes of secondary infertility. It also can potentially contribute towards ectopic pregnancy, in which embryo implants itself outside of the uterus; it increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy by 76%.
Vagina also increases the chances or vaginal dryness and irritation.
How To Clean The Vagina Then?
Douching is a big no. Considering the stakes, you absolutely should not take a risk with it. Vagina cleans itself, itself. It produces mucous, that helps wash out any semen, blood, vaginal discharge.
However, if you are bent on washing your vagina, you should use water, or a very mild soap. Even then, do not scrub at the folds, but rather, gently splash the area with water and not use any soap inside of the vagina.
It is okay for there to be certain musky smell surrounding the vagina, however, if you are bothered by the smell, rather than douching, you should consult your Gynecologist in Hashmanis hospital.