Douching - The Big NO NO Of Vaginal Care
The word ‘douche’ is French for ‘washing’ or ‘soaking’. When discussing the vagina, it refers to the practice of washing one’s vagina with usually a combination of water and vinegar. Pre-packaged douching liquids are often available in the markets, which usually contain salts like baking soda and iodine. Done by women all over the world, it is shrouded in myth pertaining to maintaining purity in vagina owners. And as it happens, most of the myths surrounding the issue are highly dangerous to one’s vaginal health. Here’s a look into the harmful practice of douching – why people do it and the many reasons why one shouldn’t.
Why do people do it?
Many vagina owners claim that the process of douching allowed them to get rid of their vagina’s odor. Some also believe that doing so helps keep their vagina clean. Other reasons as to why vagina owners engage in douching inlcludes washing away blood after menstruation or semen after penetrative sex. They also believe that engaging in the process of douching helps in preventing pregnancies and contracting sexually transmitted diseases. However, none of these hold true. According to many gynecologists, douching helps in none of these cases, instead, douching has multiple negative effects on the health of those who decide to engage in it.
Douching is NOT SAFE and the doctors say so.
Contrary to popular belief, douching is an extremely harmful process for vagina owners with no benefits whatsoever. The bacteria present in the vagina – called vaginal flora – is essential to keep the vagina healthy and prevent infections. The vagina is a self cleaning body part, it maintains its own pH balance without external interference. However, douching interferes and modifies this balanced pH, which in turn allows bacteria to multiply, leading to infections. It causes raw skin, irritation and enables many more complications to manifest.
Risks involved in douching
Douching is often considered a viable contraceptive, which it isn’t. However, douching can make getting pregnant quite difficult. Women who use douches on a regular basis face many complications during their pregnancies such as an early childbirth, increased chances for a miscarriage and an ectopic pregnancy.
Many believe that douching leads to prevention of infections. However, only the opposite is true. Douching regularly disrupts the vagina’s natural pH balance and leads to increased likelihood of getting yeast infections and vaginosis. Infact, women who use douches are five times more at risk of developing vaginosis. Furthermore, douching when an infection is already increases the chances of it spreading to other parts of the reproductive system.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is usually caused by STDs and can affect the chances of getting pregnant. People who douce regularly are at 73% higher risk of contracting PID.
Cervicitis refers to the cervix becoming irritated or inflamed, and it can cause itching, pain, and vaginal discharge. It is another condition that is usually contracted via a sexually transmitted infection and douching only increases the risk.
If not douching, what is the way?
As mentioned before, douching does more harm than good. It is also extremely unnecessary as the vagina is a self cleaning body part that doesn’t require interference. Keeping it clean is simple. Washing with warm water is more than enough to maintain hygiene. A wash designed for the vagina is also suitable as they don’t disturb the natural pH balance of the area. One shouldn’t scrub the area harshly and try not getting soap or wash in the vagina. When using a wash, one must thoroughly rinse and pat dry with a towel.
The Bane - Vaginal Odor
One of the common reasons as to why vagina owners choose to douche is getting rid of unpleasant vaginal odor. Every womxn’s vaginal odor is different and is affected by activities like sex and exercise.
Some ways to reduce vaginal odor safely include:
- Hygiene: Keeping the vagina clean by washing regularly with mild washes.
- Clothing: Although seemingly irrelevant, unbreathable fabrics like satin, silk and polyester constrain airflow and enable bacteria to grow rapidly. Wearing breathable fabrics like cotton allows for sufficient air flow.
- Drying: It is imperative to dry the vagina and its surrounding areas carefully to avoid build up of excess moisture which can lead to infections and odor.
There are many ways to keep the vagina hygienic, clean and prevent unpleasant odors. However, douching isn’t one of them. It is one of the most harmful activities one can carry out and exists due to high levels of misinformation.
Cover Illustration: Healthline