Should We Use Douching To Clean Our Vaginas?
We might think that our vaginas need some cleaning and one way to actually do it is through vaginal douching. A douche is a device used to spray water into the body or the vagina to ensure vaginal irrigation or rinsing. It was a much-lauded method in the early times however, with increased risk of infections and such, there have been concerns surrounding the same. Let’s find out should you do it or not?
How Does Vaginal Douching Work?
To carry out a vaginal douche, one simply needs to spray a mixture of water and some other ingredients like antiseptics or fragrances. This mixture when squirted inside the vagina can significantly help in washing it out from the inside. Most women have reported that the reason they try douching is that they believe that the method can help them eliminate unpleasant odors, prevent pregnancy, wash away leftover menstrual blood, and avoid STIs.
Is It Safe?
In spite of what most of them are led to believe, douching does not take care of any of these issues. Our vagina is designed naturally to keep a healthy pH balance and it is filled with bacteria or vaginal flora that helps stop the infection and prevent irritations.
Thus, if you remove or try to reduce the number of healthy bacteria in your vagina, problematic bacteria may flourish. That can lead to infections, irritations, and more serious complications. Here are some of the complications one could end up dealing with if you upset the natural pH state of your vagina.
- Issues With Pregnancy:
It is found that women who douche frequently have more pregnancy-related issues like ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, early childbirth, etc. Additionally, it can cause a problem for women trying to get pregnant. Some women also believe that douching can be used in the exchange for birth control or contraception to wash out the sperm after sex, however, the method has shown no positive results in eliminating the sperm or any residual STI.
Women douche in hopes of getting rid of the bad bacteria or odor that can surround our vagina. However, many vaginal infections like yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis can be the result of douching regularly. It is mainly because the healthy bacteria in your body are getting flushed out from the system causing yeast or other bad bacteria to grow easily. Thus, eliminating the natural vaginal flora can cause the opposite effect of what you were hoping for.
- Pelvic Diseases:
Diseases like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or Cervicitis are common effects of douching. PID is the result of sexually transmitted bacteria traveling to your vaginal organs like the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Douching can much like push this bacteria into the uterus causing this pelvic infection. Frequent exposure to irritants or chemicals via douching can also cause cervicitis or the inflammation of the cervix.
Therefore, a natural vaginal odor with some unpleasant smell and discharge is normal. Although, if you are douching and notice any of these symptoms, you need to consult a doctor or a gynecologist.
- Vaginal discharge that is persistent for a few days with a strong, pungent smell or having a yellow-green color.
- Burning, itchiness, redness around your vagina
- Pain while urination, having intercourse, or trying to push a tampon in your vagina.
These symptoms can be the sign of a vaginal infection or disease and it is best to get yourself checked in time.
How To Take Care Of Your Vagina Without Douching?
There are many more practices that can ensure a cleaner vagina without spraying a jet of water directly into it. Having overall healthy vaginal and menstrual hygiene can help make this process easier. Here are some tips to ensure that:
- Washing Your Vagina Correctly:
If you want to wash your vagina, do it gently ensuring that you are not using a harsh jet of water or any other mixture in the process. Quite simply, make a “V” with the first two fingers of your hand and hole the folds of your vagina apart, then splash some water using your other hand over your vagina and get it cleaned. Don’t use heavily scented soaps or other scrubs while doing so. After this process, pat dry your vagina and don’t rub around the area.
- Practice Proper Hygiene:
Maintaining proper hygiene like washing your underpants daily, cleaning your vagina regularly and gently, and avoiding soaps or scrubs with harsh fragrances or irritants can help you keep your vagina clean. Furthermore, having healthy menstrual hygiene like changing your tampon or pad every 8 hours and cleaning your vagina between the change can also prevent infections.
- Wear Breathable Fabrics:
One of the best ways to ensure your vagina remains clean and healthy is to allow it some area to breathe. Wear underwear made of cotton since it absorbs sweat easily and avoid satin, silk, or polyester fabric that may boost bacterial growth by not allowing adequate airflow.
It is easy to remember that your vagina is self-cleansing. You do not need any kind of artificial way to remove bacteria from your vagina and definitely not a harsh jet of water. So, if you are experiencing unusual odors or discharge around your vagina, don’t take matters into your own hands and do douching, just consult a doctor. They are the best person to guide you in these matters and can prevent a foreseeable infection.