Is Vaginal Douching Helpful or Harmful?

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In women, cleanliness of genital organs helps to keep the risk of vaginal infections at bay. Most of the women don’t even pay attention to it and those who do go for readymade solutions as they are easy and convenient. Among these products, douches are most common and used by majority of women. A douche is a product that contains antiseptics. It is often packed in a bottle that is sprayed into the vagina. Vaginal douching is the process of cleaning vagina with an antiseptic solution. Douching is used for personal hygiene, to cleanse vagina after menstruation or intercourse and for preventing or treating genital infections.

There have been conflicting arguments whether douching is helpful or harmful. The benefits of vaginal douching many times are suppressed by its disadvantages. So let’s dig deeper into the advantages and disadvantages of Douching:

Advantages                                                              

Women have numerous reasons to douche. The most common reason is to clean the vagina and decrease odor from the discharge or from the menstruation's blood. Douches contain artificial fragrances that help to remove smell from the genital parts.

It is true that studies conducted claim that vaginal douching is not much advantageous. A study found that douching during the six months before pregnancy reduced the risk of preterm delivery.

Disadvantages

Vaginal Infections

Not all bacteria are bad. There are some good bacteria present in the vagina that help to prevent the vaginal infections.  Douching upsets the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina and kills all the bacteria including good ones. This encourages the growth of bacteria that cause infection. Moreover, these products contain antiseptics, preservatives and fragrances which can irritate the lining of the vagina allowing microbes to enter and replicate resulting in inflammation.

Pregnancy Complications

Difficulty in Getting Pregnant: Women who douche regularly face the difficulty in getting pregnant than those women who do not douche.

Increased Risk of Ectopic Pregnancy: Douching may damage the fallopian tubes. It increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy by as much as 76%. In an ectopic pregnancy, the embryo implants outside the uterus.

Early Childbirth: Douching increases the risk of premature birth. A study found that women who douche during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from pre-mature delivery. This raises the risk for health problems for both mother and a baby.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of the reproductive organs of women. This includes uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. Research shows that women who douche may have a higher risk of getting PID.

Douching Linked with Cervical Cancer

The research isn’t quite solidified yet, but there is a correlation between cervical cancer and douching, experts say. Douching even at least once a week has been linked to a possible increased risk of developing cervical cancer.

Misconceptions with Douching

Urinary tract infections are common in women and some women think that douching will help to prevent them, but medical research has shown that this is not true. Moreover, women also feel that douching will help prevent a sexually transmitted infection (STDs) which is completely wrong. 

The other biggest misconception is that douching can prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex. Although it will wash away the semen in the vaginal canal, it won’t stop the sperm that have already attached to the uterus. Therefore, douching can never cure unwanted pregnancies.

Dear ladies, if you are reading the article, you must be thinking 'if douching is that harmful for sexual health, then what should you do to keep genital parts clean and infection free."  If this is bothering you, then I have some quick solutions that can replace those unhealthy douches.

Vaginal Cleansing is an Automatic Process:

Let your vagina clean itself. This occurs naturally when it produces mucous. The mucous washes away blood, vaginal discharge and semen. 

Use Warm Water and Mild Soap

Keep your vagina clean and healthy by washing regularly with warm water and mild soap when you take bath. Strictly avoid using scented tampons, powders, sprays and sanitary pads. These products contain chemicals that can cause reaction and increase your chances of getting a vaginal irritation and infection.

Change your Undergarments Regularly

Changing under wear everyday reduces the risk of vaginal infections as much as 60%. You can use an antiseptic solution for washing the panties. Wear cotton underwear. They might not be tempting enough but they prevent infection by keeping the genitals dry. Cotton absorbs the sweat from the skin and prevents offensive odor.

Say Yes to Hair Trimmer

Sweat and urine get trapped in the hair and give out an offensive smell. So, maintain hygiene by keeping the pubic hair trimmed at all times.

Be Faithful and Use Condoms to Avoid Sexually Transmitted Infections

Have sex with only one partner who has been tested for sexually transmitted infections (SITs) and is not infected. If you do sex, the best way to prevent STIs is to use a condom and practice safer sex.

Thus, evidence clearly dictates that douching is completely unnecessary. Women make themselves more vulnerable to several complications rather than obtaining any benefits by using douches. Gynecologists suggest finding and practicing natural remedies to keep your genital parts clean and fresh.

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