Myths and facts about vaginal douching
Vaginal douching, a common practice among various groups of females, refers to cleaning or irrigation of vaginal cavity with water and other solutions using specialty equipment. Most women consider douching as a hygienic practice to prevent vaginal infections and odor, but it certainly does more harm than good. Recent studies have suggested that vaginal douching can disturb the balance of vaginal flora and acid level of a healthy vagina increasing the risk of infections rather than reducing it.
Myths about vaginal douching
Most women adopt vaginal douching as a part of their personal hygiene because they have been misguided about it being a healthy practice, which is unfortunately a myth. Though douching is an age old practice, a majority of manufacturers market vaginal douches as a product of personal hygiene further aiding dubious beliefs. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advise women to forfend douching completely, exception being made only when advised by a doctor.
Women also resolve to vaginal douching to clean blood after a menstrual cycle, or to reduce the chances of pregnancy after a sexual intercourse; but doing so they pose themselves to an increased risk of infection. Moreover, researches reveal that douching reduces the chances of pregnancy by only 15-20%, it therefore should not be considered as a preventive measure against pregnancy.
Facts about vaginal douching
The natural vaginal flora has a balance of bacteria, which help in fighting infection caused by foreign invaders. Lactobacilli, a genus of friendly bacteria found in vaginal flora, produces hydrogen peroxide which fights harmful pathogens which cause infections. Douching can increase the risk to a variety of health problems by draining helpful bacteria including Bacterial vaginosis, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), and vaginal infection such as yeast infection. Douching can also increase the risk of cervical cancer as it causes imbalance in the vaginal acidic level, making the vaginal walls and cervix vulnerable to infections.
Health care practitioners around the world are guiding women to avoid vaginal douching completely, especially during pregnancy as it is also associated with low birth weight and preterm labor. Vagina has a natural process of cleaning itself by creating mucus, which washes away vaginal discharge, blood and semen. Therefore, vaginal douching has absolutely no use in maintaining hygiene.