Why are there still so many douching products still on the market? I thought douching was bad for women.
Despite the advice doctors have been giving for years now, many women continue to douche and purchase vaginal douching products. In fact, the US Department of Health & Human Services reports that nearly one in five women between the ages of 15 and 44 douches. Douching involves flushing the vagina with fluid—typically vinegar and water, plus other additives like baking soda, iodine, fragrance or even antiseptic with store-bought douches. Reasons why women douche: To achieve a “clean” feeling…to eliminate odor…soothe itching…wash away menstrual blood after a period…wash away semen after sex…and avoid a sexually transmitted disease. But doctors don’t advise douching for any of these reasons. Why douching is not healthy: The vagina is naturally acidic and, just like the intestinal tract, is host to billions of beneficial bacteria that help fight off infection and keep the vagina healthy. If you douche, the healthy bacteria in the vagina are disturbed and harmful bacteria can take over. What’s more, store-bought douches are usually alkaline and, as mentioned above, can contain fragrance and other additives that can negatively affect the healthy bacteria in the vagina. Bottom line: Douching can lead to more yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis (bacterial overgrowth)…pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection of the reproductive organs…cervicitis (inflammation of the cervix)…increased risk for sexually transmitted diseases…and pregnancy complications. Other reasons not to douche: Symptoms for which women would commonly douche, such as unusual vaginal odor or discharge, itching or irritation and discomfort during sex, need to be evaluated by a gynecologist instead of being self-treated and possibly masked by douching. Also, douching before an appointment with your doctor will make it more difficult for him/her to provide a correct diagnosis and may make an infection worse or spread it to other areas.