The 1960s gave us micro miniskirts, psychedelic drugs, tie-dye and the term “Douchebag.” Up until then, douche was a verb – a thing women did to cleanse their lady parts after their period.
Twenty to 40 percent of women in the U.S. still douche, while the majority of us use the word as an insult. So, should we stop dissing idiots and return to cleaning our interior? In a word: nope.
First of all, sometimes you need a really appropriate insult. And, when you think about what comes along with a douche, is there a better one?
Also, most doctors say your body will take care of its self. Douching, on the other hand, can make it harder for you to get pregnant, increased vaginal infections and sexually transmitted infections. Problems arise because douching can change your delicate balance of bacteria and acidity, both of which are normal and necessary.
Let’s back up just a second for an important announcement:
That reference to making it harder to get preggers DOES NOT MEAN that douching is birth control. It is NOT. At all.
Not sure what douching is? It is, literally, washing out the inside of your vagina, using a bottle or bag that contains a mixture of water and vinegar or baking soda or even iodine. The bottle comes with a nozzle that you insert into your vagina, then push the fluid into your vagina. It flows right back out, so if you’re going to douche, do it in the shower or the tub.
Within any healthy vagina, there’s a mix of good and harmful bacteria. The balance of bacteria helps maintain the acidic environment your body needs The acidic environment protects the vagina from infections or irritation.
So, pushing a bunch of fluid up there can upset your balance. And that means you can get a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. If you already have an infection, pushing those fluids can shoot the infection into your uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries. That can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. Women who douche weekly are five times more likely to get bacterial vaginosis.
So why in the world are that 20-40 percent still doing it? Often, it’s because they want “that fresh feeling” or they’re worried about odor. But here’s the thing. If you have:
- A smelly discharge;
- Itching and thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor;
- Burning, redness, and swelling in or around the vagina;
- Pain when urinating; or
- Pain or discomfort during sex,
your vagina is pleading with you to get to a doctor. Don’t douche. It could make your issue worse. Get to a doctor.
Want a squeaky, clean vagina? Use warm water when you bathe and mild soap if you want soap. Don’t use scented tampons, pads, powders or sprays. Like douching, those products just increase your chances of getting a vaginal infection.
When it comes down to it, the vagina is not unlike your oven. It comes with a self-cleaner. Why mess with that?