Indoctrinated. Female products, everywhere. Not all are bad. In fact, many are useful. What about vaginal douche products? Is vaginal douching this important? After all, since you were kid, you’ve been exposed to vaginal douche products at your local drugstores and grocery markets. The sheer volume of products must mean vaginal douching is important – or at least has some value or contributes something positive to female hygiene. Right?
Only if a doctor views it as a treatment, in which she or he will give you specific instructions about what product to use, how frequently, and for how long. Even then, ladies, you should ask your doctor why he’s recommending douching and if there is another alternative.
Here are a few facts about douching:
1. A “bad” vaginal odor can be covered up by douching, but the cause of the bad odor has not been addressed; thus, this is only a temporary solution to a potentially serious problem – maybe a bacterial infection, urinary tract infection, yeast infection, or an STD. A foul odor originating from your vagina is your body’s way of saying, “Pay attention to me! Something isn’t right. Go to the doctor!” – unless you refuse to wash your vagina on a regular basis, which is remedied by – well, taking a warm shower and using paraben-free and glycerin-free soap. Contrary to what myths people spread about vaginal odor, even the healthiest vaginal environment has its own unique odor.
2. Your vagina has its own natural cleansing system that produces mucous to flush out blood, semen, and vaginal discharge. After douching, women wash away important vaginal flora that helps regulate the acidity levels. As this acidity level increases or decreases, straying from the natural balance maintained by vaginal flora, bacteria levels increase – which leads to infections and other female problems. More harm than good, and only for temporary fixes.
3. Ladies: Douching does not prevent the transmission of STDs. This is a myth, if believed factual, that leads to serious consequences. There are many women who believe they can wash away the potential danger of last night’s sexual intercourse. No, no, no. Abstinence is the only 100% effective way to prevent STDs. Condoms, of course, are the next best method. Safer sex, which doesn’t include douching. Some studies are being conducted to see if douching might actually make it easier to get an STD, as the vagina’s natural acidity level is compromised – which makes it more difficult for the vagina to fight off infections. Could it be that short-term or long-term douching leads to an even greater risk of catching STDs? Stay tuned for more information on this issue. We’ll let you know when more information is available.
4. Pregnancy. No, douching does not prevent pregnancy. Again, abstinence or safer sex is the way to go. Though some studies suggest that regular douching does effect the time-frame in which a women gets pregnant (usually takes longer than women who do not douche), douching should never be used as a birth control method. Ectopic pregnancies, also, have been linked to women who douche on a regular basis. No way, no how – Not gonna happen. The potential risks are far greater than the reward. (I am still trying to figure out what those rewards are – beyond the obvious “odor cover up.”)
If you notice these things, you should visit a doctor and stay away from douching:
1. Bad odor
2. Thick white-yellowish and/or green discharge
3. Burning, redness, stinging, or vaginal swelling (external/internal)
4. Uncomfortable or painful when urinating or during intercourse
Many women have been led to believe that the above symptoms are justifiable reasons to douche. That’s backward thinking. You want to address the causes of the above symptoms, not merely cover them up, which requires that you visit a doctor for examination, to see if these symptoms are caused by serious problems.
In our commercialized culture, these “quick fixes” seem to be legitimate solutions to common and uncommon problems. More sex education is required to combat the many myths associated with douching, specifically as it relates to birth control and STDs.
I used to douche. Yep. I started out douching in high school. I wanted to be “fresh” for my boyfriend. Not that he pressured me or anything. He probably didn’t even know what a douche was or why I would do it. I didn’t really know why I did it. Part of it, I believe, had something to do with my perception of womanhood, or what it meant to have finally “arrived” as a sexually active female – that douching is what you did, as if sex and douching went together like peanut butter and jelly. You have sex, you douche, and then have sex again.
I didn’t believe it prevented STDs or pregnancy, but I did believe douching was a female’s responsibility to her man and herself. To keep a clean, clean vagina – that was the goal. After douching off and on for several years, my vagina started itching. My solution: Douche more. Finally, I went to the doctor and found out, to my surprise, that douching can lead to yeast infections, which is exactly what I had. It took me a long time to get my vagina back to its natural acidity level, and there’s no way in hell, maybe even if a doctor recommends it, that I’ll douche again. I’ve gone through a similar phase with water lubes that contain irritating formulas, mostly those lubes that contain fragrances. I’ll discuss water lubes in more detail later this week.
If you’d like to read more about vaginal douching and safer sex, please visit these links: