If you recall our blog on The Do’s and Don’ts of Cleaning Your Intimate Area, you might remember us mentioning something about douching. We warned women about the potential issues it may cause, but maybe you’d like to know the science behind douching…and why you should absolutely avoid it.
What is Douching?
Douching is the “washing” of the vagina by introducing water, or other fluids, to the inside of the vagina and flushing it out. Commonly bought as an over-the-counter solution, a douche provides a specialty mixture (it often includes water and vinegar, baking soda, citric acids, iodine or even fragrance!) in a bottle or bag that is then squirted inside the vagina. For a long time, people thought that was the best way to stay clean down there.
The Wonderful Self Cleaning Vagina
Now it is known and overwhelmingly agreed that douching doesn’t clean your vagina, but actually harms it.
The vagina is incredibly self sufficient, producing mucus that carries out anything harmful that’s not supposed to be in there. The vagina contains both good and bad bacteria, which thrive in the acidic pH.
This balancing act is perfectly crafted to allow your vagina to thrive with no intervention from you.
The Dangers of Douching
Douching throws off that balancing act: it harms the natural pH of the vagina, and flushes out the necessary good bacteria as well as the bad. This throws the vagina all out of whack, and creates all kinds of problems.
What you can expect from douching:
- Vaginal dryness, from flushing out natural mucus
- Bacterial vaginosis, caused from the flourishing of “bad” bacteria in the vagina and creating foul smelling discharge
- Yeast infections, which thrive in less acidic environments
- Increased risk of STIs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, pushing the infection further into the vagina
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can cause long term pelvic pain and issues with fertility, including:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Difficulties conceiving
- Increased potential for cervical and ovarian cancers
Despite these risks and the medical consensus against douching, many women still report douching regularly. It’s important to know the risks, as well as the science: your vagina does not need to be “cleaned” in this way, as it functions on its own to naturally do the job.
To clean your vagina, you can gently wash your vulva with warm water and a specially formulated wash, like our Nourish Intimate Cream Wash. Otherwise, let your body do what it does best!