Douching Side Effects: Is Douching Good or Bad?

Douching side effects continued…

Should I douche to clean inside my vagina?
No. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists suggests women avoid douching completely. In most cases the vagina’s acidic environment “cleans” the vagina. If there is a strong odor or irritation it usually means something is wrong. Douching can increase your chances of infection. The only time you should douche is when your doctor tells you to.

What is the best way to clean my vagina?
Most doctors say it’s best to let your vagina clean itself. The vagina cleans itself naturally by making mucous. The mucous washes away blood, semen, and vaginal discharge. You should know that even healthy, clean vaginas may have a mild odor.

Keep the outside of your vagina clean and healthy by washing regularly with warm water and mild soap when you bathe. You should also avoid scented tampons, pads, powders, and sprays. These products may increase your chances of getting a vaginal infection.

Should I douche to get rid of vaginal odor, discharge, pain, itching, or burning?
No. You should never douche to try to get rid of vaginal odor, discharge, pain, itching, or burning. Douching will only cover up odor and make other problems worse. It’s very important to call your doctor right away if you have:

  • Vaginal discharge that smells bad
  • Thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor
  • Burning, redness, and swelling in or around the vagina
  • Pain when urinating
  • Pain or discomfort during sex

These may be signs of an infection, especially one that may be sexually transmitted. Do not douche before seeing your doctor. This can make it hard for the doctor to figure out what’s wrong.

Can douching after sex prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?
No. It’s a myth that douching after sex can prevent STIs. The only sure way to prevent STIs is to not have sex. If you do have sex, the best way to prevent STIs is to practice safer sex:

  • Be faithful. Have sex with only one partner who has been tested for STIs and is not infected.
  • Use latex or female condoms every time you have sex.
  • Avoid contact with semen, blood, vaginal fluids, and sores on your partner’s genitals.

Can douching after sex stop me from getting pregnant?
No. Douching does not prevent pregnancy. It should never be used for birth control.

Can douching hurt my chances of having a healthy pregnancy?
Douching may affect your chances of having a healthy pregnancy. Limited research shows that douching may make it harder for you to get pregnant. In women trying to get pregnant, those who douched more than once a week took the longest to get pregnant.

Studies also show that douching may increase a woman’s chance of damaged fallopian tubes and ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is when the fertilized egg attaches to the inside of the fallopian tube instead of the uterus. If left untreated, ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening. It can also make it hard for a woman to get pregnant in the future.

Douching Side Effects: Is Douching Good or Bad? posted 11 June 2014. Last update on 11 June 2014.