Don’t be a Doucher
Certain feminine hygiene products are found to be harmful for health by the nature of their functionality. One among such products is douches, as it is linked to a number of health issues like chronic yeast infections, infertility, vaginitis, pregnancy complications, STIs and PID.
Many studies have also reported a correlation if not a direct cause and effect relationship between regular douching and cervical cancer. Women who douche more than once a week have been found to have more difficulty in getting pregnant than those who don’t douche. Douches, wipes and washes are harmful because the fragrances, disinfecting agents and other chemicals present interfere with the natural self-cleaning mechanism of the vaginal mucous.
Douching can upset the delicate balance of vaginal flora and acidity in a healthy vagina, thereby leaving the genital area more vulnerable to excessive growth of harmful bacteria and yeast. This can cause bacterial vaginosis and yeast infection. Douching can also cause an existing infection to spread further into the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries.
Many women, especially teenagers douche in order to eliminate the natural odour of the vagina due to the stigma attached to it. It’s estimated that 20 to 40 percent of American women in the age group of 15 to 44 years douches regularly. Many advertisements also perpetuate such beliefs and views by preying on women’s insecurities. This leads to the wrong notion that douching is an essential part of feminine hygiene despite strong condemnation of practices by the medical community.
But it is important to understand that a healthy and clean vagina can have a mild odour. There is little scientific evidence that douching is beneficial. In fact, douches can be counterproductive, as the resulting diseases worsens the odour issue, while simply washing the vagina with warm water and mild skin-friendly soap is enough to keep it clean.
There is also a myth that douching prevents pregnancy. Douching definitely is not effective as a contraceptive. It is essential that women and especially girls at the onset of puberty are aware of the feminine hygiene products available and their constituents so that they can make more informed and safe choices with respect to their health.