Vaginal health: To douche or not to douche?
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New Delhi - The term 'douche' implies washing or soaking in French.
Douching is the process of intravaginal cleaning or flushing the vagina with water or a medicated solution or liquids like iodine, vinegar etc.
There have been several conflicting views on the benefits and harm related to douching.
But the fact that remains unchanged is that douching is harmful and causes many detrimental effects to your vaginal health.
Additionally, there is a myth that douching protects against pregnancy. This concept is entirely wrong and additionally leads to the risk of STI's, including HIV.
Anondeep Ganguly, Founder and CEO at Skin PotLet's gives us a clear picture of douching.
Why shouldn't women douche?
Ganguly: There are several issues connected to douching. Douching disrupts the vaginal microbiota leading to adverse effects like:
- Pregnancy Issues: Douching regularly leads to problems like early childbirth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and other complications.
- Yeast Infections: Douching disrupts the balance of bacteria that prevents the vaginal yeast from overgrowing. It causes the yeast to flourish, causing yeast infection.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases and STI's: PIDs and STIs are most common in women who douche. Research says that women who douche are at risk of PID by 73 per cent. Additionally, douching has also been linked to an increased possibility of cervical cancer.
Should one douche clean inside the vagina?
Ganguly: Absolutely not! The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. Your body naturally flushes out and cleans your vagina by making mucous.
Douching increases the chances of a vaginal infection or a sexually transmitted infection. If you experience any strong odour or irritation in the vagina, it means that there is a risk of infection.
You can keep your vagina clean and healthy by:
- Washing the outsides with warm water when you bathe.
- Avoiding soaps, even the milder ones, as they can cause dryness and irritation.
- Avoiding scented tampons, sprays or powders. These may increase your chances of getting an infection.
A healthy vaginal micro-flora is critical. The best way to clean your vagina is to leave it by itself.
The mucous produced by the vagina is a crucial cleaning agent that washes away any blood, semen and vaginal discharge present.
If you are worried about the odour, it is to be noted that healthy and clean vaginas have a mild odour that changes throughout the day. It could be due to physical activity too. It is always best to consult a doctor if you have concerns.