To be honest, I had no idea what douching was, and I was wondering why I saw the term in various feminine health sites. And it turns out to be a pretty common practice! Not sure if it’s big among Singaporean women, but if you’re wondering what it is or whether you should do it, here’s what you should know.
“Douche” means “wash” or “soak” in French. Douching is a practice where a woman washes or flushes her vagina with water and other fluids, usually vinegar or other substances such as baking soda or iodine. Douches are available in pharmacies and stores, and they usually come in a bottle and tube to spray upward into the vagina.
Why Do People Do It?
Women do it because of the health benefits that douching is believed to offer. The biggest reason is that it makes them feel clean, like washing away menstrual blood after periods. Other beliefs include its ability to prevent odour and infections. Some people even believe that it will prevent pregnancy.
But hold your horses! Don’t go running to get your first douching bottle yet.
Though these benefits sound attractive, none of it has been proven scientifically.
Should I Douche?
The summarised answer is no, you should only douche if prescribed to do so by your doctor.
That’s because douching has been proven to have many more disadvantages than advantages to your health. There are several reasons for this.
Douching actually increases your chances of getting an infection. This is because douching can mess up the natural pH levels of your vagina and disrupt the normal balance of bacteria. These bacteria are supposed to be present; changes in their composition can lead to increased instances of vaginal infections, the most common being yeast infections.
Another way that douching increases your chances of getting a bad infection is when an infection is already present in the vagina, and douching ends up causing the spread of the infection further up in your reproductive tract.
An abnormal vaginal odour, discharge, or discomfort can signal the presence of an infection, so douching to relieve the symptom would only avoid the underlying problem and might even make the infection worse. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) is when a woman’s uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries are infected. Douching can cause this when it forces bacteria to travel up from a woman’s vagina and into these reproductive organs. If this is left untreated, PID can cause fertility problems in the future.
The bottom line is, douching is completely unnecessary to clean your vagina. Neither does it keep you safe against sexually transmitted diseases, infections, or help protect against pregnancy! Your vagina produces naturally occurring mucus, which acts as a natural cleansing agent to wash away any blood, discharge or other bacteria. If you really want to wash your vagina, washing it externally with an intimate wash and water is sufficient for good vaginal hygiene.
So don’t worry too much about it! If you want to find out more about vaginal discharges too, check out our post on it here.