We all want our vagina to look pretty and smell nice, but often times we don’t realize that the things we think might help us often hurt us. Douching, or the practice of rinsing out your vagina with water or a specialized solution, is one of them. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 20 to 40 percent of women in America between the ages of 15 and 44 douche regularly. The practice is most common among African-American and Hispanic women.
Douching is common among women in the United States. It’s estimated that 20 to 40 percent of American women 15 to 44 years old douche regularly. About half of these women douche each week. Higher rates of douching are seen in teens, African-American women, and Hispanic women.
You may believe that it is mandatory to douche – after sex, after a period, or even when you just feel plain icky down there. However, most gynecologists say steer clear of this old tale; douching can eliminate the natural bacteria and yeast that we need to keep everything healthy and maintain an appropriate vaginal pH balance. This can lead to STDs, yeast infections, and bacterial infections. It can even make it easier to contract HIV.
Here are a few ways that douching negatively impacts your body:
Infections: By disrupting the number of bacteria and yeast in the vagina, douching throws off natural pH levels. This can lead to infections and trigger an immune response that could be damaging for women with HIV. If you already have a vaginal infection, douching can make it worse.
Spread Infections: Douching can push the infected bacteria farther up into the uterus or fallopian tubes. It can even cause you to develop pelvic inflammatory disease.
Irritation and Inflammation: The process of douching, or rubbing in the vagina, can cause vaginal tissues to swell, making it easier for STDs and HIV to transmit to your body.
Disrupt the body from re-balancing: You may notice a larger amount of discharge from time to time. Don’t douche! Extra discharge is a sign that the body is re-balancing itself. Eliminating this will slow down your healing time.
It’s Temporary: Things may be smelling sour down there, but whatever you do, don’t douche. The douching will only provide a temporary cover-up
Our vaginas are tough and mean machines that will go through a series of variations over your lifetime. If you are experiencing issues with your vagina or sexual health it is important to see a doctor immediately. Otherwise, dump the douching. Your va-jay-jay has got it all under control down there.