Dear Ms. KnowBody:
Can you please explain douching?
Good question! Douching means washing the vagina with water or a vinegar and water mixture. The apparatus including a container, tubing and nozzle that is used to rinse the vagina are called a douche. Health care providers used to recommend douching to clean the vagina to get rid of "vaginal odor," treat yeast infections, and even prevent pregnancy.
However, douching is not recommended any more for several reasons:
- It can cause yeast infections because it washes away the healthy bacteria that lines the vagina, and changes the acidity of the vagina.
- It can spread infection. If there is an infection in the vagina, douching can push the bacteria or fungus that is causing the infection into the uterus and fallopian tubes.
- Douching does not prevent pregnancy. In fact, it can give the sperm a push up into the fallopian tubes where an egg may be hanging out.