Dangers of Douching: Why the Vagina Should Be Left to Clean Itself

Woman holding a heart shape in vaginal section

Feminine hygiene and vaginal care are important topics often deemed “embarrassing” to discuss with other people, even with doctors. This stigma leads to many women and young girls relying on the questionable advice of faceless people on the Internet.

Take douching, for instance. One out of five women between the ages of 15 and 44 years regularly douche to clean the vagina and get rid of any odor. Are they right to do so? Ask any West Jordan gynecologist or anywhere else in the state, and you’d hear why they never recommend douching for any patient.

Hazards of Over-cleaning

Douching involves cleaning the vagina with water or a pre-made cleaning mixture. These mixtures are usually made of water and vinegar or iodine. It comes in plastic bottles or bags with tubes that squirt the fluids into your vagina.

Gynecologists and other experts caution that douching may lead to more health problems, instead of preventing it.

Remember: the vagina is a self-cleaning organ. The fluid you discharge on a regular basis is its way of keeping itself clean. Douching can upset the natural pH balance and bacterial flora in your vagina. This, in turn, can lead to various health problems like:

  • Yeast infections
  • Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Sexually transmitted infection (STI)
  • Vaginal irritation or dryness

Addressing Odor Concerns

The vagina naturally has an odor. Women who are concerned about not washing down there can still wash their vulva or external genitalia. Doctors recommend using only plain water or water and mild, unscented, and undyed soap, rather than feminine washes.

They caution women against using these products to clean the vagina, too. While many feminine washes advertise restoring pH balance, it does nothing for your vagina as the pH levels of your inner and outer genitalia are completely different.

Spotting Red Flags

Persistent and foul vaginal odors may be a sign of serious problems. Some red flags to watch out for and inform your gynecologist include:

  • Fishy vaginal odor, which is often a symptom of BV
  • Pleasantly sweet or sour smell, which is a sign of a yeast infection
  • A large change from your usual vaginal odor, which may be a sign of STI

Safeguard your health with verified information from the experts, rather than online hearsay. When it comes to feminine hygiene and proper vaginal care, it’s always best to consult with a trusted gynecologist.