Douching refers to washing or cleaning the vagina with water or other liquids prepared at the pharmacy. In general they may contain compounds such as vinegar, baking soda or iodine.
It is estimated that, in the United States alone, 1 in 4 women of childbearing age (between 15 and 45 years) regularly performs these washings. What is it about? What are your risks? Next, we detail it.
What are vaginal douches?
As part of intimate hygiene, many women take vaginal douches, especially when they notice changes in flow. This procedure consists in the application of pharmaceutical preparations that contain antiseptics, perfumes or substances such as vinegar or bicarbonate.
In general, its form of presentation is in bottles or bags. They are squeezed out so that the liquid enters the inner part of the vagina and carries out the desired cleaning. However, far from something positive, everything points to your question has negative consequences.
Benefits of cleaning
There is no scientific evidence to support the use of douches as a protective measure against disease. On the contrary, doctors and gynecologists advise against its use, not only arguing that it alters the vaginal pH, but also associating its use with a increased risk of infections in the area.
Often these treatments are performed to remove unpleasant odors from the vagina or to “clean” the residue left after the menstrual period. However, some myths need to be dismantled in this regard.
Risks of douching
The vulvar area is colonized by various bacteria who fight to keep pathogenic microorganisms at bay. Moreover, They produce an acidic environment that promotes vaginal protection against infections.
Washing this part of the body excessively and with irritating products alters the bacterial balance and the acid environment, which promotes excessive growth of infectious agents such as fungi and bacteria.
In other words, watering can lead to an overgrowth of dangerous microorganisms, causing diseases such as vaginal candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis.
On the other hand, if the woman has had a previous infection, this type of washing can worsen the situation. They are also associated with an increased risk of uterine disorders and pelvic inflammatory disease.
Do vaginal douches eliminate bad smell?
First of all, it must be assumed that the intimate area has a particular smell, not always pleasant. However, it’s usually mild and doesn’t cause any major problems. However, If a strong and unpleasant odor is produced, it is best to consult a doctor to determine the cause.
While showers appear to help eliminate it, they can actually be harmful. Why? The washes only mask the odor for a short time and the infection will still be present. It is also possible that it evolves and causes complications.
So if the flow smells bad, or has a different consistency, it is best to go to a gynecologist. This especially if there are other symptoms such as burning when urinating, thick secretion, itching, irritation, etc. Your doctor will determine which treatment to follow, depending on the type of infection.
Do douches help prevent sexually transmitted infections?
Careful! There is no type of cleaning that can prevent STIs or pregnancy. These are nothing more than myths that have been shared among the population. Indeed, as we have already discussed, its practice removes healthy bacteria and facilitates the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
What’s the best way to keep the vagina clean?
Surprising as it may seem, the vagina has the ability to clean itself. It does this by producing mucus, which eliminates and sweeps away the residues of blood, bacteria, sperm or any substance that comes into contact with your tissues.
Also, it is normal for this area to smell different during the day or during your period. Even said smell can be influenced by factors such as hormones, exercise or mood.
In any case, to ensure good intimate hygiene, it is necessary to wash only the external part of the vagina with warm water and mild soap. You should also avoid using wipes, tampons, or perfumes on the area.
Given the above, it is necessary to avoid the use of vaginal douches, unless indicated by the gynecologist. In case of vaginal discharge or odor disturbances, it is best to consult a doctor or specialist. This procedure should be avoided, as well as the use of perfumes, as they alter the pH and increase the risk of infections.
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