Are douches a girl’s best friend? They’re often glorified as wonder products that can erase vaginal odors and even prevent pregnancy. But, it turns out that a lot of the hype is based on old and false information. Douching is risky and potentially harmful.
To (ahem) wash away some of the confusion, I’ve answered some of the most common questions people ask me on this topic:
What are douches and feminine washes?
Douches, also known as feminine washes, are vaginal rinses made with various mixtures. They are usually composed of water and vinegar, but they can also contain baking soda, iodine, and tea tree oil. Basically, anything you mix to squirt up your vagina to clean or treat it is considered a douche.
Is douching a good idea?
No. No, no, no, no, no.
Doesn’t my vagina need cleaning too?
The vagina is a self-cleansing organ (now, that’s a girl power!). It has a delicate balance of acidity and healthy bacteria that line the vaginal walls, protecting you from infections. Douching – or even using soap “up there” can disrupt this bacterial balance. If it flushes away or kills the good bacteria, it leaves you vulnerable to bacterial or yeast infections in the vagina. So, while they are intended to clean out the vagina, douches can end up doing the opposite and cause thick discharge, itching and odor.
But, can’t douching get rid of vaginal stinky-ness?
Douching may temporarily change your odor, but it will come back stronger afterwards. Most vaginal odor is caused by sweat glands around the outside of your vagina.
Washing your vulva (the outside area of your lady parts) and thoroughly cleaning in the folds should be enough. If your normal discharge has excessive odor, then check with your doc to make sure you don’t have an infection that needs to be cleared up.
*Bonus tip: A normal healthy vagina may have a slight odor and that’s okay and normal. Women weren’t designed to smell like flowers or fruit; they were designed to smell like women.
If I’ve douched before, do I need to see a doctor?
Just because you have douched doesn’t mean that you will get an infection. But, it’s always a good idea to talk to a doc with any concerns, and if you develop any irritation, odor, or itching, make an appointment.
Can douching before or after sex prevent pregnancy and STDs?
Nope. Douching before sex can change the pH and bacterial balance in your vagina and make you more susceptible to STDs.
If you douche right before sex, you can also wash away your natural lubrication, making sex more painful and irritating to your vagina. As far as preventing pregnancy, squirting liquid into your vagina can flush sperm farther inside your vagina, increasing your chances of getting pregnant. (Find a proper birth control method instead!)
Bottom line: when it comes to sex, douches are not your friend.
Have any other questions about douches? Email us!