We know we know… we tell you all the time, DON’T DOUCHE. We know, we know, you say I KNOW every time. But...we’re still hearing reports of people out here using douches in an effort to smell better or be cleaner and we have to tell you, you already do/are.
Douching is almost always NOT OK. In very rare circumstances, your care provider may write you a prescription for a medicated douche related to an upcoming procedure or infection you may have. In no other circumstances is douching ok.
What are the issues with douching? It may seem fairly harmless, similar to the way you nonchalantly use body wash, but the vagina is a very different sitch from the skin on the outside of your body, and your body has you covered re: keeping you clean.
Within your vagina, there is a (generally) well-balanced flora, of both beneficial and harmful microorganisms. For the most part, they keep each other in check. Sometimes, when we introduce other things into our vagina, see: douches, lube, even a new partner, that microflora can go little bananas. In this case, we can develop infections like bacterial vaginosis or yeast infections.
On top of disrupting your well-balanced microflora, douching brings additional risks. Douching can also increase your risk of developing the pelvic inflammatory disease, vaginal dryness, and can cause issues in pregnancy such as preterm birth.
So what do you do if you feel like you need to be “cleaner?” Chances are, you don’t. However, if you notice changes in smell, discharge, or you feel burning, itching, or irritation, reach out to your care provider. Your doc or NP can assess you further and determine if you need treatment for an infection.
Vaginal discharge is part of the self-cleaning machine, and we get that sometimes this is annoying. You can certainly clean the outside of your vagina! But, carefully. Believe it or not, warm water is adequate, and you CAN you a mild scent-free soap, but nothing beyond this! Treat your vaginal and vula like the beautiful, delicate (but strong) flower it is.
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