The word douche is a French word for “shower” or soak”. Vaginal douching is basically washing or cleaning out the vagina with water or other solutions. The solutions usually come in a bottle and can be squirted into the vagina through a tube or nozzle. For many years there have been conflicting views on the benefits or harm of douching. There have also been a lot of misconceptions about douching and globally douching is associated with many adverse effects.
Women who douche consider it to be a healthy practice and often state that hygiene is their primary reason for douching. Medical guidelines will tell you that your vagina is a self-cleaning organ, so there is no need to clean it with any kind of products or solution. Its self-regulation system will naturally clean and moisturise the internal wall of your vagina, and help to prevent and fight infections.
However, for many women, things like vaginal discharge, odour, sweat, menstruation, infections, STI’s and sexual intercourse might cause discomfort and in some instances embarrassment, which leaves them searching for a “solution”. Even though there is very little scientific evidence, some women say douching makes them feel cleaner.
Before douching, you need to be sure that your discomfort is not linked to an infection or STI for which you would need specific medication. Having some vaginal odour is normal, and while it should be noted that your vaginal odour could change during your menstrual cycle, you need to speak to your pharmacist or doctor if you are noticing a very strong odour.
If you are douching for hygiene purposes only, you need to make sure that you use a product that has been approved by the Health Authorities and is indicated for cleansing of the vagina specifically. All other foreign liquids could cause more harm than good.
Registered and safe products are available in most pharmacies in the OTC (over-the-counter) section. A pharmacist will advise you on how to use the product. Make sure you choose the right medicated douche to avoid future problems.
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Information via Mundipharma (Pty) Ltd.