Vaginal douches usually contain water with vinegar, or some type of fragrance. You squirt the douche fluid into your vagina to wash it out. Some women like to use vaginal douches after their periods to feel clean inside. Other women use vaginal douches after sexual intercourse. But do we really need to use vaginal douches? Do women need to douche to clean themselves out after menstruation or sexual intercourse?
The answer to these questions is simply, “No.” Women don’t need to use vaginal douches at any time. In fact, doctors don’t recommend using vaginal douches. The vagina cleans itself –- naturally -– with no products required. Natural fluids in the vagina keep the inside of the vagina fresh and clean.
Vaginal douches are not the only unnecessary feminine hygiene product on the drug store shelf. You can leave most of the other feminine hygiene products including sprays, powders, and soaps on your drug store shelf, as well.
The truth is that some of these products, particularly vaginal douches, may be harmful to your health. Vaginal douching increases the risk of developing a serious infection by upsetting the balance of the naturally occurring vaginal substances that keep the vagina healthy. All that’s needed to clean the outside of your vagina is a warm bath or shower with gentle, preferably unscented, bath soap.
Maybe, you’ve heard you can prevent pregnancy by douching after sex –- you can’t. Vaginal douching is not a contraceptive. Vaginal douching after sex also does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases or STDs. In fact, trying to use a vaginal douche as a method of birth control or to prevent STDs may have the opposite affect and actually increase the risk of pregnancy or getting a STD or other vaginal infection by pushing sperm or bacteria further up into the reproductive tract.
Source: Do you need to douche?; GirlsHealth.gov; http://www.girlshealth.gov/body/hygiene_douche.htm; accessed 09/10/07.
Do you need to douche?; GirlsHealth.gov; http://www.girlshealth.gov/body/hygiene_douche.htm; accessed 09/10/07.