Asdfasdfsadfsdfasdfasdfasdf Vaginal douches may consist of water, water mixed with vinegar, or even antiseptic chemicals. Douching has been touted as having a number of supposed but unproven benefits. In addition to promising to clean the vagina of unwanted odors, it can also be used by women who wish to avoid smearing a sexual partner's penis with menstrual blood while having intercourse during menstruation. In the past, douching was also used after intercourse as a method of birth control, though it is not effective (see below).
Many health care professionals state that douching is dangerous, as it interferes with both the vagina's normal self-cleaning and with the natural bacterial culture of the vagina, and it might spread or introduce infections. For example, the U.S. ...view middle of the document...
Women were randomly assigned to use either a newly designed and marketed douche product or a soft cloth towelette. There was little or no indication of a greater risk of PID among women assigned to use the douche product (versus soft cloth towelette). Douching may be related to a lower probability that a woman becomes pregnant.
Antiseptics may also result in an imbalance of the natural bacteria in the vagina, also resulting in an increased likelihood of infection. Furthermore, unclean douching equipment may also introduce undesirable foreign bodies into the vagina. For these reasons, the practice of douching is now strongly discouraged except when ordered by a physician for specific medical reasons. Douching may also wash bacteria into the uterus and Fallopian tubes, causing fertility problems.
Douching after intercourse is estimated to reduce the chances of conception by only 15-25%. In comparison, proper condom use reduces the chance of conception by as much as 97%. In some cases douching may force the ejaculate further into the vagina, increasing the chance of pregnancy. A review of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (N.Y.) showed that women who douched regularly and later became pregnant had higher rates of ectopic pregnancy, infections, and low birth weight infants than women who only douched occasionally or who never douched.
The practice of douching is now largely restricted to the United States, where douching equipment is often available in pharmacies. A 1995 survey quoted in the University of Rochester study found that 27% of U.S. women age 15 to 44 douched regularly, but that douching was more common among African-American women (over 50%) than among white women (21%).