Many gynecologists oppose the practice of douching. They believe the vagina is self-cleaning, and frequent washing with commercial or homemade solutions upsets the vagina’s chemistry, leaving women more vulnerable to infections. But if a homemade douche is used correctly, and moderately, it can do more good than harm. In order to understand douching, and make your own decision, you should understand vaginal chemistry.
Your vagina is a muscular canal, with a supple lining. The lining produces lubricants, and connects the uterus to the outer world. During menstruation, the uterinelining is secreted during the vagina. The penis penetrates the vagina during intercourse, and sperm travel through the vagina to the ovaries. It also contains flora, which help support and maintain vaginal health.
A healthy vagina has acidic chemistry. The acidity helps kill off harmful bacteria, and supports healthy bacteria. Your vagina, with its’ balanced chemistry, is able to clean itself. Many women cite the following reasons for douching:
• Remove menstrual blood from the vagina
• Promote conception of a male or female child
• Prevent Sexually Transmitted diseases
• A desire to feel clean
There are two types of douches: acidic douches, which increase acid levels in your vagina and alkaline douches, which decrease acidity, and increase alkaline. Many women believe that each douche can aid in conceiving a girl or boy (acid douche for a girl and alkaline douche for a boy).
Your vagina has its’ own chemistry—good bacteria help keep it acidic. Just before, and during your period, the acidity decreases, leaving you vulnerable to vaginal infections. A douche of apple cider vinegar and water will increase the acidity of your vagina. Combine two Teaspoons of Apple cider vinegar with 2 cups of water at room temperature. Use either a douche bag or vaginal syringe bulb to apply.
Even in the 21st Century, some women still believe that vaginal pH determines the sex of a child. When the vaginal is acidic, a woman will conceive a daughter, but it is less acidic or more alkaline, she will conceive a son. Buffer, or baking soda douches, make the vagina more alkaline.
There is no medical evidence supporting this claim. Meddling with the vagina’s natural pH could reduce fertility, by causing infection or irritation to the uterus or fallopian tubes. It is vital that you discuss this with your doctor before taking any type of douche. A gentle, natural douche probably does some good, but if not applied correctly may produce unexpected results.
The Problems With Douching
Most doctors and women’s health organizations oppose douching. They believe it upsets the vagina’s natural chemistry, and makes women more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases, uterine infections and cancer. Major studies cite the following side effects:
• Spreading infection from the vagina to the uterus
• Unsterile douche bags or bulbs create infection
• Infections will affect fertility
• By upsetting the vaginas chemistry, women may be at greater risk for sexually transmitted diseases, or HIV.
• Douching during pregnancy may cause premature labor.
• Higher risk of uterine cancer.
Major studies do point out that the causal link between douching and these side effects has not been completely confirmed. In the United States, douching is most commonly found in teenagers, African American and Hispanic women. Douching is one factor, but others may be causing these infections and diseases.
So, frequent, and careless douching will cause infection, and untreated infections have serious consequences. Yet, if you do some research, and read women’s health message boards, you find many women douche and see no harm or risk. Some women believe douching can be quite beneficial. Others talk freely about having burning or cramps after using a commercial or homemade douche. It is your body, and you should make an informed choice about douching
Like any other treatment, homemade douches have their limitations. Please talk to your gynecologist before using one. If you apply the solution too frequently, you risk killing the good vaginal bacteria, and increasing the risk of vaginal infections. Over forceful douching can cause damage to the uterus or fallopian tubes.
If you practice good hygiene, by wiping yourself correctly after going to the bathroom, and washing the outside of the vagina regularly, you should be able to maintain a balanced vaginal chemistry without using douches or medication. Phone your gynecologist when you notice the following symptoms:
• Irritation or redness
• Foul smelling discharge
• Change in color of discharge.
• Yeasty like discharge: yeast infections may indicate the presence of diabetes in women.
This goes against the trend, but it is more prudent to speak to your doctor before starting a homemade treatment. You would not think of using a homemade treatment for diabetes or hypertension, so why use one for vaginal diseases? As the old saying goes ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Talk to your doctor before trying a commercial or homemade douches.