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Vaginal douching is a technique that people believe is beneficial to the female population as it promotes hygiene and prevents vaginal tract infections. Although there is an agreement among the experts that vaginal douching is something that pregnant women should avoid, there is a substantial divide between those advocating for the procedure and those who are opposed to it in non-pregnant situations. Here, we will consider both sides of the argument to help you decide for yourself what avenue is the right choice for you. 

Douching is a practice that has become less frequently used in the last 20 years because of adverse risks associated with this practice. It is still relatively common in minority populations in North America, however. Various studies conducted looking at the safety of this procedure, and there are some disturbing links between douching and many gynecological complications that can be much more than the patient bargained for. 

These studies indicate that there is a high correlation between vaginal douching and the development of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), various kinds of sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and HIV, a higher incidence of ectopic pregnancies, opportunistic infections and even cervical cancer.

With a rap sheet like this alone, it is amazing that patients would even be debating whether this was a good idea or not. Some limitations of these studies, however, make it hard to draw definite conclusions. Studies were highly variable on the target populations they were testing, for this reason, definite conclusions about the entire female population are not able to be realized without more investigation. [1]

Some may argue that douching is only dangerous if it is done excessively. There is some merit to that statement and studies seem to agree that the more frequent you do vaginal douching, the higher your risk. If you use vaginal douching just once a month, patients may benefit from being able to clean their vaginal canals after menses, be able to remove pungent odors that are wafting from the vaginal canal and can prevent any vaginal itching from irregular bacteria growth along the vaginal canal. 

Those are good arguments, but I would side with those who are advocating against the use of vaginal douching. When you routinely change the bacteria composition of your vaginal canal through the use of these products, you may find temporary relief from itching or foul-smelling stenches, but in reality, you are just making it easier for opportunistic infections to inhabit your vaginal canal.  

If you are not adequately trained in vaginal douching techniques, there is a very good chance you may irritate the cervix and surrounding tissue. Doing this once by accident will not result in too much damage, perhaps some minor bleeding at most, but if you do this process routinely, you are providing a hazardous source of trauma that can cause the cervical tissue to transform into cancer. 

It is good that patients think of douching as a potential way to maintain the health of your vagina, but the intentions are not enough to justify this procedure. You should meet with your gynecologist and discuss the risks more in-depth, so you will understand and spread the word that douching is something that should be stopped. 

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