In the 1980’s, a popular advertising campaign offered women a way to treat that “not so fresh feeling” by encouraging vaginal douching. Women across the United States and beyond jumped on the bandwagon.
Vaginal douches became a popular way to wash away unpleasant odors and leftover menstrual blood. Some even believed it could help prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or pregnancy. Unfortunately, not only is vaginal douche NOT effective for any of these things, health experts also say it can cause serious health problems.
Despite the warnings, statistics show between 20 and 40 percent of women still use a vaginal douche. If you’re one of them, you need to stop now! Here are the top five reasons why you should throw away your vaginal douche and never use one again.
Your vagina naturally has a balance of necessary bacteria, called vaginal flora. Douching upsets this balance, increasing your chances of an infection known as bacterial vaginosis. This often causes a strong-smelling, discolored discharge and can lead to preterm labor, miscarriage, and increased risk of contracting STDs.
Douching can also cause a painful infection of the uterus, ovaries, and/or fallopian tubes, known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). In addition to pain, PID can create a heavy, unpleasant discharge, fever and chills, and bleeding between periods.
Recent studies found that phthalates, which are harmful chemicals found in douche and other feminine products, can be absorbed through the vaginal walls. Exposure to phthalates can lead to a variety of scary symptoms including hormone disruption, reproductive problems, and increased risk of chronic disease. Newborns exposed to the chemicals in-vitro are also more likely to experience developmental problems.
If you douche more than once a week, your chances of conception may decrease drastically. Regularly douching also increases the chances that a fertilized embryo may implant outside the uterus. This condition, called ectopic pregnancy, can be life-threatening. Not only is the pregnancy unable to continue, in some cases, the fallopian tube can rupture, causing extreme pain and heavy bleeding. Emergency treatment is almost always necessary.
Douching has been shown to increase the chances of contracting high-risk strains of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, which are extremely likely to cause cervical cancer. Studies have also found that women who douche are twice as likely to develop ovarian cancer. The increase occurred regardless of whether the women studied had a genetic predisposition to cancer development.
Perhaps the most important thing for women to understand is that a slight vaginal odor is perfectly natural. If your body is producing a strong or unpleasant odor, you need to visit a doctor. Masking the smell with a vaginal douche instead of seeking treatment can leave you open to serious complications.
In a healthy vagina, the body’s natural acidity is enough to control bacteria. Basic hygiene like showering regularly and washing your vagina with soap and water is enough to keep it clean. The healthiest thing you can do for your body is put away those unnatural douches and embrace your vagina for the natural wonder that it is.
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