Once while spending the night at a friends house, I asked to use her bathroom to shower and was quite surprised at the arsenal of soaps, liquids, and sprays that she had for cleaning out her ‘lady area’- yes, you guessed right! We’re talking “Vagina business”.
I started to ask her if that was really necessary but then held my tongue, as you never repay hospitality from a high horse. I immediately resolved to research this and speak with her when I had a more compelling argument.
Why am I talking about this you might ask? Well being of African descent, there are MANY topics that are discussed in hushed tones, behind closed doors and almost in the dark, because there is the fear that the mere mention of the word ‘vagina’ would immediately corrupt the girl-child. A lot of girls learn from their peers and colleagues, often picking up harmful and dangerous practices as they go along.
What is Douching?
The word “Douche” is of French origin, meaning “to soak ” or “wash out”. in this context, Douching means to wash out the vagina with soaps and liquids like vinegar, baking soda, and other commercially sold products. Most commercially sold douches contain fragrances and antiseptics as well.
To douche, you generally squirt the contents of the liquid into the vagina area and allow the liquid to trickle down and do its magic!
Why do Women Douche?
Many women say that douching makes them feel fresher and cleaner and even smell better down there, while others do it because some members of their immediate family do it as well. Some douche because they feel their sexual partners would appreciate it, or immediately after their monthly menstrual cycle to get rid of the blood and unpleasant odors. It seems like much of the reasons women douche has to do with its fragrance.
Should You Douche?
Surely the idea of a vagina that smells like roses must sound like something that most ladies would love, however, this is one case where the disadvantages of douching far outweigh the merits.
The healthy vagina is composed of good and bad bacteria all in a healthy balance. douching upsets this balance and this leads to the bad bacteria thriving over the good in most cases, leading to infections.
Scientific Research has shown that douching is associated with
- Increased preterm births
- Reduced fertility
- Higher risk of ectopic pregnancy
- Increased risk of infections like bacterial vaginosis.
Here’s a good review article on douching.
Did You Know?
- Douching does not prevent pregnancy, so douching before and after sex does not prevent pregnancy;
- Douching does not prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD’s);
- If You were sexually assaulted PLEASE DO NOT DOUCHE. Go to the nearest Emergency room immediately. Dial The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) for information;
- Do not douche to cover up odors. Douching covers up odors for a short period and ultimately makes the situation worse. If you already have an infection, douching only pushes the bacteria further up and into the fallopian tubes uterus and ovaries;
- Douching before a Doctor’s visit makes it difficult for the doctor to figure out what is actually wrong;
- If you experience problems like vaginal discharge that smells bad, pain while urinating or during sex, vaginal itching and thick, white, or yellowish-green discharge with or without an odor, or burning, redness or swelling, see a doctor IMMEDIATELY! These could be signs of a vaginal infection.
How can You keep Your Vagina Clean and Odorless?
Your body is amazing and designed to clean itself. The vagina makes mucous for this unique reason.
Every vagina has it’s unique smell (and it’s usually not of roses). This smell could be worse if you exercise and sweat a lot. However, if you are worried about a strong unpleasant smell then talk to your doctor ASAP.
- Don’t be scared to shower as often as you need to. This greatly depends on your daily physical activities. I recommend showering twice a day. Morning and evening especially if you live in the warmer climates and perspire a lot.
- Wash the outside area of your vagina with warm water when you bathe. You may use a mild soap that would not cause dryness and irritation;
- If you currently have a vaginal infection see a doctor immediately;
- Wear breathable underwear, preferably one made with material that can absolve sweat such as cotton
- Every time you use the restroom wipe with a wet wipe from front to back. Here are some recommendations.;
- Do not wear tight or uncomfortable underwear; and
- Don’t spray perfume into your vagina, or use scented powder or scented tampons. All these increase your chances of getting an infection.
Finally, the food we eat affect how our body secretions smell. The human body breaks down ‘smelly’ foods like garlic into equally ‘smelly’ chemical compounds that linger in our blood until we release them in our breath, sweat, and urine. Therefore a healthy balance of fruits, vegetables, and grains will do you a world of good.
Remember to share this page with your friends and leave comments on recommendations on how you are keeping “the Sacred V” clean and safe. Visit this page to see all my must-have products for feminine care.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure you research properly and go into it with the mindset of “safety first”.