Is vaginal douching safe?

Is vaginal douching safe?

Last Reviewed : 12/23/2020
Is vaginal douching safe?

Doucheis a French word that means washor soak. Vaginal douching is the process of cleaning the vagina with a liquid solution. The liquid solution mostly consists of water in combination with vinegar, baking soda or iodine.

In the United States, every one in five women belonging to the age group of 15-45 years douche. Teenagers douche more commonly than other age groups women.The common reasons for douching are as follows:

  • Personal hygiene or aesthetic reasons
  • Preventing or treating an infection
  • Cleansing after menstruation or sex
  • Preventing pregnancy


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women should avoidthe practice of vaginal douching due to the following health risks:

  • A healthy vagina has its cleansingmechanism. It also harbors various bacteria that help in maintaining the acidity of the vagina which helps in preventing various infections. Vaginal douching alters the acidity and the bacterial flora, resulting inthe growth of harmful bacteria, making the vagina more susceptible to various infections. These vaginal infections can spread to the uterus, fallopian tubes and can also affect the ovaries which may lead to infertility.
  • Douching once a week increases the chances of acquiring bacterial vaginosis up to five times.
  • Women who douche are 73% at risk of developing pelvicinflammatory disease which can lead to infertility.
  • Douching increases the chances of ectopic pregnancy by 76%.
  • Vaginal douching, if practiced during pregnancy, can increase the risk of preterm pregnancy.
  • It also increases the chances of sexually transmitted diseases andHIV as the acidity of the vagina is disturbed.
  • It leads to vaginal irritation and dryness which further leads to infection.
  • Douching once a week increases the chances of cancer cervix.



  • Martino JL, Vermund SH. Vaginal Douching: Evidence for Risks or Benefits to Women’s Health. Epidemiologic reviews. 2002;24(2):109-124.


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