Women, oh Women! We are experimenting many ways on the name of maintaining vaginal hygiene and one of these so-called effective ways is popularly known by douching. Many of you might be thinking what is douching exactly? Douching is cleaning inside of your vagina using mixtures of fluids and liquids. These mixtures are prepackaged mixtures of water and vinegar or baking soda or iodine. These mixtures come in a bottle or bag. Now the next question popping your mind, Is it safe? To get the answer to this question you must read this full article and then you can decide on your own.
We women as mentioned earlier are very prone to experimenting new things. The reason behind this is our basic nature of keeping ourselves best. On the contrary if we talk then douching is a practice that is performed by the purpose of cleansing but it ultimately causes many conditions including difficulty getting pregnant. In USA oe in five women ranging between 15-44 years of age practice douching. Douche is a french word that means to soak or to wash. But using this technique blindly without knowing about the consequences can give rise to many unexplained situations.
Motives for Douching
We women are very good at experimenting. We just want to find ways to keep ourselves healthy and disease free. But before jumping on to some practice we must understand whether it’s good for us or not or whether this practice really fulfills its motive or not. Below are some of the reasons out of which douching is done.
- It is done to clean the vagina after menses or before
- Douching is done after having sextual intercourse for avoiding Sexually transmitted diseases and to prevent an odour.
- This technique is also done to avoid itching and discharge.
- Some women perform it as a method of contraceptive to avoid pregnancy.
But sorry to inform you ladies, it does not fulfil any of above-mentioned motives. But is potent to cause alteration in vaginal flora resulting in itching, infections and swelling recurrently. It does not avoid pregnancy but creates a condition which makes getting pregnant tough.
What does Douching do?
Douching done with wipes, soaps, liquid sprinkles or perfumes is known to cause any bad effects on vaginal health. Once when it was recommended as a medical practice it was not known to disturb or affect vaginal pH. Elevated or imbalanced vaginal pH can cause many problems for women and also result in situations that need immediate attention. The problems it may create are as following:
- Vaginal Dryness: Douching can remove or alter the natural mucous of vaginal lining.
- Bacterial Vaginosis: This condition is typically the result of imbalance vaginal flora. Douching washes away natural and healthy bacteria.
- Yeast Infections: Yeast grows better in a less acidic environment and douching helps in creating that environment. Many studies have shown that women who douche are more likely to get sexually transmitted disease as compared to women who do not perform this practice. Douching also helps harmful bacteria to travel higher in the reproductive tract and many times a female represents without any symptoms.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This is commonly seen in women who perform douching. Pelvic inflammatory infections can cause long standing pain in the pelvic region and also increases chances for ectopic pregnancy and infertility.
As now we all know the consequences of douching, we want to know the alternatives for it. Alternatives, that do not cause any harm and also help in keeping vagina healthy and safe. These ways will be perfectly safe and will be quite effective if performed as per guided. For keeping your vagina healthy it is important to clean it locally but it is also very important to regulate some dietary changes that can help you do the same.
Natural Ways for Avoiding Douching
Douching can be avoided using simple vaginal washing. This washing can be done using many natural decoctions. It is potent for avoiding infections, irritation during periods or normally, swelling (vulvar infection), foul smell and Sexually transmitted diseases.
Benefits of Vaginal Washing
Vaginal washing means cleaning the external vulva and tapping it dry with a soft water. You might have a thought about how it differs from douching. Douching involves cleaning of internal vulva which allows transmission of bacterial agents inside of vagina and hence causing various problems. Vaginal washing on the other hand:
- Do not cause any vaginal infection as it washes of vagina externally and has no interaction with internal walls of the vulva.
- It does not cause any type of difficulty in getting pregnant.
- It helps in maintaining the healthy flora of the vagina.
- It soothes the skin of vagina instead of making it dry like happens due to douching.
Correct ways for Vaginal Washing
With one hand, form a V with your first two fingers and hold back the outside skin and spread out the folds of your vagina. Now you just have to rinse your vagina several times with plain water or decoction. Try not to scrub the folds harshly. Now gently dry the area using a towel and wear garments that are breathable.
Natural Ways for Vaginal Wash
- Lemon leaves: You can boil a few lemon leaves in water and then cool it down. After that this can be used for vaginal washing. Lemon leaves contain a chemical called as limonene which helps in reducing odour from vagina and also have antibiotic properties.
- Aloe vera gel: Try applying fresh aloe vera gel on your external vulva and then rinse it well with using lukewarm water. It will help you feel fresh all the time and also reduces unwanted discharge.
- Vaginal irrigation can also be done using decoction of stem bark of herbs like lodhra (Symplocos racemosa).
- Herbal vaginal washes which are available in the market.
A female must understand that diet plays a very important role in managing her vaginal health. One should restrict herself from excessive consumption of spicy, piquant, sour and sweet substances. These all are defined as rasa in ayurveda and are potent of increasing kapha and pitta in the body which are the main reasons for maximum vaginal conditions.
Vaginal health matters to each and every female. In addition, before jumping to using any kind of vaginal hygiene maintaining routine, you should go through its effects and consequences whether positive or negative. Attentiveness and knowledge are the most beautiful gift we can provide our overall health. So, ladies stay attentive and pass the knowledge!
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an Expert Ayurveda Consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical-based treatments.