A friend recently told me that douching my vagina is a good way to avoid getting STDs. Is that true? Should I start douching, and can you recommend any particular ones to use?
-To Douche or Not to Douche
Unfortunately your friend couldn’t be more wrong. Douching does not prevent STDs (also called Sexually Transmitted infections or STIs). It can actually make transmission easier and is really pretty bad for your pussy in general.
For those not in the know (which is probably a good thing), vaginal douching is basically washing or rinsing the vagina with a mixture of water and vinegar or other fluids. Commercially packaged douches – like Summer’s Eve – sometimes use chemicals and fragrances to help get rid of “feminine odors” and make your cooch smell like Tropical Rain or Sweet Romance (whatever those actually smell like).
So, why do women do this? The point of douching is to get rid of those odors, as well as rinse out the vagina of menstrual blood and semen, and generally make your crotch “fresh” again. Unfortunately, it’s also sometimes used to prevent STDs and pregnancy, although there is no evidence to back that this is either safe or effective. In actuality, douching can cause a whole world of trouble for your most sensitive bits.
For lack of a better analogy, your vagina is like a self-cleaning oven – it doesn’t need any outside help to maintain the perfect conditions. Your vag has a natural balance of acidity and bacteria that can drastically shift with douching, which can lead to vaginal irritation and Bacterial Vaginosis*. Douching can also push existing vaginal infections up into the uterus and fallopian tubes, sometimes causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)** and even easier STD transmission.
The best way to avoid STD transmission is to practice safer sex. Latex barriers such as condoms and dental dams are effective ways to help prevent transmission. Check out our Guide to Safer Sex for more tips on how to avoid getting STDs.
If it’s taking care of your vagina you’re worried about, try using mild soap and water to clean your vulva and just leaving your inner bits alone. Let them take care of themselves – hey, it’s one less thing you have to do, right?
Helping you keep your cooch clean and your mind dirty.
* Bacterial Vaginosis is a vaginal infection that happens when the ph balance of the vag gets shifted and a certain kind of natural bacteria overgrows. BV can cause abnormal discharge and odor, pain, itching and burning.
** Pelvic Inflammatory Disease is an infection of the uterus and fallopian tubes and can cause major reproductive problems, like fallopian tube scarring and damage to uterine and ovary tissues, as well as chronic pelvis pain.