Ladies, we know. Feminine hygiene is a delicate topic. We all have feminine odor at some time or another, yet we don’t want to talk about it. But, up to 40 percent of women in the US douche. The practice is more common among African-American and Latina women. So, repeating the basics as well as providing a few good links to US government health sites for reference can go a long way to helping us stay healthy and fresh.
You’ve probably heard that all you need is some soap and water to stay fresh down there. And, it’s true. Skip the douche and feminine spray asiles in the supermarket. And while douching after sex does not prevent pregnancy or getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI), there is research that shows that douching could adversely affect your pregnancy. The US Department of Health does not recommend douching and states that it can be harmful. The dangers associated with douching include vaginal irritation, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and bacterial vaginosis. Most doctors and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend that you do not douche.
The US health department also recommends staying away from all those scented soaps, powders and sprays as well. But what about these new feminine hygiene or intimate wipes, which are made to clean only the outside of the vagina? Now there are even organic wipes that avoid the use of petrochemcials often linked to skin irritation. The US government web sites are silent on these products.
But, in short, vaginas are suppose to smell like – well, a vagina. If your odor changes, it could be due to too much douching, an infection or an STI. If it smells like you’re baking bread downstairs, it could be a yeast infection. If the odor is very strong, it could be bacterial vaginosis, the most common infection among women of childbearing age. So, when it’s not your regular every day odor that every lady has from time to time, consult your doctor.
Read more on these US government health sites:
From the US Department of Health
Douching Fact Sheet: http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/douching.cfm#h
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI): http://womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/sexually-transmitted-infections.cfm
From the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
Bacterial Vaginosis: http://www.cdc.gov/std/BV/STDFact-Bacterial-Vaginosis.htm