Douching and Bacterial Vaginosis
Vaginal Douching and Bacterial Vaginosis.
Much to my surprise, I see that many women are still using over the counter vaginal douches on a regular basis. These products clean the vagina by forcing water into the vaginal cavity and flushing out discharge and other contents. In some cases, special vaginal douches may be prescribed by a physician to treat a particular problem.
When it comes to douching and bacterial vaginosis, some women ask me whether douching contributes to BV while others acsk whether it can be an effective treatment for the condition. As it turns out, my answer to both of those questions is “yes”.
Why Do Women Douche?
Traditionally, women have used douches for the following reasons, some of which are based on false information or beliefs:
• To clean out excess blood at the end of their period. (This isn’t really necessary as the body does a good job of flushing out the blood on its own.)
•To avoid getting pregnant or contracting an STD after intercourse. (Douches, of course, will not help you avoid a pregnancy nor is their any concrete evidence that they are effective in killing any virus or bacteria which may lead to a sexually transmitted disease.)
•To neutralize vaginal odors. While douching can help to eliminate some vaginal odors, often such odors are merely symptom of an underlying infection or other serious issue. In those cases, douching can actually worsen the problem.
• As part of a physician prescribed course of treatment for chronic infection. In this instance, douching can be effective but should be administered under strict supervision and only in restricted instances based on a woman’s own unique circumstances.
The Link Between Douching and Bacterial Vaginosis.
What many women (and even some doctors) fail to realize is that regular vaginal douching affects the delicate chemical balance in the vagina and can actually make a woman a lot more susceptible to infections. Not only does it change the body’s natural pH balance, but it can also introduce new bacteria into the vaginal cavity which can spread up through the cervix, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
In fact, researchers have discovered that women who douche frequently experience a much higher instance of infections like bacterial vaginosis and even a higher rate of STDs. Douching can even lead to much more serious conditions like “pelvic inflammatory illness” which can lead to very serious health risks if not treated properly.
For all of these reasons, regular douching is certainly not recommended for any woman and should only be used in certain rare circumstances to treat specific conditions.
For more on the dangers of douching and BV, check out the following video clip from the popular tv show “The Doctors”.
Douching as a Treatment for Bacterial Vaginosis
So, we’ve established that douching can contribute to bacterial vaginosis but can it cure it as well? While it may seem to fly in the face of everything I’ve said above, once a woman has contracted a case of bacterial vaginosis, douching can actually help as long as it is done properly and with the right ingredients.
For instance, many women have reported good results douching with boric acid to cure their bacterial vaginosis. Boric acid, properly diluted, will help kill the harmful bacteria which contribute to BV. In addition, boric acid capsules, which are available over the counter, can be inserted directly into the vagina.
In addition, using a providone iodine douche (which is readily available on the market)can help restore the vagina’s natural pH balance. Adding two or three capfuls of providone-iodine into distilled water and douching with it has helped many women find relief from their BV.
Both of these douches can provide you with relief from itching, vaginal odor and BV symptoms.
So, while regular douching is definitely a bad idea and can contribute to bacterial vaginosis, ironically, specially formulated vaginal douches, particularly when combined with other natural remedies, can help restore your vagina’s natural pH balance and eliminate the harmful bacteria which led to your BV in the first place!Google+