Douching: What is it and is it Safe to Practice This Procedure?

Dr. Rita Goel

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rita Goel

Gynaecologist and Obstetrician

4 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Douching is a process of cleaning the vagina using liquids
  • Vaginal douche is not advisable as it can affect your vaginal health
  • Infections and complications during pregnancy are some of its ill-effects

A healthy sexual reproductive system is important for good social, physical and mental well-being [1]. It also reduces the risk of infections and ensures your fertility is not affected. The vagina is a vital part of the reproductive system, forming the outer part of female genitals. Douching is a process by which people clean the vagina and wash it either using water or a mixture of fluids.

This is different from the usual exterior washing of the vagina. Vaginal douching is a common practice among certain groups to clean the vagina and eliminate odor. But doctors consider it harmful for your reproductive health and do not recommend it. To understand more about douching and why it is not beneficial for your health, read on.

Additional read: Women’s Wellness: 6 Effective Tips to Boost the Female Reproductive System

Why Are Vaginal Douches Used?

Douching is usually done for hygienic reasons. A douche is a device that sprays water on the interior part of vagina. Users believe that this helps them wash it properly. They start by filling a bag or a bottle with water. Then, they squirt this device in the upward direction. This helps the liquid spray directly on the vagina.

While douching with water is popular, people also use liquids like vinegar and mix it with water. They may also buy douching products that consist of antiseptics, iodine, baking soda or even fragrance. A few other reasons why they practice this are:

  • To lower the risks of sexually transmitted infections
  • To clean body fluids from the vagina
  • To avoid pregnancy

Though users believe this procedure solves the hygiene problems of women, it does not prevent women’s health issues. On the contrary, it may cause serious health problems if you practice this procedure regularly.


Is Douching a Safe Procedure?

Douching is not a safe procedure and can cause health issues. The vagina maintains a healthy pH by itself and contains both harmful and good bacteria. The acidic environment of your vagina is due to the proper balance of bacteria. If your vagina maintains a proper acidic environment, there will be no vaginal infections or irritation. 

When you practice douching regularly, it may cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. You may end up removing the good bacteria from the vagina due to this method. It can also cause irritation as harmful bacteria tend to multiply faster. So, avoid douching and reduce your vaginal problems like burning, pain or discharge.

What Are the Disadvantages of Vaginal Douching?

There are many health complications associated with this procedure. This is mainly because of disturbing the natural environment of the vagina. Some of the common risks associated with douching include the following [2]. 

Pregnancy Complications

Regular douching can cause miscarriage, early childbirth, or other pregnancy complications. Continuous usage of a douche can even cause ectopic pregnancy or result in fertility problems.

prevent vaginal odor


When healthy bacteria reduce, there is a tendency for vaginal yeast to multiply. This causes yeast infections. Many women are under the misconception that regular washing of their vagina using douche may reduce the risk of vaginal infection. However, this is not true. Douching can actually cause vaginosis that may spread to other reproductive parts. 

Pelvic inflammatory disease is another condition caused due to it. This affects your reproductive organs and can affect your chances of pregnancy. Another complication caused due to this procedure is cervicitis. This is an inflammation that occurs in the cervix.

Additional read: Bladder Cancer: Here are 5 Crucial Signs That Women Should Never Ignore

Are There Any Alternatives to Douching?

It is better to let your vagina clean itself on its own. It forms a mucus that helps in keeping your vagina clean. This mucous cleans blood and other vaginal discharge from your body and keeps your vagina hygienic. 

The simplest way to keep your vagina clean is to wash it with water while taking a shower. Use a vaginal wash that does not affect the natural pH of the vagina. Your doctor can guide you about this product. Avoid scrubbing the vaginal area or inserting soap inside the vagina. Rinse thoroughly after using a wash and dry the area using a clean towel. That’s it! 

To increase your sexual health awareness, make sure you talk to gynecologists. They can guide you on why douching is not a good idea and recommend the ideal intimate wash for you. This way you can ensure proper hygiene of your vagina and keep infections away. If you see any symptoms of a problem, be proactive! Book an online or in-person consult with top women’s doctors on Bajaj Finserv Health. This takes only a few minutes and helps you get the right help at the right time.

Published on 23 Dec 2021Last updated on 13 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Rita Goel

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Rita Goel

, MBBS 1 , MD - Obstetrics and Gynaecology 3

Dr Rita Goel is a consultant gynecologist, Obstetrician and infertility specialist with an experience of over 30 years. Her outstanding guidance and counselling to patients and infertile couples helps them to access the best treatment possible. She addresses problemsof adolescents and teens especially PCOS and obesity. Besides being a renowned gynaecologist she also has an intense desire and passion to serve the survivors of emotional abuse and is also pursuing a Counselling and Family Therapy course from IGNOU. She helps patients deal with abuse recovery besides listening intently to their story.


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