Can Douching Cause a Yeast Infection?
Can douching cause a yeast infection?
Are you suffering from a yeast infection? Or perhaps you found yourself in a situation where you’re often getting vaginal yeast infections and you’re trying to find out what’s causing it? Douching may be the reason. In this article I’ll tell you why douching can cause yeast infections and all sorts of other health problems and I’ll help you find a solution that will solve your problem for good.
Douching simply means washing the vaginal area from the inside and can be done with soap and water or water and vinegar. There are also many types of douches and sprays sold in pharmacies that contain aromatic herbs, fragrances and antiseptics.
It is estimated that anywhere from 30-45% of women between ages 15-50 use a vaginal douche. In fact these numbers are gross underestimates because not all women admit to this habit. Much higher rates are observed in Latinos and African American women.
The chief reasons for a vaginal douche is to make the vaginal area smell fresh, wash away any menstrual blood, avoid getting sexually transmitted infections and prevent a pregnancy right after having sexual intercourse.
But health experts say that regular douching is not effective for prevention of any infection or pregnancy. The sole thing that douching does is keep the area clean and smell fresh. In fact regular douching may increase the risk of infections and pregnancy related complications.
What are the advantages of douching?
While many women do claim that douching makes them feel cleaner, there is almost no scientific evidence to support any other health benefit from regular douching.
What are the disadvantages of douching?
Experts insist that there are more disadvantages of douching than benefits. When douching is performed regularly, it can lead to the following problems:
- Increased risk of infections like bacterial vaginosis and vaginal yeast infection. The reason is that douching alters the balance of bacteria in the vagina and this allows the yeast to proliferate. Many studies have shown that women who discontinue douching are less likely to develop yeast infections.
- Research shows that douching can make you more prone to infections by more difficult to treat Candida strains, such as Candida galbrata resistant to common antifungal medications.
- Further regular douching can also increase the risk of sexually transmitted infections because it’s associated with greater mucosal inflammation, resulting in more HIV and Papilloma virus infections in women who douche regularly.
- Vaginal douching can also increase your risk of preterm labor.
- Other studies show that douching can increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory diseases. In addition, regular douching has also been associated with an increased risk of developing cervical cancer.
- Finally commercial douches contain all sorts of chemicals which may trigger an allergy, which in some cases may be worse than the yeast infection.
So should a woman douche?
The College of Obstetrics recommends that women should not douche regularly. Having vaginal odor is normal. Just a simple wash of the vagina with a natural feminine wash is adequate in most cases. If you find it difficult to get rid of vaginal odor, make sure you have your vaginal secretions tested to check if you’re suffering from bacterial vaginosis or a STD.
Because douching is also associated with an increased risk of yeast infections, it is important for women to discontinue this habit. If your yeast infections are troublesome and persist, you can choose from an array of treatments.
One of the most effective vaginal infection treatments, potent enough to solve even persistent, recurrent cases of yeast infections are Boric Acid Suppositories. Boric acid can cure a yeast infection within 7 days, and then you can use one suppository per week as a maintenace treatment for up to 6 months. Discuss this option with your doctor.
How can I prevent yeast infections in future?
If you want to cut the risk of getting a yeast infection, apart from ditching vaginal douching you can also:
- wear cotton or silk underwear
- choose ozone or UV sanitized swimming pools over chemically sanitized ones
- sleep naked to help keep vaginal area dry and airy
- lower your alcohol and caffeine intake
- if you’re using contraceptive pills, consider switching to progestin-only option
- if you’re using sexual lubricants, make sure you choose 100% natural ones to avoid the risk of irritation
- instead of using tampons, switch to a menstrual cup
- taking probiotic supplements for women can also help you reduce the risk of getting a yeast infection
- avoid steroid medications and antibiotics
For more information and tips about preventing yeast infections check my article about what else you can do to get rid of vaginal yeast infections for good.
If you regularly douche and notice you’re getting yeast infections, ditching the douche is the best thing you can do to start your recovery. Apart from using boric acid suppositories to get rid of the infection and follow maintenance treatment, you should follow a diet abundant in fruit, vegetables and probiotic-rich foods. You can also use probiotic supplements for an extra probiotic boost and you should recover for good in no time.
If you see that your symptoms don’t ease after your treatment and lifestyle changes, make sure you have your vaginal secretions tested to eliminate other causes of your symptoms, such as bacterial vaginosis or allergy.
I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please leave your comments and questions in the comment section below.