Remember my rant about “vagina wash” back in November? No? I’ll wait while you read it.
Anyway, it’s not just a political rant: there are new data that indicate that douching probably causes bacterial vaginosis. A research team studying the association between douching and bacterial vaginosis published their findings in the February 2010 issue of Sexually Transmitted Diseases. The researchers were interested in determining whether the association between douching and BV is causal, or if the association exists because women douche when they experience symptoms of BV. They compared numerous personal hygiene practices with douching.
A longitudinal study of the vaginal flora of 3620 women – involving a whopping total of 13,517 gynecological visits – found that that only one personal hygiene behavior correlates strongly with bacterial vaginosis: douching. The researchers found no statistically significant correlation between BV and type of underwear (nylon vs. cotton); menstrual product (tampons vs. pads; pads and tampons vs. pads); use of pads or panty liners when not menstruating; weekly or greater use of hygiene spray, powder, or towlettes; or daily versus less than daily bathing and showering.
The researchers concluded that “[d]ouching, but not other feminine hygiene behaviors, is significantly associated with BV, providing additional evidence that douching may be causally associated with BV and is not simply a response to BV symptoms.”
So let’s reserve douche and douchebag to describe anti-feminist people and actions: douches are unnecessary, harmful to women, and sold to women in insulting ways.