Blog of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research

Don’t Douche!

January 25th, 2010 by Elizabeth Kissling

Unassembled douchebag and accessories.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.

6 responses to “Don’t Douche!”

  1. gingamc says:

    heck yes! reserving douche and douchebag for anti-feminist people and actions is the best. let’s start a linguistic revolution.

  2. Jane says:

    I’d like to know where they draw these conclusions from, my experience (personal and professional) is that all those products listed significantly increase the risks, logically I would see why that is the case, but not how they could find otherwise.

  3. Elizabeth Kissling says:

    Jane, you may want to take a look at the actual study, if you can get your hands on it. My post was based on the abstract, as I don’t have access to that particular research journal. I am no statistician, but my understanding is that these results don’t show that those other practices do not increase the risk of BV – they probably do – only that they do not show the high correlation to BV that douching shows.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Kripa Patwardhan, re:Cycling and re:Cycling, SexualHealthAccessAB. SexualHealthAccessAB said: A link established between douching and bacterial vaginosis: Don’t Douche! […]

  5. […] Edited to add: This just in! Ryan Henson Creighton and I have exchanged a couple of emails today that were pretty funny in and of themselves. He didn’t mean to “incite the ire of the Menstruati”.  He’s still hazy on whose authority afforded him the position of menstrual comedy I am still curious  about what position of authority he’s imposed his moritorium and granted  our amnesty from, but we have, indeed, been reprieved from the “Unfunny iPad/Menstrual Pad Joke-Telling Douchebag Hall of Fame”.  So the upshot at the moment is:  Apple have a dubiously effective new product, and we got a prize!  And remember, kids, douche is bad for you! […]

  6. Lisa Leger says:

    For more on vaginal health, check into the use of probiotics to correct both yeast and bacterial infections. There is a product called Gynophilus originally from France and popular worldwide that have been recently launched in Canada. Its a probiotic capsule used as a vaginal suppository that is shown in clinical trials to reduce populations of various bacteria and candida albicans as well as increasing populations of beneficial bacteria to restore the healthy ecology in the vagina.
    I am having good feedback from pharmacy patients and a Justisse client with a stubborn yeast problem finally got results when over-the-counter anti-fungals were not working. Go to for details. By the way – oral probiotic supplements are also shown to reduce recurrence of bladder infection in women who are prone to them. Here’s a link for you on that subject:

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