If you believe you need to douche to keep your vagina clean and odor-free, you’re not alone.
This practice has been ingrained in our culture as normal for as long as I can remember.
But The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises women to steer clear of rinsing their vaginas.
Regardless of what you’re experiencing or how ‘fresh’ you feel down there, researchers have found no medical reason for women to douche.
In fact, this practice can upset the delicate balance of bacteria that keeps your vagina healthy.
Your body does a great job of maintaining balance, and the vagina cleans itself to keep your pH levels ideal.
Washing out your vagina doesn’t get rid of odor (odor that is typically normal and healthy for women), and can increase your risk of vagina dryness, irritation, and infection.
So what should you do instead?
Leave your vagina alone. Let your vagina do its job of self-cleaning. You can use gentle cleansers on the vulva (outer parts). But put down those deodorants, perfumes, and sprays. And definitely do not wash the inside of your vagina.
It also helps to wear breathable cotton underwear and ditch the panties all together as often as you can (like when you sleep).
Try a pH cleanser designed specifically for the health of your vagina. Many soaps and body washes can offset your natural bacteria levels and irritate the delicate skin of the vagina and vulva due to their high pH. Use products with clean ingredients that are pH-balanced such as HER Intimate Care.
Take care of your immune health. Like the rest of your body, your vaginal health is heavily dependent on your lifestyle. When you eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise, spend quality time with people you love, and take care of your mental wellbeing… it helps to support balanced vaginal health.
It’s also important to avoid certain habits like smoking, heavy drinking, excess caffeine, sugar, and fatty foods.
Remember that vaginas have a natural odor. They aren’t meant to smell like flowers.
However, there are certain times when you may need to seek support from your healthcare provider. If you notice a strong vaginal odor, any changes in vaginal discharge, irritation, or other signs of vaginal discomfort, talk with your healthcare provider.