Vaginal Discharge and Odor Relief

>> Thursday, June 30, 2011

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Good afternoon, I hope you all had a good week. The best weekend is coming up with all the yummy barbecues and ‘Fourth of July’ festivities.

This week the question that has been asked is: what should you do if your discharge has an odor with it that doesn’t go away after bathing and douching for a week. This is one of the most common benign problems that I hear about from my patients. But for some, the problem is so persistent and bothersome that they become desperate to try ANYTHING that will make it stop so that they can return to normal. Here is what Sarah wrote:

Dear Dr. Boyd, I’ve hesitated to write to you as I have been having trouble with vaginal discharge for awhile now and no matter what I do it keeps coming back. At times there is a foul odor that comes and goes. I saw where you talked about the WaterWorks device and how it may help with discharge and odor. Can you please help me? I am frustrated. I feel that I am a clean person but don’t understand why I keep having discharge.

Well, Sarah, your first inclination may be to douche so lets talk about that. Douching means to soak or rinse out the vagina. Usually water, vinegar, lemon juice, baking soda or iodine is used, but other mixtures have been used as well. This practice has been shown in recent years to cause more harm than good because it can destroy the normal vaginal flora that is present to maintain a normal healthy environment. The vagina is effective at self-cleaning due to the fact that it maintains an acidic pH. It is this that keeps the yeast and abnormal (smelly) bacteria from over growing. But there are ways that the pH can be thrown off, such as from normal period blood or from semen, because they are physiologic pH and disrupt the normal vaginal flora.

There are many reasons we as women would want to reach for a douche: to clean the vagina, to rinse out period blood after the cycle is over, to clean out a foul odor, to clean out sexually transmitted diseases or wash out semen. But douching can cause more harm than good. If you have a true bacterial or yeast infection you may need a prescription to help get rid of it. Douching can also make an STD worse by forcing the infection up through your cervix and causing infection in your fallopian tubes. This can cause infertility. Douching is also not a good way to prevent pregnancy because the forcefulness of the stream of fluid again can force the semen through your cervix and carry the sperm closer to the egg.

Your discharge could well be caused by a bacterial infection. Bacterial infections are not dangerous and they are treatable. Your doctor can prescribe an antibiotic pill or gel to eliminate the infection. If the odor remains, which it may, after the infection has cleared up DON’T DOUCHE!!! As we've seen, over the counter douches are dangerous. However, there is a product out there now that goes a step farther: WaterWorks Feminine Cleansing System. The reason it is so awesome is that it is FDA cleared for eliminating vaginal odor and it is chemical free. And it uses plain tap water from your shower and doesn't use soaps or harsh chemicals of any kind. WaterWorks is the only feminine cleansing system with the patented stainless steel nozzle that reacts with the water and eliminates odor from your vagina.

The best part is that it’s completely reusable and can be used every day (or less, it can be used as often as needed) to clean the vagina. All parts are made of sturdy materials that are easily cleaned for the next use. When I first learned about it I could hardly believe it, but many of my patients, personal friends and even I have used it and can testify that it truly works. I know so many of you who have struggled for years trying everything over and over, and I want you to know WaterWorks is what you’ve been looking for.

Until next week,

Dr. Susan Boyd

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