Can Douching Lower My Chances of Getting Pregnant?

>> Thursday, March 5, 2015

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This week Lori wrote in and had a question about douching, as she had heard it could hurt her chances of becoming pregnant.

We have discussed many complications of douching previously, but I think it is worth repeating, as it so important. Many women struggle with unwanted vaginal discharge and slight changes in odor that can occur during the month and that have nothing to do with any type of vaginal infection, whether yeast or bacterial.

The wide availability of premixed over-the-counter douching products has given women a false belief that they are safe to use. In fact, many women are taught by their mothers and grandmothers that this is what women should do as part of their feminine hygiene ritual.

Douching solutions can contain betadine, vinegar, chemical solutions and/or fragrances which can cause an imbalance of the normal vaginal environment. This can lead to all kinds of vaginal infections and irritations that seem to never totally go away or get better.

The vagina is self-cleaning and maintains a low (acidic) pH. Douching, sex, hormone changes, menstrual blood and infections can each change the normal pH.

Douching forces fluid into the vagina, which can also force infection through the cervix into the uterus and fallopian tubes and even into the abdomen & pelvis. This is very dangerous as it can cause an infection called PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) that can infect your entire uterus and pelvis, requiring admission to the hospital for IV antibiotics. If PID is caught early, everything may resolve, however, women can end up with tubal scarring that is so severe they require in vitro-fertilization to become pregnant. So yes, in this way, douching can certainly hurt your chances of becoming pregnant.

The struggle to want to feel clean & wash away odors may make you wonder if the risks of traditional douching are worth it. They are not. But there is an alternative. Using the WaterWorks Therapeutic Cleansing System is the simplest way we have to safely maintain feminine hygiene without the worries of disrupting the normal vaginal flora or causing infection. Rather than forcing fluids upwards into the vagina, the patented design of the stainless steel WaterWorks nozzle allows water to flow gently downwards between the nozzle and the vaginal walls discouraging the incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

WaterWorks can be used every day when you shower. It uses only natural, plain tap water to clean the vagina. Its medical grade stainless steel nozzle and running water react with the vaginal mucosa to remove unwanted odors to give you more confidence. Many women use it after sex to rinse out semen right away, which can help prevent vaginal discharge and odor afterwards. I've had patients who have struggled with odor for years who find they have no odor after the first use! You can imagine their relief.

It's just not worth the risk to use any other type of traditional douche.
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