To douche or not to douche: Is it the best way to clean down there?
Is it actually healthy?
One in five women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44 douche, according to the U.S Department of Health. You can totally walk past all sorts of douche and vaginal cleaning products every time you're in the pharmacy. It's absolutely normal to want to feel fresh and clean, especially after your period. "Douche" even means to wash or soak in French, but should you douche?
Bottom line: no
Remember when they told you in one of those cringe-worthy "your body is changing books" that you're vagina was self-cleaning? They were actually right. A lot of douches or feminine cleaning brands promise they'll balance your PH, but your vag magically knows how to do that on its own. The chemicals in those products can actually throw you out of whack.
What happens when you douche?
So you're vagina actually produces this "good" bacteria that protects it. When you douche, it can lead to a growth of bad bacteria. You're actually more likely to get vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infections, and it can even make it harder for you to get pregnant.
I thought douches had all these benefits
Some people think that douches will get rid of any weird stank coming from your nether regions, but EverydayHealth basically compared douches to air fresheners. The smell isn't actually going away. You're just masking it.
Another thing, douches aren't birth control. You can't use a douche like Plan B or something. It won't stop a pregnancy or protect you from STDs after unprotected sex.
There's for real scary chemicals in there
A science journal called Environmental Health published a study that reported on a chemical called phthalates. This chemical is found in most feminine products including tampons, pads, and douches. The study found a ridiculous amount of phthalates in the urine of women who douched. Phthalates are basically absorbed through the vaginal walls.
Once they're in your body, they can totally wreck havoc. They'll mess with your hormone levels, increase the chance of developing a chronic disease, and cause reproductive and developmental problems. It could even affect baby if exposed while you're pregnant. Basically, don't douche.