So you like feeling fresh “down there”, but did you know douching may be the reason you are infertile? Douching can cause infertility. Douching washes microorganizms into the uterus causing conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease that are known to affect fertility. But despite this information, a third of white women and two thirds of black women douche regularly! A study form American Journal of Public Health shows that douching more than twice a year reduces fertility.
The study conducted by the journal used interviews with 840 married women in Washington State who had become pregnant after they stopped using contraception. The women reported douching frequency and the time it took for them to conceive. Based on these interviews, the researchers concluded that women who douched were on average 30% less likely than nondouchers to get pregnant. Douchers were also nearly three times as likely to experience infertility.
You may wonder about the validity of the research. The results held true even after researchers accounted for timing of douching, lifestyle factors and medical conditions. Most women did not douche immediately after sex. Women who douched were also more likely to smoke or drink coffee. Women who had a medical condition that required douching were not included in the study. The type of douche did not seem to matter. Just using water alone had the same effect as using a commercial preparation.
“There is absolutely no reason to douche for healthy women,” says Holly Atkinson, M.D. an editor for HealthNews. Women should be aware that douching has potential adverse effects on not only their fertility but also their general health. Researchers do not know how long it takes for a woman who stops douching to have her fertility restored. Dr. Atkinson recommends good hygiene for fertility and good health. “All women need to do is use good hygiene — good toilet habits and soap and water when bathing,” Dr Atkinson concludes.