- Vaginal yeast infections
- Bacterial vaginosis (a vaginal bacterial infection)
- Pregnancy issues, such as early childbirth and ectopic pregnancy
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Vaginal dryness and irritation
A serious health condition called pelvic inflammatory disease can also occur after douching with a high-pressure applicator, which can push germs up into reproductive organs.
What to do instead of douching
The OWS says that you shouldn’t do anything instead of douching.
It’s best to allow your vagina to cleanse itself, as it was built to do. It does this by making mucous, which helps flush out blood, vaginal discharge and semen.
You can simply wash the outside of your vagina regularly with mild soap and water to cleanse away whatever was discharged in the mucous. This can help cut down on vaginal odors, itching and recurring infections.
“Try to avoid using scented body wash and just stick to warm water and gentle soaps that usually don’t strip away all that good bacteria and flora,” Gumucio advises.
The OWS and Gumucio also recommend steering clear of scented feminine hygiene products, like perfumed tampons, sprays and powders.
“Some of the over-the-counter products tend to make your symptoms worse or irritate your skin,” Gumucio shares.
When to seek medical advice
If vaginal odor, discharge, redness, burning or pain during sex or urination don’t clear up in about a week, the Cleveland Clinic suggests making an appointment to see your doctor.
Gumucio explains that, “if you smell a persistent and foul odor, or if any odor is accompanied by a thick or greenish discharge, you may have an infection. If you have pain, rawness or sores in your vaginal area, it’s time to consult your doctor.”