Many women don’t like their intimate smell and are extremely embarrassed. For them, the vagina is a dirty organ that must be cleaned with gels and other intimate soaps. But in order to have a “good personal hygiene,” some women put their health at risk and engage in practices that can lead to serious problems. Douching, particularly, has been linked to the highest risk of ovarian cancer.
Douching involves injecting water and other products for personal hygiene inside the vagina, using a douche bag or other devices. This practice was popular in ancient times, because it gave woman contraceptive virtues, but science has proved the contrary.
Contrary to popular belief, the vagina is very clean. It is an organ that cleans itself and is capable of protecting itself naturally against bacteria and infections. This is the main function of the vaginal flora, which is made up of many protective bacteria that promote local immunity. In addition, the vagina has an adequate acidity (between 4 and 4.5), to prevent the development of bacteria that can cause mycoses.
The vagina does not need to be cleaned. Making regular douches and using harsh products will not help to cleanse the intimate area, but rather increase the risk of infections. In fact, douching disrupts the balance of the vaginal flora and alters its ecosystem by eliminating bacteria, which makes the vagina more susceptible to irritation, infections and fungal infections.
This is a dangerous practice, aggressive and has even been linked to higher risks of ovarian cancer!
According to a study by researchers at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and published in the Journal of Epidemiology, douching multiples the risk of ovarian cancer. The results of this study have emerged after years of research. The researchers followed more than 41,654 women in the United States and Puerto Rico between 2003 and 2009, aged 35 to 74 without breast cancer history, but having sisters affected by the disease. The participants had filled various questionnaires on their lifestyle, their health, their fertility, but also on the type of personal hygiene (douching frequency, use of talc …).
In 2014, researchers repeated the study and analyzed the medical data to assess their impact on ovarian cancer. Result: out of the 41,654 women who participated in the study, 154 developed ovarian cancer, and women who were practicing douching 12 months before the start of the study were 20% of diagnosed cases. This practice has been associated with risk of cancer of the ovaries higher than 80%.
According Clarice R. Weinberg, the National Institute of Environmental Health Science, no study had previously found a link between ovarian cancer and douching. She also stressed that douching is unnecessary since the vagina is able to clean itself, and that this practice disturbs the natural balance of the vaginal flora, causing serious infections.
The researchers also assessed the link between ovarian cancer and talc. This product was used, a year before the study, with 12% of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and 14% of those who had not developed the disease. The researchers therefore concluded that there was no significant link between ovarian cancer and the use of talc.
Given these scientific data, we can conclude that douching should be avoided to prevent all kinds of infections, irritations and prevent ovarian cancer.
Tips for good personal hygiene
It is advisable to wash the external part of the vulva, using pure water. Avoid venturing a little further inside your vagina and do not use products labeled as “soft” and specially designed to clean this intimate part. They contain chemicals that disrupt the ecosystem of the vagina and can cause irritation.