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Birth Control Overview (cont.)

Is douching an effective method of birth control?

Douching is a method of rinsing out the vagina. Women use water, vinegar, or pharmaceutical products which are introduced into the vagina using a squeeze bottle or rubber tubing. It has long been thought that women need to cleanse their vaginas and reduce odor. Some women douche after menstrual periods or sex so as to avoid contracting a sexually transmitted disease. Some also believe that douching following intercourse will prevent pregnancy. Douching is not recommended as a form of cleansing, birth control, or STD protection.

  • Douching is not recommended. This practice has the potential to alter the delicate chemical and ecological balance within the vagina. Douching may actually facilitate an infection or spread pre-existing infection into other pelvic organs such as the uterus.
  • Douching after sex does not prevent pregnancy. In fact, the practice may increase a woman's chance of developing an ectopic pregnancy, a serious condition that can be life threatening, by causing an infection in the Fallopian tubes.
  • STDs and douching: This method does not protect against STDs. It actually may increase the chance of developing pelvic inflammatory disease and transmitting STDs.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/26/2016
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