“It is best to let your vagina clean itself. The vagina
cleans itself naturally by making mucous. The mucous
washes away blood, semen, and vaginal discharge”.1

Umbrella

What may the Vaginal and Vulval Hygiene Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Genital Care/Health/Hygiene
  • Vaginal Care/Health/Hygiene
  • Vulval Care/Health/Hygiene

Self-Cleaning

Is the vagina self-cleaning?

In Douching: What Is the Best Way To Clean My Vagina? the Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov elaborate on:

“It is best to let your vagina clean itself. The vagina cleans itself naturally by making mucous. The mucous washes away blood, semen, and vaginal discharge”.2

Douching

What is douching?

DotS the definition of douching may vary. In Feminine Odor Problems? What Every Woman Needs To Know the (United States) Cleveland Clinic’s definition is:

“The term, douche, which means “to wash” or “to shower” in French, refers to cleansing the vagina using a solution of water mixed with another fluid — often vinegar, baking soda or some sort of perfume”.3

In Douching: What Is Douching? Womenshealth.gov’s definition is:

“The word “douche” means to wash or soak. Douching is washing or cleaning out the inside of the vagina with water or other mixtures of fluids. Most douches are sold in stores as prepackaged mixes of water and vinegar, baking soda, or iodine. The mixtures usually come in a bottle or bag. You squirt the douche upward through a tube or nozzle into your vagina. The water mixture then comes back out through your vagina”.4

Bath/Shower

Is douching different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower?

In Douching: What Is Douching? Womenshealth.gov’s explain:

“Douching is different from washing the outside of your vagina during a bath or shower. Rinsing the outside of your vagina with warm water will not harm your vagina. But, douching can lead to many different health problems.

Most doctors recommend that women do not douche”.5

What can douching lead to?

In Douching: Why Should Women Not Douche? the Womenshealth.gov elaborate on:

“Douching can cause an overgrowth of harmful bacteria. This can lead to a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis. If you already have a vaginal infection, douching can push the bacteria causing the infection up into the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious health problem.

Douching is also linked to other health problems”.6

Keeping Clean

How may women keep their vagina clean?

In Essential Information: Caring for Your Skin Down There – Cleansing the (Australian) Caredownthere elaborate on:

Vaginal and Vulval Hygiene “Just in case you have been wondering if your vulval problem is happening because you aren’t washing enough….you don’t have a hygiene problem. Using soap, particularly if this is done frequently, will in fact make your skin more sensitive. It is best to avoid soap, particularly perfumed liquid soaps, abrasive washes and wet wipes. A soap substitute, available from your chemist, or simply soaking in a bath with a couple of handfuls of ordinary salt thrown in is the best way to clean vulval skin”.7

Postmenopause Odour

Postmenopause or after menopause, may vaginal odour change?

In Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour [+ Image] the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) elaborate on:

“After menopause, odour may change as the bacteria in the vagina also changes. The odour will be different compared to when you were still having periods”.8

In Feminine Odor Problems? What Every Woman Needs To Know the Cleveland Clinic explain:

“Lack of estrogen can be the cause if you’re past menopause and are experiencing vaginal odor. Your doctor will be able to give you an accurate diagnosis and discuss treatment options”.9

Health Care Provider

What if I am worried about what is going on down there?

If you are worried about what is going on down there, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. The JH note:

“If you are worried about the odour of your vulva and vagina, and/or have symptoms such as itching, burning, irritation, soreness, painful sex or painful urination, see your doctor”.10

In Vagina: What’s Typical, What’s Not – What Are Signs or Symptoms of Vaginal Problems? the (United States) Mayo Clinic explain:

“Consult your health care provider if you notice:

  • A change in the color, odor or amount of vaginal discharge
  • Vaginal redness or itching
  • Vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex or after menopause
  • A mass or bulge in the vagina
  • Pain during intercourse”.11

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted:

Sources

  1. Douching: What Is the Best Way To Clean My Vagina? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 05 October 2022
  2. Douching: What Is the Best Way To Clean My Vagina? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 05 October 2022
  3. Feminine Odor Problems? What Every Woman Needs To Know. 10 June 2021. Cleveland Clinic https://health.clevelandclinic.org/feminine-odor-problems-what-you-should-know-about-douching/ Accessed: 05 October 2022
  4. Douching: What Is Douching? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 05 October 2022
  5. Douching: What Is Douching? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 05 October 2022
  6. Douching: Why Should Women Not Douche? Page Last Updated: 22 February 2021. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/douching Accessed: 05 October 2022
  7. Essential Information: Caring for Your Skin Down There – Cleansing. Caredownthere https://www.caredownthere.com.au/_pages/information_care.html Accessed: 05 October 2022
  8. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour. Last Updated: 28 July 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://www.jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 05 October 2022
  9. Feminine Odor Problems? What Every Woman Needs To Know. 10 June 2021. Cleveland Clinic https://health.clevelandclinic.org/feminine-odor-problems-what-you-should-know-about-douching/ Accessed: 05 October 2022
  10. Vulva & Vaginal Irritation: Odour. Last Updated: 28 July 2022 | Last Reviewed: 09 April 2021. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/vulva-vagina-ovaries-uterus/vulva-vaginal-irritation Accessed: 05 October 2022
  11. Vagina: What’s Typical, What’s Not – What Are Signs or Symptoms of Vaginal Problems? 18 January 2022. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/womens-health/in-depth/vagina/art-20046562 Accessed: 05 October 2022
Topic Last Updated: 05 October 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 05 October 2022

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