I got my period last month. When am I supposed to “douche”?

female gender symbolThank you for your question! Douching, which is cleaning the inside of the vagina with soap and water, vinegar or pre-packaged solutions isn’t necessary and actually can be harmful. In fact, most doctors tell their patients not to douche. That’s because, douching changes the normal environment (pH) which upsets the balance of bacteria that normally exist in the vagina. This can lead to vaginal irritation and infection. If a women has a sexually transmitted infection, douching puts her at a much higher risk of developing a serious condition called “pelvic inflammatory disease” or PID.

It’s good to wash the outside of your vagina and your vulva during a bath or shower. Use warm water and mild soap and wash your vulva and around the vaginal opening but not inside. Nothing should be placed in the vagina such as soap, or any scented or unscented liquids. See your health care provider if your vagina has an unpleasant odor or you notice a discharge from your vagina that’s different for you, redness/swelling around the opening to your vagina or burning when you pass urine (pee).​