Associations between Vaginal Douching Practice and Lower Genital Tract Symptoms and Menstrual Disorders among Young Women: A Search for Risk Modulating Factors


This study assessed the associations between vaginal douching practice and the adverse reproductive tract outcomes, and the risk modulating factors among young women. The data source was a cross-sectional population based sample of 1488 women aged 18-35 years in a university community. Self-administered socio-demographic and female genital hygiene practices questionnaire were used to survey the participants. The overall prevalence of vaginal douching was 79.8%. Pelvic pain, vaginal itching, and vaginal discharge were significantly associated with higher odds for douching. Moreover, participants with menstrual disorders such as menorrhagia, oligomenorrhea, and inter-menstrual bleeding douche more often than those without these disorders. Early-onset, higher-frequency, and prolonged douching, as well as douching with commercial vaginal deodorant and inserting the nozzle of the douching tube inside the vagina were associated with higher rate of pelvic and menstrual disorders. The present study revealed a paradoxical relation between vaginal douching and adverse reproductive tract disorders, which supports the hypothesis of confounding by indication. The direction of the association is dependent on several modifiable and unmodifiable risk factors.

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C. E. Ekpenyong and K. G. Davies, "Associations between Vaginal Douching Practice and Lower Genital Tract Symptoms and Menstrual Disorders among Young Women: A Search for Risk Modulating Factors," Advances in Sexual Medicine, Vol. 3 No. 4, 2013, pp. 76-84. doi: 10.4236/asm.2013.34012.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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