News: Will risk of bacterial vaginosis drop when patients stop douching?

August 1, 2008

Stopping douching products after menstruation may reduce risk of bacterial vaginosis.

Women who regularly use douching products to cleanse the vagina after menstruation may reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis (BV) by stopping the practice, according to research published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Rebecca M. Brotman, PhD, of Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center in Baltimore, and colleagues conducted a study of 39 women who reported using douching products. The women used the products for 4 weeks, then stopped for a 12-week observation period, after which they decided whether to resume douching or continue cessation for the final 4 weeks of the study. Twice-weekly self-collected vaginal samples were taken and a final sample was collected during the last week.

During the douching cessation phase, the odds of developing BV was 0.76 compared with the odds during the initial douching stage, the investigators found. For women who had reported douching to cleanse the vagina after menstruation, cessation significantly reduced the risk of BV (adjusted odds ratio, 0.23).

Brotman RM, Ghanem KG, Klebanoff MA, et al. The effect of vaginal douching cessation on bacterial vaginosis: a pilot study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2008;198:628.e1-628.e7.