Early onset of vaginal douching is associated with false beliefs and high-risk behavior

Academic Article


  • Background: Vaginal douching in young women has been linked to a variety of adverse reproductive health consequences. Objectives: To explore associations with early onset (≤15 years old) of douching. Study Design: A confidential survey was self-administered to convenience samples of women attending seven primary care clinics. Results: The mean age of the 726 evaluable participants was 27.9 years (ranges, 14-63 years). Twenty-two percent of participants believed douching "kills germs that cause infections, " and 27% agreed that "women believe douching prevents pregnancy." A history of having ever used douching products was reported by 73%. Of those who had douched, 24% began the practice at age ≤15 years. Compared with those who began at a later age, those who began at age ≤15 years were also more likely to have begun sexual intercourse under 16 years of age (AOR 2.63; P < 0.001), to believe that douching kills germs that cause STDs (AOR = 2.15 P = 0.004), and to currently douche more than once per month (AOR = 2.08; P = 0.009). Conclusion: This study indicates that early onset of vaginal douching is associated with false beliefs and sexual debut at younger age.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Oh MK; Funkhouser E; Simpson T; Brown P; Merchant J
  • Start Page

  • 689
  • End Page

  • 693
  • Volume

  • 30
  • Issue

  • 9