A douche is more than a middle-school insult. An actual douche is a doodad some peeps use to flush out their vag. But there are much safer ways to give your V some TLC. Here are the dirty deets on douching.

Nearly 20 percent of women between 15 to 44 douche on the reg. A lot of ladies think they need to douche to keep their private bits “clean.” That’s just not true.

Vajayjays are self-cleaning ovens. They maintain vaginal flora and pH levels on their own. A vagina’s pH is on the acidic side to combat bad bacteria. Douching can screw the cooch and put you at risk for infections and other health issues.

Douching can throw a serious wrench in your vag’s natural balance. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology advises ditching douching altogether. The potential health risks aren’t worth it.

Vaginal infections

Don’t douche if you want to keep your lady bits fresh. Those who douche are five times more likely to get bacterial vaginosis than those who don’t. Douching can also lead to yeast infections and other fungal infections.

Cervicitis

Douching increases your risk for cervicitis, a condition that inflames the cervix. It’s usually contracted through sex, but that’s not always the case.

Common symptoms include:

  • irregular vaginal discharge
  • bleeding after sex
  • painful sex
  • foul odor
  • burning
  • itching
  • pain

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is typically transmitted sexually. Studies show douching can increase your risk of contraction by as much as 73 percent. The long-term complications of PID include reproductive organ damage and difficulty conceiving.

Pregnancy concerns

Douching should never be used as contraception. It can actually push sperm further into your uterus. Regardless, douching wouldn’t make a difference. Sperm is too fast. You wouldn’t be able to douche in time. Thankfully, there are lots of birth control methods that actually work.

Your vag can take care of itself. Douching is not necessary. In fact, it can do a lot more harm than good. If you’re worried about the state of your vaginal union talk to your doctor.

The best alternative to douching is regular cleansing. You don’t have to shower your whole body everyday. But you should give your private parts some extra attention.

Vaginas have their own natural taste and odor. And that’s okay! They taste and smell the way they’re supposed to. Your particular scent might fluctuate due to diet, hormones, sex, and exercise.

If you’re concerned about your odor there are simple ways to keep your coochie in tip-top shape.

You know your vagina best. Call your doctor if something looks, feels, or smells off. They can help figure out what’s going on. And remember, vaginal odor is totally normal. So skip the douche and rock your unique flavor.