Tag Archives: Vaginal Douching

The washing of the VAGINA cavity or surface with a solution. Agents or drugs can be added to the irrigation solution.

Intravaginal practices, bacterial vaginosis, and women’s susceptibility to HIV infection: epidemiological evidence and biological mechanisms.

Lancet Infect Dis. 2005 Dec;5(12):786-94.

Intravaginal practices, bacterial vaginosis, and women’s susceptibility to HIV infection: epidemiological evidence and biological mechanisms.

Myer L, Kuhn L, Stein ZA, Wright TC Jr, Denny L

Infectious Diseases Epidemiology Unit, School of Public Health and Family Medicine, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. lmyer@cormack.uct.ac.za


Intravaginal practices such as “dry sex” and douching have been suggested as a risk factor that may increase women’s susceptibility to HIV infection. These behaviours appear common in different populations across sub-Saharan Africa, where practices include the use of antiseptic preparations, traditional medicines, or the insertion of fingers or cloths into the vagina. We systematically review the evidence for the association between women’s intravaginal practices and HIV infection. Although a number of cross-sectional studies have shown that prevalent HIV infection is more common among women reporting intravaginal practices, the temporal nature of this association is unclear. Current evidence suggests that bacterial vaginosis, which is a likely risk factor for HIV infection, may be a mediator of the association between intravaginal practices and HIV. Although biologically plausible mechanisms exist, there is currently little epidemiological evidence suggesting that intravaginal practices increase women’s susceptibility to HIV infection. Further research into factors that increase women’s susceptibility to HIV will help to inform the design of vaginal microbicides and other HIV prevention interventions.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

Prevalence, motivations, and adverse effects of vaginal practices in Africa and Asia: findings from a multicountry household survey.

J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2011 Jul;20(7):1097-109. Epub 2011 Jun 13.LME

Prevalence, motivations, and adverse effects of vaginal practices in Africa and Asia: findings from a multicountry household survey.

Hull T, Hilber AM, Chersich MF, Bagnol B, Prohmmo A, Smit JA, Widyantoro N, Utomo ID, Francois I, Tumwesigye NM, Temmerman M; WHO GSVP Study Group

Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.


BACKGROUND: Women worldwide use various vaginal practices to clean or modify their vulva and vagina. Additional population-level information is needed on prevalence and motivations for these practices, characteristics of users, and their adverse effects.

METHODS: This was a household survey using multistage cluster sampling in Tete, Mozambique; KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; Yogyakarta, Indonesia; and Chonburi, Thailand. In 2006-2007, vaginal practices and their motivations were examined using structured interviews with women 18-60 years of age (n=3610).

RESULTS: Prevalence, frequency, and motivations varied markedly. Two thirds of women in Yogyakarta and Chonburi reported one or more practices. In Yogyakarta, nearly half ingest substances with vaginal effects, and in Chonburi, external washing and application predominate. In Tete, half reported three or four current practices, and a quarter reported five or more practices. Labial elongation was near universal, and 92% of those surveyed cleanse internally. Two third’s in KwaZulu-Natal practiced internal cleansing. Insertion of traditional solid products was rare in Chonburi and Yogyakarta, but one tenth of women in KwaZulu-Natal and nearly two thirds of women in Tete do so. Multivariate analysis of the most common practice in each site showed these were more common among less educated women in Africa and young urban women in Asia. Explicit sexual motivations were frequent in KwaZulu-Natal and Tete, intended for pleasure and maintaining partner commitment. Practices in Chonburi and Yogyakarta were largely motivated by femininity and health. Genital irritation was common at African sites.

CONCLUSIONS: Vaginal practices are not as rare, exotic, or benign as sometimes assumed. Limited evidence of their biomedical consequences remains a concern; further investigation of their safety and sexual health implications is warranted.

This article can be purchased in this LINK

A cross cultural study of vaginal practices and sexuality: Implications for sexual health

Soc Sci Med. 2010 Feb;70(3):392-400. Epub 2009 Nov 10.LME

A cross cultural study of vaginal practices and sexuality: Implications for sexual health

Martin Hilber A, Hull TH, Preston-Whyte E, Bagnol B, Smit J, Wacharasin C, Widyantoro N; WHO GSVP Study Group

Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, University of Burn, Finkenhubelweg 11, 3012 Bern, Switzerland. amartinhilber@ispm.unibe.ch


Between 2005 and 2006, we investigated vaginal practices in Yogyakarta, Indonesia; Tete, Mozambique; KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa; and Bangkok and Chonburi, Thailand. We sought to understand women’s practices, their motivations for use and the role vaginal practices play in women’s health, sexuality and sense of wellbeing. The study was carried out among adult women and men who were identified as using, having knowledge or being involved in trade in products. Further contacts were made using snowball sampling. Across the sites, individual interviews were conducted with 229 people and 265 others participated in focus group discussions. We found that women in all four countries have a variety of reasons for carrying out vaginal practices whose aim is to not simply ‘dry’ the vagina but rather decrease moisture that may have other associated meanings, and that they are exclusively “intravaginal” in operation. Practices, products and frequency vary. Motivations generally relate to personal hygiene, genital health or sexuality. Hygiene practices involve external washing and intravaginal cleansing or douching and ingestion of substances. Health practices include intravaginal cleansing, traditional cutting, insertion of herbal preparations, and application of substances to soothe irritated vaginal tissue. Practices related to sexuality can involve any of these practices with specific products that warm, dry, and/or tighten the vagina to increase pleasure for the man and sometimes for the woman. Hygiene and health are expressions of femininity connected to sexuality even if not always explicitly expressed as such. We found their effects may have unexpected and even undesired consequences. This study demonstrates that women in the four countries actively use a variety of practices to achieve a desired vaginal state. The results provide the basis for a classification framework that can be used for future study of this complex topic.

This article can be purchased in this LINK