Vaginal Douching


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo review current literature on vaginal douching.Data SourcesMEDLINE, CINAHL, and Cochrane databases from 1997 to 2001, using keywords douche or douching; 2001 Web sites of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; and Internet search engines for information about current retail sales of douches.Study SelectionMEDLINE included 67 records, CINAHL 18, and Cochrane 2. Abstracts of articles in English were reviewed, and those pertaining to vaginal douching practices were included. MEDLINE had 44 pertinent articles, CINAHL 11, and Cochrane 1. References from these articles were reviewed and included when appropriate.Data ExtractionArticles were reviewed and summarized.Data SynthesisVaginal douching is a common practice for women in the United States. Douching is associated with adverse reproductive and gynecologic outcomes including bacterial vaginosis, preterm birth, low-birth-weight infants, pelvic inflammatory disease, chlamydial infection, tubal pregnancy, higher rates of HIV transmission, and cervical cancer. Cultural beliefs and educational factors strongly influence douching practices.ConclusionsNursing assessment of women should include information on vaginal douching practices and beliefs. Nurses should use culturally appropriate educational strategies to discourage women of all ages from using vaginal douches as part of routine feminine hygiene because of the associated risks. Further research is needed on factors that influence Women's beliefs and douching practices.

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