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Douching Cessation May Reduce Risk of Bacterial Vaginosis

Those who douched after menstruation had fewer infections when they stopped the practice

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Women who regularly use douching products to cleanse the vagina after menstruation may reduce the risk of bacterial vaginosis by stopping the practice, according to research published in the June issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Rebecca M. Brotman, Ph.D., 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 four weeks, then ceased for a 12-week observation period, after which time they decided whether to resume douching or continue cessation for the final four 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 bacterial vaginosis 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 bacterial vaginosis (adjusted odds ratio, 0.23).

"We believe that this pilot study presents preliminary findings that can be utilized in the planning of future trials," the authors write. "This small sample suggests that a short education intervention on douching is effective and compliance with self-collected vaginal sampling and weekly submissions is excellent. The study also reinforces the importance of collecting menstrual bleeding information on daily diaries."

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