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Does Douching Prevent Pregnancy?

Does douching after sex prevent a girl from getting pregnant?
Clara*

Douching is when a girl rinses out her vagina with a solution, such as water and vinegar. Douching does not prevent pregnancy.

Douching should not be used as a method of birth control. Sperm are extremely fast swimmers — hundreds of thousands of them can reach the uterus by the time a girl even begins to douche. In addition, the pressure of the solution squirted into the vagina can even push sperm into the uterus.

Also, by douching, a girl may even increase her risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease (STD). Most women douche in an attempt to cleanse the vaginal area. But even this is not a good idea. The vagina has its own natural cleaning system that flushes out bacteria. So not only do the chemicals and perfumes in feminine sprays and douches not help, they can actually cause problems like allergic reactions, irritation, or infections in the vagina.

Reviewed by: Larissa Hirsch, MD
Date reviewed: January 2010

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