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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

SMART Youth Answers: I'm a Vagina, not a Bouquet of Roses!

I'm really nervous about my vagina smelling bad, should I douche? 

We are all self-conscious about our bodies and its smells on a daily basis, that's why we buy Kim Kardashian's perfume! And our fears only get worse during sex, especially as women.  That's the last complaint we want to hear.  We've all seen the commercials telling us that we're right to be self-conscious and that douching is the only way to fix it.  So, it is time to tell the truth and get down to the basics of vaginas.

First, we'll get down to the nitty-gritty of what douching is.
Vaginal douches may consist of water, water mixed with vinegar, or water mixed with antiseptic chemicals (and scents).  The idea is that a woman is to "flush out" her vagina with this mixture in order to "clean" it and decrease any vagina 'smells'.

Now that that's all cleared up, we can move onto why you SHOULD NOT douche!

1. You're HURTING your Va-Jay-Jay!
Douching usually causes the vagina's lips to dry out, which increases tearing.  That means it increases the risk of contracting and/or spreading an STI or HIV.  The flip side of vaginal dryness is that it also decreases sexual pleasure!

2. Whatever the mixture is (vinegar, water, antiseptic chemicals), it's not your vagina's natural chemistry!
If anything, the change in chemistry of your vagina can increase an odd smell... which then defeats the purpose of trying to make your vagina smell like an "ocean breeze!" Your vagina is a vagina and has a vagina smell. Since we all have unique vagina's we have to keep track of what a "normal" odor is for you and what is an 'abnormal' smell. If you are worried, go to your GYN! It could be nothing, or it could be something. Always better to be SAFE than SORRY!

3. Your vagina cleans itself!
Your vagina is a pretty amazing body part.  It is built to be independent. The natural processes of your vagina makes it self-cleaning, which is pretty amazing when you think about it! Your vagina does not need outside chemicals helping her keep her room clean. She's got this.

With all that being said, here is something else to keep in mind -- Your vagina's odor will change depending on: 
  • What you eat (also changes the taste...some people say)
  • Your laundry detergent
  • Time of the month (before menstruation, definitely during, and after menstruation)
  • Types of soap
  • If there is an infection...Which is WAY MORE likely if you douche!
So, why is douching bad for the vagina? Douching can flush bacteria INTO the uterus and fallopian tubes, leading to infections like:
Bacterial Vaginosis: This causes an off-white vaginal discharge with usually a fishy sort of smell.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: This causes and inflammation of the uterus, fallopian tubes, and/or ovaries. It can cause scarring inside the reproductive organs and lead to infertility, and it is very painful (especially during intercourse) and causes irregular menstrual cycles.

After all this you probably want to just love your vagina and say "Be Free Girl!"

I think that should be enough... but I'll leave you with a message from your vagina:

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