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Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jun;52(2):241-5. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2013.04.015.

Cervicovaginal secretions protect from human papillomavirus infection: effects of vaginal douching.

Author information

  • 1Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Buddhist Tzu Chi General Hospital, Tzu Chi University, Hualien, Taiwan. hidrchu@gmail.com



Cervicovaginal secretions (CVSs) are reported to protect against human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Although vaginal douching is known to clear both viral inoculants and CVSs, its effect on CVSs in women with HPV infection is unknown.


The in vitro HPV pseudovirus infection system was used to test the protective activity of CVSs against HPV infection in samples collected before and after vaginal douching. To simulate different time points of vaginal douching in relation to viral exposure, the cell CVS reconstitute was washed after different viral exposure durations.


In the CVSs of premenopausal and postmenopausal women who did not perform douching, the CVSs inhibited HPV infection by 56.7 ± 1.8% and 53.6 ± 2.5%, respectively; in women who had performed douching, the CVSs inhibited HPV infection by only 31.2 ± 7.1%, which was significantly lower (p < 0.01). Cell washing effectively cleared 60-90% of the infectious load with the greatest activity occurring within 30 minutes after inoculation. In the presence of CVSs, a sustained inhibition of HPV infection existed for up to 8 hours after HPV exposure, and cell washing increased the clearance to up to 82-93% of the infectious load.


This study confirms the protective activity of CVSs against HPV infection regardless of age. In this in vitro study, the net effect of douching was found to be beneficial.

Copyright © 2013. Published by Elsevier B.V.


cervicovaginal secretion; human papillomavirus infection; vaginal douche

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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