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Sex Transm Dis. 2006 Apr;33(4):215-9.

Vaginal douche practices among black women at risk: exploring douching prevalence, reasons for douching, and sexually transmitted disease infection.

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Department of Health Behavior, School of Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0022, USA.



The objective of this study was to identify douching patterns and their relation to sexually transmitted disease (STD) among black women seeking an STD evaluation.


This study was a cross-sectional survey with biologic testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea infection.


Of 891 participants, 46.1% were current douchers. Commonly identified reasons for douching were to cleanse after menses (65.4%) and to feel fresh (42.2%). Frequent douching was associated with douching after sex (P<0.001), to alleviate an itch (P<0.001), and to feel fresh (P<0.001). Women who douched during menses (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=4.78; 95% confidence interval [CI]=1.13-20.13) and to alleviate an itch (AOR=3.66; 95% CI=1.00-13.41) were more likely to have a current chlamydial infection.


Douching was common among this high-risk population of black women. Prospective studies are needed to determine the consequences of douching and any mediating effects of women's motivation for the behavior on reproductive health.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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