Researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences were the first to link douching with nearly double the increased risk of developing ovarian cancer. Other related problems associated with regular douching include yeast infections, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, reduced fertility, HIV, and other STDs. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly advise against douching. Interventions advising women not to douche are needed. According to the CDC, as of 2016, 20,000 American women are diagnosed with ovarian cancer annually and of those, 14,500 die from it. This is an approximate 72% fatality rate. It should be explained to patients that douching products don’t fall under the same kind of safety regulations as drugs. Douche products are considered ‘cosmetics’ which means these products don’t have to be tested for safety.
Integrative providers should discuss feminine hygiene with all patients who report chronic vaginal infections, or those young patients entering the adult population who may not have vital health education on this topic.