Douching, Spotting and Swelling, Oh My… Questions for the Gyno!

Playing Why Using Mouthwash ‘Down There’ Is NEVER a Good Idea!

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A viewer writes to The Doctors saying she has seen some women online use mouthwash as a douche and wants to know if it’s a good way to clean down there. OB/GYN expert Dr. Nita Landry says to never douche and explains why.

“For some reason, it will not die,” says Nita, referring to douching. 1 in 5 women ages 15 to 44 still douche, which means they use water or another fluid mixture to wash or clean out their vagina. For the women who say they use it as a preventative measure Dr. Nita wants them to know, “your vagina has it covered.”

There is a balance of bacteria in the vagina that maintains a certain level of acidity. This acidic environment decreases the probability of getting certain infections and irritations. However, when women douche or use gels and creams down there, it disrupts that balance and it increases the probability of getting things like bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections and contracting HIV if having sex with someone who is already infected. 

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For the women who are worried about odor, Dr. Nita wants them to know they shouldn't try to mask the smell, they should figure out the underlying cause. Also, if you have an active bacterial infection, douching can wash the bacteria from the vagina, up the uterus, into the fallopian tubes and ovaries and that can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID is associated with chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
 
Additionally, douching has been associated with preterm labor, irritation and all these other negative things! “I know as women we only get one vagina, and we really want to help, we want it to be spectacular, don’t do it!” exclaims Dr. Nita.

Next, The Doctors get a question from a woman who says she has been spotting through periods and wearing a panty liner every day. She wants to know if that’s safe. 

Dr. Nita says it is important to figure out why she is spotting. It could be polyps, fibroids, certain medication, something hormonal or, even in some instances, cancer or hyperplasia. 

Dr. Nita says no one should be wearing a panty liner all the time. Doing so increases the probability of irritation and also infection because keeping that area really moist makes it a good place for yeast to grow.

Last up, Chrissy is 22-weeks pregnant and says her gums became inflamed around 12-weeks and it’s been pretty constant since then. She wants to know if this is normal and if The Doctors can help. 

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Dr. Nita says it sounds like pregnancy-related gingivitis. Due to hormonal changes in pregnancy, women can have increased blood flow and because of that, the gums become irritated, swollen and sensitive. In addition, it can hinder the body’s response to bacteria and that can increase the probability of plaque build-up and gum disease.

Plastic surgeon Dr. Andrew Ordon notes that Chrissy also has braces which may have attributed to her problem. Dr. Nita says she would recommend Chrissy see a dentist regularly. She advises her to use a shield if getting any x-rays and lets her know that it is typically safe for a pregnant woman to have local anesthetic if needed. 

Additionally, Chrissy should use a soft bristle toothbrush, brush twice a day and floss at least once. To deal with pregnancy gingivitis Chrissy can use a warm water and salt rinse. Sometimes the dentist may need to do a debridement or prescribe antibiotics. ER physician Dr. Travis Stork notes that inflammation of the gums can turn into chronic inflammation of the body so it’s important to pay attention to oral care, pregnant or not!