To investigate vaginal douching habits and associated factors among women living in rural Turkey.
This study was performed in the gynecology department of a government hospital in a rural area of Turkey, from February to March 2010. The study included 393 women admitted to the gynecology clinic. The age, marital status, education, socioeconomic status, reason for vaginal douching, douching frequency, symptoms, and previous treatments were investigated. All of the subjects were asked about the use of, frequency, and reason for vaginal douching. Significant risk factors in the vaginal douching group and odds coefficients were found using binary logistic regression.
The major symptoms of the subjects were itching and vaginal discharge. Of the 393 women, 317 (80.66%) performed vaginal douching and all of them had recurrent or treatment-resistant mixed agent vulvovaginitis. The majority of the women douched for ritual cleansing or washing before prayer (n = 278; 91.6%). The majority of the cases (n = 354; 90.1%) were of lower socioeconomic and educational status. The odds ratios and 95% confidence interval (CI) of the risk variables vaginal douching frequency, cervical motion tenderness, dyspareunia, and vaginal itching were 9.39 (2.07–42.48), 7.31 (2.08–25.64), 6.52 (2.26–18.78), and 1.46 (1.22–1.74), respectively.
In our region, vaginal douching is a common practice among women, especially those of lower socioeconomic and educational status. Clinicians should inform patients about the risks of vaginal douching to minimize the risks associated with this behavior.