Vaginal hygiene practices and perceptions among women in the Urban Northeast

M. Diane McKee, María Baquero, Jason Fletcher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


To inform development of an intervention to decrease vaginal douching among Latinas, we conducted a survey of 335 women aged 16-45 years in primary care offices in the urban Northeast, including many Hispanic women (59.7%). About a third (30.7%) indicated that they had never douched. Of women who had ever douched (n = 235), 51.1% indicated they no longer douche. Women reported using a variety of products for douching and non-douching hygiene, including U.S.-made and imported commercial products as well as traditional products. Compared to Black women, more Hispanic women reported never douching and use of imported products. More positive beliefs about the benefits of douching and its safety were reported by women who currently douche. Health care providers should be aware that women may be using imported and traditional products, the safety of which is unknown. Advice about douching from health care providers may be effective for some women in helping them choose to stop or not initiate the practice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-333
Number of pages13
JournalWomen and Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Ethnic minorities
  • Feminine hygiene
  • Latinas
  • Vaginal douching
  • Women's reproductive health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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