What Is a Douche Bottle?

Madeleine A.

A douche bottle is a vessel in which douche solution is held. A douche bottle can be reusable or disposable, and can be purchased at pharmacies, without a prescription. The reusable douche bottle is typically made from rubber, and the disposable bottle is generally made from plastic. Disposable douches bottles come pre-filled with douche solution and can be directly inserted to the vaginal area without the need for a douche nozzle or douche bulb. The reusable bottle, however, typically requires a hookup with tubing and a nozzle.

A douche may be used to cleanse the vagina.
A douche may be used to cleanse the vagina.

Douching refers to the practice of cleansing the vagina with a solution that sometimes contains white vinegar. Although some women believe douching can keep vaginal odor at bay, it is often not necessary. The vagina cleans itself, and when proper hygiene is maintained with a daily bath or shower, odor should not be problematic. In fact, douching may promote or worsen an existing vaginal infection by upsetting the natural bacterial flora present in the vagina.

Women with a vaginal infection may experience painful urination.
Women with a vaginal infection may experience painful urination.

Some symptoms of a vaginal infection can be made worse by douching, including vaginal discharge, strong odor, itching, and burning. In addition, painful urination and mild pelvic pain may develop. When these symptoms occur, the health care provider needs to be notified to determine the nature of the infection and provide treatment. Depending upon the nature of the infection, treatment may include a vaginal cream, antibiotics, or antifungal medications.

Douching may cause some women to develop bacterial vaginosis.
Douching may cause some women to develop bacterial vaginosis.

Sometimes, the health care provider will prescribe a medicated douche solution to treat certain conditions or after gynecological surgical procedures. Douche solutions can sometimes dry out the vaginal tissues and cause irritation, but certain solutions are pre-mixed with moisturizers. When vaginal irritation is present, the nozzle of the douche bottle should not be inserted into the vaginal area because further irritation can occur.

A douche bulb is often reusable, although many may be disposable as well.
A douche bulb is often reusable, although many may be disposable as well.

After douching with a reusable bottle, the apparatus should be thoroughly cleaned with hot, soapy water before it is used again. Failure to do so may cause the bottle and douching supplies to harbor bacteria, which can be spread to the genital area when its used the next time. The douche bottle and other supplies should never be rinsed or cleaned with rubbing alcohol in an attempt to sterilize them. Not only will alcohol irritate the vaginal tissue if it comes in contact with the alcohol, using rubbing alcohol may even weaken the rubber and ruin the apparatus.

Some douche solutions may dry out the vaginal tissue, causing irritation to the area.
Some douche solutions may dry out the vaginal tissue, causing irritation to the area.
Women who douche regularly believe that it cleans the vagina, gets rid of odor and rinses away blood after menstruation.
Women who douche regularly believe that it cleans the vagina, gets rid of odor and rinses away blood after menstruation.

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Discussion Comments

ddljohn

Has anyone tried douche bulbs? They're also called enema bulbs and flush bulbs.

I'm shopping for a reusable rubber douche bottle and came across this product. It basically looks like a bulb and it serves the same purpose as a douche bottle. It's supposed to be easier to use though because it's easier to squeeze and flush the contents.

Do these really work?

SteamLouis

@candyquilt-- I think that the main factor you need to consider is how frequently you douche.

I don't douche often, maybe once every six months. So when I need to, I just buy a douche kit from the pharmacy with a disposable douche bottle. This is really the most convenient for me. But if I were douching very often, I would definitely consider getting a reusable douche bottle to save money. It may require more knowledge to prepare one's own solution though.

If you don't douche often like me, which is what doctors also advise, then I recommend the disposable kits.

candyquilt

I don't mind cleaning a reusable douche bottle after use, to prepare it for next use. But is there still a risk of infection despite cleaning it? Is it more hygienic to just use disposable ones?

What do you ladies use and recommend?

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