A vaginal bulb syringe with lateral holes near the tip of the nozzle (about 1 cm, or ½ inch, thick).
ICD-9-CM 96.44
MeSH D044364
This "fountain syringe" should only be used for douching, by replacing the attached enema nozzle with the vaginal nozzle (shown bottom left). The vaginal nozzle is longer and thicker and has lateral holes.

A douche play /ˈdʃ/ is a device used to introduce a stream of water into the body for medical or hygienic reasons, or the stream of water itself.

Douche usually refers to vaginal irrigation, the rinsing of the vagina, but it can also refer to the rinsing of any body cavity. A douche bag is a piece of equipment for douching—a bag for holding the fluid used in douching. To avoid transferring intestinal bacteria into the vagina, the same bag must not be used for an enema and a vaginal douche.



The word douche came to English via French – where today it means shower (from Italian: doccia "conduit pipe" and docciare "pour by drops"). It is thus a notorious false friend encountered by non-native speakers of English.


Vaginal douche apparatus with five quart tank from 1905 nursing text

Vaginal douches may consist of water, water mixed with vinegar, or even antiseptic chemicals. Douching has been touted as having a number of supposed but unproven benefits. In addition to promising to clean the vagina of unwanted odors, it can also be used by women who wish to avoid smearing a sexual partner's penis with menstrual blood while having intercourse during menstruation. In the past, douching was also used after intercourse as a method of birth control, though it is not effective (see below).

Many health care professionals state that douching is dangerous, as it interferes with both the vagina's normal self-cleaning and with the natural bacterial culture of the vagina, and it might spread or introduce infections. For example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services strongly discourages douching, warning that it can lead to irritation, bacterial vaginosis, and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Frequent douching with water may result in an imbalance of the pH of the vagina, and thus may put women at risk for possible vaginal infections, especially yeast infections.[1]

In May 2003, a randomized, controlled, multi-center study was conducted with 1827 women ages 18–44 who were regular users of a douche product and who had been treated recently for a sexually transmitted bacterial infection or bacterial vaginosis. Women were randomly assigned to use either a newly designed and marketed douche product or a soft cloth towelette. There was little or no indication of a greater risk of PID among women assigned to use the douche product (versus soft cloth towelette). Douching may be related to a lower probability that a woman becomes pregnant.[2]

Antiseptics may also result in an imbalance of the natural bacteria in the vagina, also resulting in an increased likelihood of infection.[3] Furthermore, unclean douching equipment may also introduce undesirable foreign bodies into the vagina. For these reasons, the practice of douching is now strongly discouraged except when ordered by a physician for specific medical reasons.[3] Douching may also wash bacteria into the uterus and Fallopian tubes, causing fertility problems.[4]

Douching after intercourse is estimated to reduce the chances of conception by only 15-25%.[citation needed] In comparison, proper condom use reduces the chance of conception by as much as 97%. In some cases douching may force the ejaculate further into the vagina, increasing the chance of pregnancy. A review of studies by researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center (N.Y.) showed that women who douched regularly and later became pregnant had higher rates of ectopic pregnancy, infections, and low birth weight infants than women who only douched occasionally or who never douched.[3]

The practice of douching is now largely restricted to the United States, where douching equipment is often available in pharmacies. A 1995 survey quoted in the University of Rochester study found that 27% of U.S. women age 15 to 44 douched regularly, but that douching was more common among African-American women (over 50%) than among white women (21%).[3]

Slang uses

Douche bag, or simply douche, is considered to be a pejorative term. The slang usage of the term originated in the 1960s.[5] The term usually refers to a person, male, with a variety of negative qualities, specifically arrogance and engaging in obnoxious and/or irritating actions, most often without malicious intent.Douchebagette refers to the feminine counterpart.

See also


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • douche — [ duʃ ] n. f. • douge, doucheXVIIe; doccia 1581; it. doccia 1 ♦ Projection d eau en jet ou en pluie qui arrose le corps et produit une action hygiénique. Douche froide, chaude, tiède. Douche écossaise, alternativement chaude et froide; fig.… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Douche — aménagée dans une baignoire et équipée d un pare douche. Une douche est un jet d eau dirigé sur le corps qui est généralement pratiqué pour des raisons d hygiène ou dans un but thérapeutique. Par métonymie, une douche désigne l équipement ou l… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • douche — DOUCHE. s. fém. Épanchement de certaines eaux chaudes et minérales qu on fait tomber de haut sur une partie malade pour la soulager, pour la guérir. Donner la douche. Recevoir la douche. Prendre la douche …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Douche — Douche, n. [F., fr. It. doccia, fr. docciare to flow, pour, fr. an assumed LL. ductiare, fr. L. ducere, ductum, to lead, conduct (water). See {Duct}.] 1. A jet or current of water or vapor directed upon some part of the body to benefit it… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • douche — [du:ʃ] n [C usually singular] [Date: 1700 1800; : French; Origin: Italian doccia water pipe ] a mixture of water and something such as ↑vinegar, that a woman puts into her ↑vagina to wash it, or the object that she uses to do this >douche v [I …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • douche — [ duʃ ] noun count a method of washing inside a part of someone s body, especially a woman s VAGINA, using a narrow stream of liquid a. the object used to perform a douche …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • douche — (n.) 1766, jet of water, from Fr. douche (16c.), from It. doccia shower, from docciare to spray, from L. ductionem a leading, from ducere to lead (see DUKE (Cf. duke) (n.)). Meaning vaginal cleansing is from 1833. The verb is first attested 1838 …   Etymology dictionary

  • douche — ► NOUN 1) a shower of water. 2) a jet of liquid applied to part of the body for cleansing or medicinal purposes. 3) a device for washing out the vagina as a contraceptive measure. ► VERB 1) spray or shower with water. 2) use a contraceptive… …   English terms dictionary

  • douche — [do͞osh] n. [Fr < It doccia, shower bath, orig., conduit, back form. < doccione, water pipe < L ductio, a leading away < ductus: see DUCT] 1. a jet of liquid applied externally or internally to some part of the body, esp. as a bath or …   English World dictionary

  • Douche — (fr., spr. Dusch), 1) Ausflußröhre eines Wasserbehältnisses; 2) (Douchebad), Wasserstrahl, den man an einem Theil des Körpers anströmen läßt, um demselben ein Bad zu appliciren, s.u. Bad I. c) b). Daher Douchiren, übertröpfen, übergießen …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Douche — Douche, s. Dusche …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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