The ovarian cancer is also known as the “silent killer” because the symptoms start to appear when the disease has progressed to an advanced stage. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2013 more than 20,000 women in the US were diagnosed with ovarian cancer, and more than 14,000 died. It is the fourth biggest cancer killer in the world.
A study by the National Institute of Environmental Sciences is the first to link the ovarian cancer to douching – the practice of squirting water or fluids into the vagina. Previous studies have linked douching to reduced fertility, cervical cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, yeast infections and ectopic pregnancy.
“While most doctors and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists strongly recommend that women do not douche, many women continue to douche because they falsely perceive douching to have positive health benefits, such as increased cleanliness.” said Joelle Brown, an epidemiology professor at the University of California, San Francisco.
Experts say the vagina is self-cleaning and women need to be told not to douche.
Express.co.uk created a poll in which they asked the 232 women “Do you regularly douche?”. The answers were the following:
- Yes, I thought it would be healthier – 29%
- No, I’ve never done it – 57%
- I’ve only done it once or twice – 14%
The journal Epidemiology conducted a study in which they had more than 41,000 female participants aged 35-74. They have been following the women since 2003, throughout Puerto Rico and the US. They were cancer-free themselves, but each of them had a sister who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.
In 2014, around 150 participants had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Moreover, many of those women said they had been douching regularly one year before entering the study.
The connection between douching and ovarian cancer was even stronger when the researchers looked only at participants who didn’t have breast-cancer genes in their family.