Studies on Douching Practices among Hausa-Fulani Pregnant Women with and without Bacterial Vaginosis in Zaria, Northwest Nigeria

Douching or the method of injecting liquid or semi-liquid, powdery or herbal substances into the vagina may have been an age-old practice in many cultures for various reasons. Objective: The purpose of this study was to investigate trends of douching practices in Zaria, Northwest Nigeria, and their association with vaginal infection among pregnant Hausa-Fulani women. Research Design: This health facility-based study was a descriptive cross-sectional study, with bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal flora laboratory review.
Results: 85.5 percent of the 220 participants committed to daily douching activities. Using hand to inject plain water (80.0 percent), injection of toilet soap (55.0 percent), using hot water plus disinfectant/salt/black soap (18.6 percent), and using a jet or stream of water (8.6 percent) were frequently known showering methods. During bathing (69.5 percent), after passing urine (34.1 percent), during sexual intercourse (16.4 percent), before sexual intercourse (5.9 percent) and at every other time (6.8 percent), repeated douching was associated with douching. Pregnant women who use fingers to shower to insert plain water were more than 11⁄2 times more likely to Bacterial vaginosis (χ2=1.30, P-value=0.25, OR=1.67, 95% CI: 0.69, 4.09) and bacterial vaginosis is approximately 31⁄2 times more likely to occur after sexual intercourse (χ2=8.88, P-value=0.003, OR=3.42, 95% CI: 1.47, 7.93). In subjects aged Bacterial vaginosis positive women aged 30-34 years (100.0%) and those aged 35-39 years (75.0%) respectively, douching during bathing and after sexual intercourse was more common. Conclusions: In the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group in Nigeria, the practice of douching was common. The Hausa-Fulani ethnic group in Nigeria is just one out of hundreds of ethnic groups, and the results of this study do not generally relate to douching or vaginal infection activities in other ethnic groups or other geo-political locations in the world. For successful monitoring, education, and management of the female genital tract, additional studies are desirable to validate douching practices and different vaginal pathologies. In the future, a prospective study to look at the effect of douching on the outcome of pregnancy is desirable.

Author (s) Details

Victor D. Ajayi
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital Shika-Zaria, Nigeria and Nordica Fertility Centre, Lagos, Nigeria.

Chief (Dr.) Bamgboye M. Afolabi
Health, Environment and Development Foundation, 34, Montgomery Road, Yaba, Lagos, Nigeria.

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