Objective: The objective of this study was to examine patterns of douching practices and their association to vaginal infection among Hausa-Fulani pregnant women in Zaria, Northwest Nigeria.
Study design: This health facility-based study was a descriptive cross-sectional investigation, with laboratory analysis for bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal flora.
Results: Of 220 participants, 85.5% consented to regular douching practices. Commonly identified methods of douching were using hand to insert plain water (80.0%), insertion of toilet soap (55.0%), using warm water plus disinfectant/salt/ black soap (18.6%) and using a jet or stream of water (8.6%). Frequent douching was associated with douching during bathing (69.5%), after passing urine (34.1%), after sexual intercourse (16.4%), before sexual intercourse (5.9%) and at any other times (6.8%). Pregnant women who douche using fingers to insert plain water were over 1½ times more likely to have bacterial vaginosis (χ²=1.30, P-value=0.25, OR=1.67, 95% CI: 0.69, 4.09) and those who douche after sexual intercourse were about 3½ times more likely to develop Bacterial vaginosis (χ²=8.88, P-value=0.003, OR=3.42, 95% CI: 1.47, 7.93). Douching during bathing and after sexual intercourse were more prevalent among subjects aged Bacterial vaginosis positive women aged 30-34 years (100.0%) and those aged 35-39 years (75.0%) respectively.
Conclusions: The practice of douching was common among the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group in Nigeria. Further studies are desirable to confirm douching practices and various vaginal pathology for effective control, education, and management of female genital tract.
Victor Ajayi and Bamgboye M Afolabi