QUESTION: I would like to know your take on vaginal showers. I don’t have an STD, but I met a male gynecologist who recommends vaginal cleansing on a daily basis. His arguments go around the idea that the way we usually brush our teeth every day, we should do vaginal showers. I’m asking this because, compared to before I started taking vaginal showers, I have noticed a decreased level of feeling comfortable as a female. I feel more dry in a sense, not moist enough, and therefore less comfortable in my own skin.
“Vaginal steams” is the closest thing I have heard to this. They were recently in the news because Gwyneth Paltrow mentioned them. But warm water in the vagina is generally not recommended by most vulvovaginal doctors I know, who have concerns about the warm water causing vaginal dryness (as you mentioned).
Most vulvovaginal health experts I know simply recommend regular showering or bathing – NOT vaginal showers or steams, and not even douching.
There’s A Reason For That Discharge
The vagina and vulva are sensitive and don’t require extra cleaning. Vaginal discharge helps to clean out the vagina, and I am surprised that a gynecologist recommended extra cleaning.
I would recommend getting a second opinion from another healthcare provider. You might try making an appointment with a female gynecologist, as some research suggests that male physicians see some things as more problematic about women’s bodies compared to female physicians, who may often see these same things as “normal.” That’s not to say there aren’t many fantastic male gynecologists. There absolutely are and I have personally had great clinical care from both men and women.
For more information on vulvar and vaginal health, check out Read My Lips: A Complete Guide to the Vagina and Vulva or The V Book.