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Hydrogen peroxide douche generally refers to a combination of peroxide and water that is administered into the vagina using a bottle with a long nozzle. It is used to treat vaginal infections, and is sometimes recommended by natural health professionals for use instead of antibiotics, but it should be heavily diluted with water. Most formulations recommend between one teaspoon (9.9 ml) of 3% hydrogen peroxide per cup (236.5 ml) of water.
The use of a hydrogen peroxide douche is usually recommended in the treatment of a bacterial vaginal infection, also known as bacterial vaginosis. This method can also be used to treat vaginal yeast infections since peroxide has been shown to kill candida, the yeast which causes such infections. The medical community is under debate on how safe and effective this treatment actually is, but many patients and natural health practitioners highly recommend it. It is especially useful if other methods of treatment, namely antibiotic medications or inserted yeast infection creams, have failed to eliminate the infection.
Patients can make a hydrogen peroxide douche by mixing the peroxide with lukewarm water. This combination is then inserted into a douche bag with a nozzle attached at one end for insertion into the vagina. It is also possible to purchase over the counter douching products to empty out the liquid contents in order to use the bottle and nozzle included with most kits. If this is done, it's important to fully rinse out the existing liquid before douching.
When administering a hydrogen peroxide douche, it is important to do so carefully. Women should slowly insert the nozzle as far as it will go comfortably. The bag or bottle should then be squeezed very slowly with an even pressure so that the liquid flows into the vaginal canal. It is important that air is not forced into the vagina, as this can cause a rare condition known as an air embolism. This is more common in pregnant women and those with certain conditions, and it can be quite serious.
Although using a hydrogen peroxide douche will kill yeast or harmful bacteria, it will also kill the beneficial bacteria found naturally in the vagina. This can sometimes lead to secondary infections if pathogens grow back more quickly than the good bacteria. For that reason, women using this method as well as prescription antibiotics should take a daily probiotic supplement to replenish the vagina with beneficial flora. It is best to choose products designed specifically for feminine health. Many health care providers recommend against douching entirely.