Translational Biomedicine

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Douching Practices among Hausa-Fulani Pregnant Women With and Without Bacterial Vaginosis in Zaria, Northwest Nigeria

Victor Ajayi and Bamgboye M Afolabi

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.