Populations at Risk Across the Lifespan: Case Studies: What has Changed about Vaginal Douching among African American Mothers and Daughters?

Hayley Mark, Susan G. Sherman, Joy Nanda, Tracey Chambers-Thomas, Mathilda Barnes, Anne Rompalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objectives: To explore African American mothers' and daughters' practices and influences related to vaginal douching.Design and Sample: Our overall study used a sequential mixed-method design with 3 phases. Phase 1, the focus of this report, used grounded theory methods and in-depth, semistructured individual interviews. Two generations of African American girls and women: 24 girls ("daughters") aged 14-18 and 17 women ("mothers" or "mother figures") aged 22-43, recruited from 1 adolescent health clinic in Baltimore, MD.Measures: In-depth interviews were taped and transcribed and data analysis used the constant comparison method.Results: Daughters were much less likely to douche or to have been exposed to douching information than mothers. Many mothers and daughters were influenced by health care providers and/or family members to not initiate, to decrease, or to stop douching. Women who currently douche often do so because of the perception of improved smell and cleanliness around menstruation and sexual intercourse.Conclusions: These data indicate that although some women continue to believe that vaginal douching has therapeutic value, others have been influenced to stop or not start douching by family and health care providers. Health care providers should continue efforts to educate patients on the risks of vaginal douching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)418-424
Number of pages7
JournalPublic Health Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2010



  • African Americans
  • Vaginal douching
  • Women's health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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