Background: Douching has been related to risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
Goal: To examine the association between douching and PID in a large, multicenter, clinical trial of PID after adjustment for race/ethnicity.
Study design: Interviews were conducted with 654 women who had signs and symptoms of PID. Vaginal Gram stains and upper genital tract pathology/cultures were obtained from all the women. Women with evidence of plasma cell endometritis and/or gonococcal or chlamydial upper genital tract infections were compared with women who had neither endometritis nor upper genital tract infection.
Results: Women with endometritis or upper genital tract infection were more likely to have douched more than once a month or within 6 days of enrollment than women who never douched. These associations remained after adjustment for confounding factors, after analysis of black women only; and among women with normal or intermediate vaginal flora but not bacterial vaginosis.
Conclusion: Among a predominantly black group of women with clinical PID, frequent and recent douching was associated with endometritis and upper genital tract infection.