Objective: Risk factors for bacterial vaginosis (BV) include douching and sexual activity, although the exact cause of BV is unknown.
Goal: The goal of this study was to determine the relative significance of douching as a risk factor for BV.
Study design: Two hundred fifty adolescent women who regularly douched were enrolled into a randomized douching intervention trial. Behavioral questionnaires and testing for sexually transmitted diseases and BV were performed. Associations between baseline characteristics and behaviors were compared for teens who were BV-positive and BV-negative at baseline.
Results: Positive correlates of BV included multiple partners, recent sexual intercourse, douching after menses, recent douching, and gonorrhea. Of these, douching after menses showed the strongest association (odds ratio, 5.11; 95% confidence interval, 1.99-13.15) in a multivariate analysis.
Conclusions: Douching after menses was strongly correlated with BV; however, difficulty remains in trying to evaluate douching and sexual behavior independently.