Study objective: To characterize the discussions on douching that female parents/guardians have with daughters.
Design: A questionnaire assessing personal douching history, beliefs on the practice of douching, and what they had discussed or intended to discuss about douching with their daughters was administered to women who were parenting females 11-21 years of age.
Participants: Fifty-seven women who had douched or currently douche completed the questionnaire.
Results: Fifty-six of the women had discussed or planned to discuss the subject with their daughters. The girls with whom they had had a discussion were significantly older (16.2 years) than those with whom they planned to have a discussion (14.1 years). Most (73%) of the women had encouraged or planned to encourage douching, while only 18% had or planned to discourage it. Mothers had or planned to have the conversation in the context of menses (76%), sexual activity (40%), or when their daughter instigated the conversation (44%). Over 40% of the mothers had not or did not intend to discuss any negatives about douching. Only ten of the women stated that a health care provider had spoken to them or their daughter about the subject.
Conclusion: Female parents/guardians are an important source of information about douching for their daughters. Health care providers need to educate girls as well as the women who parent them on the health risks associated with douching. Public campaigns aimed at decreasing douching should target this intergenerational transfer of information.