Objective: Our goal was to determine whether vaginal douching was associated with ectopic pregnancy among black women and whether specific douching behaviors were associated with differences in risk.
Study design: We analyzed data from a case-control study of ectopic pregnancy conducted between October 1988 and August 1990 at a major public hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Case subjects were 197 black women with surgically confirmed ectopic pregnancies; the control group included 882 black women who were delivered of live or stillborn infants and 237 black women who were seeking to terminate a pregnancy.
Results: The adjusted odds ratio for ectopic pregnancy associated with ever having douched was 3.8 (95% confidence interval 1.6 to 8.9). The risk increased with increasing number of years of douching at least once per month. No douching behavior was found to be without risk; even women who douched for routine cleanliness were at increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
Conclusions: Vaginal douching is a modifiable behavior that may greatly increase a woman's risk of ectopic pregnancy.