Objective: This study tests the hypothesis that vaginal douching among women of reproductive age is associated with exposure to intimate partner violence (IPV). Methods: The data source is a cross-sectional population-based sample of 2,002 women ages 18-45 in the Central Pennsylvania Women's Health Study. The survey included measures of IPV, douching behavior, and relevant sociodemographic and health-related covariates. Findings: Six percent of the sample reported experiencing any type of IPV in the past year, and 23% reported douching in the past year. IPV is significantly associated with douching after controlling for sociodemographic and health-related covariates. This finding holds for women with and without current reproductive capacity. Conclusions: This is the first study to identify an association between vaginal douching and IPV. Because vaginal douching is a risk factor for sexually transmitted infections, bacterial vaginosis, and adverse pregnancy outcomes, the findings could have important implications for prevention. Further research is needed to identify the reasons why women who have been exposed to IPV are more likely to douche.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Health(social science)
- Obstetrics and Gynecology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Maternity and Midwifery