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Behind “that fresh, clean feeling” touted in ads for feminine hygiene products is a nasty lie that the vagina is dirty and malodorous. It’s not. Gynecologists agree that the vagina is self-cleansing and that with regular bathing, feminine hygiene products, particularly douches, are completely unnecessary.

Still, more than one-quarter of U.S. women aged 15 to 44 douche regularly, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (21 percent of white women, 33 percent of Hispanics, and 55 percent of African Americans). Some use homemade water-vinegar douches; most spring for commercial products, purchasing $120 million worth each year.

Several studies have linked douching with increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease, a serious, often fertility-impairing infection of the fallopian tubes that strikes up to 1 million American women a year. It’s not entirely clear why douching raises these risks. The leading theory is that it pushes harmless bacteria into the uterus, where they become harmful.

While the case against douching is not epidemiologically airtight, why buy a product that’s at best worthless, and at worst hazardous? The message is clear: Don’t douche. — M.C.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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