Hydrogen peroxide douche (Killing BV)

A hydrogen peroxide douche may be used as an antimicrobial and to remove odour and discharge, as a once-off to start treatments or as a concerted treatment plan.

One hydrogen peroxide douche can leave you squeaky clean and feeling fresh, and it can be used as a stand-alone treatment for bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal dysbiotic (microbially imbalanced) states.

The dilution matters! Three per cent hydrogen peroxide is not strong enough, though unfortunately, it is the most commonly available dilution.

Safety first, kids!

  • If you have a bad reaction to hydrogen peroxide, like swelling or inflammation, stop using it.
  • If your vagina is very raw, steer clear and use gentler treatments like lavender essential oils heavily diluted with water (2 per cent mix). Lavender douches are not a full treatment but can be used initially prior to treatment.
  • Do not use 9, 12 or 35 per cent hydrogen peroxide without diluting. It will burn!
  • Overuse of hydrogen peroxide can result in a yeast infection (see end of post)

Dose and treatment schedule

  • 100ml – 200ml 6% hydrogen peroxide (no stronger and no weaker, if you have to, buy 9, 12 or 35 per cent pharmaceutical/food grade and dilute)
  • Syringe, douche or turkey baster
  • Water (if necessary to dilute)

How to do the hydrogen peroxide douche

Your ability physically will determine how you do this douche. The most effective treatment is to get on your back with your legs propped up in a comfortable and sustainable position (you need to hold this for as long as you can).

Fill your vagina with the hydrogen peroxide, holding it in for as long as you can. It’s ok if it stings a little. This will fade. Squirt it out onto a towel, shower or bath (as per your facilities), and repeat once or twice.

If this is too hard for you, you’ll need to douche however is most comfortable, but a few more times to clear out as much of the debris and fluids in your vagina as possible. The goal is to feel squeaky clean, not smell at all, and feel a little dry and somewhat raw.

Don’t worry, this feeling will disappear quickly. The way you use hydrogen peroxide douches will depend on what you are trying to achieve, so follow the instructions as per your treatment guide.

Standalone Killing BV treatment

  • Do the douche every day for seven days, then twice weekly for 3-4 more weeks.
  • Add in lactulose and an oral and/or vaginal probiotic as you see fit (immediately after daily douche and only for first week unless treatment has clearly failed and requires continuation).

Understanding how hydrogen peroxide works in the vagina

Hydrogen peroxide alone does not remove bacterial biofilms. It can help friendly lactobacilli recolonise who do the heavy biofilm lifting for you.

[box type=”warning”] WARNING: Do NOT use food grade at 35 per cent unless you have diluted it properly using mathematics to guide you. Anything above six per cent MUST be diluted – you can really hurt yourself if you don’t.[/box]

What to expect after treatment

Your vagina will feel ‘squeaky clean’, possibly sting a little, and feel dry.

The hydrogen peroxide will foam when it comes into contact with raw proteins, which will be present in your vaginal fluids and possibly your raw vaginal mucosa. This is normal. It will also sting for a few minutes afterwards.

These douches should not cause you eye-watering pain or burning. It should be tolerable and fade quickly. If you experience more pain than this, then hydrogen peroxide douching is not for you.

Your vagina will start to produce its own moisture over the next half hour or hour. If you have sex straight away, you will need to use some lube, because the very inside of the vagina can be very dry immediately after this treatment.

Hydrogen peroxide douching and yeast infections

Hydrogen peroxide does spare some Lactobacillus species, who produce their own hydrogen peroxide, however, research has shown that it will kill them, eventually.

Lactobacilli are resistant, but not immune.

Hydrogen peroxide does not kill or harm yeasts, though, which means you may end up with no odour, but a tendency towards yeast overgrowth (a yeast infection), and not a lot of protection from other pathogens.

This is why we suggest introducing new lactobacilli species that are expressly for the vagina:

  • L. crispatus
  • L. gasseri
  • L. jensensii
  • L. rhamnosus

You can find these species in certain brands: Jarro-Dophilus Women (not Femdophilus), AZO and Culturelle. Check the label. You will also need to transfer this powder to vegetable capsules or use as a paste or liquid (without the capsules) as the capsules they come in are not vagina-friendly. Gelatin capsules are vagina safe.

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)