Douching with cold water was considered a form of birth control during the 1800s and early 1900s. This myth was debunked by Margaret Sanger in the 1900s, as noted in the Margaret Sanger Project. As of 2014, health experts believe that vaginal douching can actually increase the risk of other health problems, according to WebMD.
While there is no scientific evidence of support, many women claim that douching makes them feel fresher, gets rid of unpleasant odors, and washes away menstrual blood after their period. Some even use douching to avoid contracting sexually transmitted diseases or to prevent a pregnancy; however, douching has been scientifically linked to vaginal infections, pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy complications and cervical cancer. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women avoid douching. Because the acidity of the vagina naturally controls bacteria, washing the vagina with warm water and mild soap is enough to keep clean.
Margaret Sanger was an early feminist and promoted women's right to birth control, a term that she coined, notes Bio. Sanger was the first to publicly write about methods of birth control that included the ineffectiveness of cold water douches in her article "Family Limitation, Revised, Eighth Edition," published in 1918.