An investigation of douching practices in the botánicas of the Bronx

Matthew R. Anderson, Melissa D. McKee, Jolene Yukes, Adelyn Alvarez, Alison Karasz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Douching is a common practice in women and has been associated with adverse health outcomes. In order to explore douching products and practices we conducted qualitative interviews in ten botánicas (stores that provide healing and spiritual services to immigrant communities) located in New York City. We interviewed 15 people, 14 of whom were botánica owners and employees and ten of whom were women. We found that douching was not easily separated from the more holistic concerns of botánica customers involving health, well-being and spirituality. These issues included abortion, infertility, menopause, the prevention and treatment of infections, sexuality, cleanliness, hygiene and relationship issues. The vagina was seen as a sensitive, even vulnerable part of the body, not clearly distinguished from other female organs. A variety of products were used in the vagina in the form of creams, douches, suppositories, baths and herbal steaming of the urogenital area. Alum, an astringent, was used for the purposes of vaginal tightening to enhance sexual pleasure for the partner, to make the vagina 'younger', or to hide evidence of infidelity. Botánicas are part of a complex healing system with conceptual models different from those of allopathic medicine. These models may not be unique to the botánicas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Volume10
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Fingerprint

Therapeutic Irrigation
Vagina
menopause
hygiene
Spiritual Therapies
health
Astringents
qualitative interview
spirituality
abortion
sexuality
Suppositories
Spirituality
Pleasure
customer
Sexual Partners
well-being
immigrant
Health
employee

Keywords

  • Botánicas
  • Douching
  • Dry sex
  • Health beliefs
  • Vagina

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

An investigation of douching practices in the botánicas of the Bronx. / Anderson, Matthew R.; McKee, Melissa D.; Yukes, Jolene; Alvarez, Adelyn; Karasz, Alison.

In: Culture, Health and Sexuality, Vol. 10, No. 1, 01.2008, p. 1-11.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Anderson, Matthew R. ; McKee, Melissa D. ; Yukes, Jolene ; Alvarez, Adelyn ; Karasz, Alison. / An investigation of douching practices in the botánicas of the Bronx. In: Culture, Health and Sexuality. 2008 ; Vol. 10, No. 1. pp. 1-11.
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