Less is definitely more when it comes to vaginal health. Like all humans, women do not need additions to their feminine garden.
Yet retailers continue to tempt women with a plethora of products promising to rejuvenate their most prized possessions—and many have rushed to insert wasp nests, magic pearls, or smear scented oils—in their quest for a tighter, younger-looking vagina.
Meanwhile, gynecologists warned against the presence of such exotic herbal remedies on the vagina, as complications could appear on reproductive health.
Here, we take a look at five common—yet unhealthy—trends.
1 Wasp nests
Also known as acorns, wasp nests are sold as an all-natural remedy for tightening the vagina (away from wasps)—but Canadian gynecologist Dr. Gene Gunther advised women not to insert these mantises into their vagina, because it dries them out.
Medically and sexually undesirable, Dr. Gunter warned that drying out the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasion during sex, destroys the protective mucous layer, and risks HIV infection.
Acorn galls are created when a female wasp inserts her eggs into part of an oak tree. When the wasps hatch, the legless larvae begin to secrete chemicals that re-regulate the acorn’s natural growth processes – thus, forming an acorn shell around it, explains the Royal Horticultural Society.
While some natural ingredients may help relieve health issues, Dr. Gunther says, “This is a dangerous practice with real potential for harm. Here’s a pro tip—if something burns when applied to the vagina, it’s generally bad for the vagina.” (Keep that in mind now, ladies.)
2 Uterus pearls for detoxification
Detoxing is the buzzword today—and this fad stretches from the liver to the vagina as many women advocate placing three balls of herbs (or pearls) wrapped in gauze into their vagina for a 72-hour “womb.”
Proponents claim it can restore natural balance by increasing flexibility, regulating the menstrual cycle, killing parasites and (bad) bacteria, improving fertility, reducing secretions, and removing toxins. These nonspecific toxins are said to be responsible for “major imbalances” such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, endometriosis, infertility, vaginal pain, excessive bleeding, vaginal dryness, PCOS, and fibroids.
But Becky Burbidge, Head of Communications at the FPA, a leading sexual health charity in London, expressed that “The vagina is very good at cleaning itself and using scented products can upset the balance of natural bacteria, rather than help.” Perfumed products have been linked to vaginitis. bacterial, which is the most common cause of unusual vaginal discharge, and can also increase your risk of thrush.”
Basically, the vagina is self-cleaning and self-regulating. Thus, there is no need for weed ball stuffing to restore balance. Even if there is a need, a healthcare professional will be the best person to consult.
3 Pull the sticks
Call them the magic tightening pledge sticks—these sticks are designed to help women “feel tight and wanted again” (as stated on one retailer’s website).
Made with natural ingredients including oak balls, pearl powder, and aloe vera, these sticks are said to “stimulate the body’s natural cleansing system and rejuvenate vaginal skin tissue in a completely natural way” and “reduce or completely eliminate vaginal discharge.”
According to Dr. Gunter, this is all wrong. Just like the oak, she says, the chemicals in the sticks dry out the vagina, which increases the transmission of STDs and makes sex painful for women.
Dr. Gunter explains that the chemicals in these sticks temporarily dry out the vagina.
“The lack of wetness and pain from abrasion may also cause your pelvic floor to spasm during sex (not in a good way) and this will narrow the vaginal opening (which can make insertion painful),” she explained.
If tightness is a concern, Kegels may be a better option. The bottom line is that the vagina can be left on its own to do its business.
4 Scented products and oils
Oils can arouse strange feelings and many women apply natural oils, such as yoni or pubic hair oil, to their vagina to transform it into an “anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, pH-balanced environment.”
Celebrity Emma Watson has reportedly used fur oil on her limbs, eyebrows, and pubic hair. Retailers claim that if used daily, this oil can soften pubic hair and unclog pores to reduce ingrown hairs.
The oil, warmed in the hands, is rubbed into the vulva (externally). However, some insert the oil into the vagina to remove minor infections. Ironically, these oils can do more harm than good. It carries with it the risk of infection.
“The pH of the vagina is very specific and self-cleaning,” says Ali Dilks, a sexual health expert at the Women’s Health Clinic in London.