Monday, January 25, 2016

Don't Put This Up There Either!

What is it with the vagina cures lately? I cannot open a browser without finding some story about things to do to your yoni and why it is or isn't a good idea.

I saw this one awhile ago and just left it alone but apparently it's picking up steam (pun intended). Apparently Gwyneth Paltrow thinks you should steam your bits. She recommends a spa in Los Angeles that will (for a hefty price I imagine) sit you on a pot of steaming Mugwort. It should go without saying, but it seems it doesn't, that this is a bad idea. Sitting on a pot of boiling water will obviously make the vulva and vaginal canal quite hot. Heat changes the ph balance. That leads to an imbalance in the bacteria which leads to infections. Doctors actually warn people who are quite prone to yeast infections to limit the hot baths and hot tubs.

I have no idea what mugwort does to the vaginal environment. I just know you don't need it.

Gyneth Paltrow is neither a sexual health educator nor a gynecologist. She is not qualified to tell people what they need to do to take care of their reproductive health. Please do not steam your vagina, no matter what she says.

Also in the land of 'don't put that up there', it seems the herbal detox sticks are not going anywhere. Remember these? I wrote about this way back in 2012 and just last February. Here's a recent article discussing, yet again, why sticking pumice stones in your vagina is not a good idea. The article quotes Dr. Jen Gunter, who's been very critical of all the vaginal detox crazes, in particular, the infamous tea bags.

Let me repeat, because it seems to need repeating, your vagina doesn't need to be cleaned or detox. It's awesome all by itself. Leave it alone. Don't put anything in there that shouldn't go in there.

Here for easy reference, is a list of things you can safely put in your vagina:

clean fingers (yours or someone else's, totally up to you)
clean penises
clean, body safe sex toys (go here to find out what's body safe)
tampons (although we could certainly have a discussion about this)
lubricants with body safe ingredients (go here to find out what's body safe)
medically approved contraceptive devices
condoms over top of clean penises or clean, body safe sex toys

Anything else is at best unnecessary and at worst, dangerous. Your vagina doesn't need your help, it's great all by itself. Relax and enjoy it.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Please Don't Put That Up There!!!!

I've been away from my blog for quite some time. I've kept meaning to come back but nothing has really compelled me to get off my butt and start writing more. Until yesterday.

I noticed an article about 'vagina pearls' - little herbal teabags for your cooch that are supposed to cleanse and detoxify it.

I have seen all kind of crap that's supposed to clean and deodorize vaginas and all it is terrible but this is really, really bad. Why? Because the people who make these little tea bags are telling people to take 3 of them, stuff them up there, and leave them for three days!!

I didn't believe this was really a thing so I did quite a bit of searching and discovered that yes, this has really caught on. There is a website selling these things and several distributors who have posted a number of youtube videos explaining how they will change your life.

The claim is that these tiny teabags contain herbs that basically make your vagina into a teapot that steeps an herbal tea for your 'womb'. They say these herbal concoctions can cure everything from yeast infections, to fibroids, to infertility. According to these folks, there is all kinds of 'garbage' sitting up in your uterus and the herbs act as dump trucks which drive around there, collect it all, and dump it out. I am not kidding, one of the people in the video actually uses this analogy. Worse, they say that it is completely normal, and a sign of these working, to see all kind of nasty stuff come out of you after you've had these in you for three days. Worse still, the videos show pictures of the yuck that comes out. Do not look at this video unless you have a very strong stomach.

I don't even know where to start with what's wrong with this.

First of all, as I have said many, many, many times, THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH YOUR VAGINA!!!! Vaginas and vulvas have a natural odor that we have been conditioned in our society to think of as disagreeable. It is not foul, some people just think it is. The solution to this is simply keeping the vulva clean. That will minimize body odor. If there is a stronger smell than simple body odor, it probably means you have an infection and should see a doctor. You don't need to, and should never, clean inside the vagina. Doing this can upset the ph balance and allow overgrowth of bacteria. Look at this site telling someone that what is clearly a raging yeast infection is a normal and healthy part of using these pearls.

Second, the anatomy is completely wrong here. How they possibly think this vagina tea is going to get into the uterus and up to the fallopian tubes (because it's supposed to unblock the tubes is beyond me). Gravity is working against you here. The cervix doesn't just suck up anything that goes in there. If it did, we would all be at constant risk of serious uterine infections. That is actually why doctors advise those in the last stages of pregnancy to be somewhat careful about the cleanliness of anything that goes into the vagina. The cervix is beginning to open and it's possible to cause an infection by something getting into the uterus. That vagina tea is just not going to go in there and if it did, that would be a very, very, very bad thing.

Third, there are no dead skin cells in your vagina. There is actually no skin in your vagina. The epithelium is made of quite different cells than skin. They have a different purpose and operate differently. Any cells shed from the epithelium are naturally absorbed in the body. We do not need to exfoliate that vagina. In fact, doing so is flat out dangerous. Scraping the walls of the vagina causes damage to that epithelium which can then lead to an increased risk of infection and development of scar tissue.

Fourth, speaking of scar tissue, most of us don't have any in our vaginas. The youtube videos show gunk that they claim is scar tissue. It is possible to have scar tissue in the vagina but that is unusual. It pretty much only happens as a result of a serious infection or an injury during childbirth, surgery or other trauma. Scar tissue can result from radiation therapy as well. The treatment for scar tissue is absolutely not scraping the vagina or using herbal remedies. This must be handled by a physician or physiotherapist. It can be removed by surgery or by therapies which help to stretch and dissolve it. This has to be handled with care by someone who is knowledgeable about such things. Messing with it can cause more damage and infections that lead to more scar tissue.

I've written about things like this a lot so why has this one in particular got me so upset. My big worry hear is that the instructions are to leave these little teabags in the vagina for three days. Leaving anything, but particularly some absorbent like this, in the vagina for more than a few hours at a time can lead to toxic shock syndrome. TSS is a dangerous buildup of staph bacteria - basically the bacteria gets trapped and held in that absorbant thing and grows. The longer it's in there, the more the bacteria can grow. Staph is very very dangerous. TSS CAN BE FATAL! It causes low blood pressure, high fever, and seizure, all of which can kill you. The fact that these little pearls simply won't work and that they could lead to bacterial vaginosis and other infections is bad enough, but these little things could actually kill you. TSS is not something to play with. You should never ever ever leave anything in your vagina (except a nuva ring or other medically approved contraceptive device) for more than a few hours.

It scares me to death that people who know absolutely nothing about reproductive health are advising people to use this. There are many testimonials from people on their website and the youtube videos saying how much 'stuff' came out of their vagina and how much better they feel now. I am worried for their health. I am baffled that somehow these people think it is acceptable to advise people to do something which they have absolutely no proof is effective much less safe.

Please don't ever do this and if you know of anyone who has done it or is talking about doing it, tell them to please don't.