(Photo: Bitchin Lifestyle)
Herbal Tampons And Vaginal Detoxes Are The Latest Idiotic Trend
Teatoxes - aka the scourge of Instagram - were bad enough, promising weight loss, clearer skin, eternal happiness and violent diarrhea. But unless you seriously failed basic biology in school then you should know better than sticking them up your vulva (those aren't the 'lips' you should be concerned with). I can't believe this has to be said, but: do not put herbs up your vagina.
Look, we get it, the tampon tax has pissed all of us off and we'll do pretty much anything to boycott conventional sanitary products in the name of gender equality, but plunging several tiny satchels of herbs into your gravy boats and leaving them there for three entire days to "detox" is not the way to go. Has your vagina been bingeing on booze and coke lately? Probably not, so it doesn’t need a detox - which are total nonsense with little to no evidence of their claimed benefits. But I digress.
Herbs are a great condiment on meat, but not inside your meat - your vaj is not a Christmas turkey. The supposed reasoning behind herbal tampons, or "womb pearls" if you're feeling fancy, is that the right blend of herbs can control yeast overgrowth, tighten your vagina, and help relieve conditions such as fibroids, bacterial vaginosis, and endometriosis - all in a days work. The practice of 'vaginal detoxing' is slowly making its way to beauty and lifestyle blogs, but health experts agree that it's probably first in line on the list of "Things You Shouldn't Do To Your Vagina".
It should be noted that there are some alternatives to the mass market tampon industry that aren't as harmful to your lady garden as these pussy pouches. Homemade menstrual pads and period-friendly fashion, are a sustainable alternative to tampons that have revolutionised the market, along with the way some women deal with their periods.
These vaginal teabags, which are sold on holistic wellness websites, Etsy and other reputable sources like Ebay and Amazon, not only don't do what they claim, but they put women at risk of developing even more infections, or worse, a case of potentially life-threatening toxic shock syndrome. This is why both doctors and tampon manufacturers advise that women change their tampons at least every eight hours and use the lowest absorbency possible - not even menstrual cups are a fail-safe against TSS.
Dr Jen Gunter, a San Francisco OB/GYN, recently published a blog post setting the record straight after reading about this stupid, stupid trend. “Your uterus isn’t tired or depressed or dirty and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra," she writes. "None of your organs want the kind of help that comes with a ‘detox’ because they have evolved to take care of themselves in partnership with the rest of your body.”
Dr Vanessa McKay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, agrees. Speaking to the Metro, she said:
"The vagina is designed to clean itself with natural secretions and should not require a 'detox'. It contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it. If these bacteria are disturbed it can lead to infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, and inflammation. Perfumed products, soaps, gels, antiseptics, and vaginal douches can all affect the pH levels and the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina, and cause irritation."
The vaginal ecosystem is pretty delicate, functioning in a very particular way, and the good bacteria in the vagina are very susceptible to products and antibiotics, which is why doctors discourage women from vaginal douching. Vaginal health is too often overlooked, and the premise that they're dirty and sloppy and need to be sanitised says a mouthful of the stigma surrounding vaginas.
So there you go, our vaginas are magic all by themselves. If you notice something odd down there, your doctor will have more of a clue about how to help you out than an Etsy seller will. “And don’t self-diagnose,” adds Gunter, “Self diagnosis for a vaginal infection is inaccurate 50 to 70% of the time.”
Let your lady bits do their thing, they know what they're doing, and please, for the love of your own cooch, don’t go sticking herbs in it.
By Olivia Cassano, published on 15/01/2016