There’s a bizarre new trend in women’s health, and doctors are tamping down on it with warnings that the practice can be damaging, instead of beneficial.
Online retailers have been hawking oak galls – wasp egg nests that have not been hatched – for women to grind and apply onto their genitals, supposedly as a natural way to clean, tighten and rejuvenate the area. The wasp nests are crushed into a paste then rubbed topically, according to a post on Etsy, which has been removed.
The practice claims to improve a woman’s sex life, The New York Post reports. Other benefits include “heal episiotomy cuts, rejuvenate the uterine wall and clean out the vagina” after a woman has given birth. Accompanying the listing is a warning that the product can “burn” when applied.
Jen Gunter, a gynecologist, is warning women not to follow this trend, calling it “dangerous” and saying that the practice actually uses “drying agents” to tighten genitals.
On her blog, Gunter says, “Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good).” She adds,
It could also wreak havoc with the good bacteria. This is a dangerous practice with real potential to harm.
This is not the first time Gunter has spoken out against various herbal remedies marketed to women. Last year, there was a “womb detox” trend that claimed to help women treat endometriosis, ovarian cysts, thrush and fibroids. Herbal Womb Detox Pearls, bags of perfumed herbs, were being promoted and women were told to insert three of these into their vaginas for 72 hours.
Regarding that trend, Gunter explained, “Leaving a product that is not designed for prolonged vaginal use (and these are not) in the vagina is a risk for toxic shock syndrome. Just don’t do it.”
A few months ago, actress Gwyneth Paltrow came under fire for pushing yet another fad in the form of “jade eggs,” which supposedly helped women when inserted into their vaginas.