Hey Ladies, There’s More Unregulated Herbal Stuff to Stick in Your Hooha

Thinking about giving those vagina pearls a try? Read this first.

There’s perhaps nothing more mysterious to humans than the vagina. (Say it with me, it’s okay, “Vuh-Jine-Uh”!) It regularly empties out the bloody remains of unfertilized eggs. It births humans with giant skulls. Then it magically returns to its “normal” size to accommodate, well, whatever you and your lover choose to put in there; because its most notable mystery is that it can experience and create so much pleasure. The vagina is remarkable and slightly terrifying—both for those of us who have one and those among us who can’t seem to get enough of them.

That being said, the vagina really is just a hole. And what do we humans like to do with holes? Filling them up with herb-laced balls wasn’t the first thought you had, right? What about marijuana? Because both of those things are now finding their ways into vaginas near you.

The Herbal Womb Detox Pearl (from Embrace Pangaea) is one such example supposed to help a woman fight off a bacterial infection naturally. The company says to place 3 of the pearls into the vagina and leave them there for 3 full days, after which time any infection, foul odor, itching, or other discomfort is supposed to be relieved.

Other “pearls” claim to be able to assist in “tightening” the vagina, presumably for women who’ve given birth recently and are worried about how in the world it’s going to return back to its normal size without some help. (It will.)

The problem here—and it’s a big one—is that the vagina doesn’t need help. Unless it really, really does, in which case, you will know. And you will seek a professional to help you because messing around with unregulated herbal products will seem oh so futile at that point. And the irony, of course: leaving bags of herbs inside your vagina for days on end in self-diagnosis and treatment traps companies like these love, can actually cause the infections you’re trying to expel from your happy hole. There’s even a risk of toxic shock syndrome, which can be fatal.

Floria Relief is a new suppository that contains cannabis—yes, the stuff you smoke—purported to help relieve menstrual cramping. Since cannabis is known—and prescribed—for pain relief and muscle relaxing, the cannabis-filled suppositories are getting quite a lot of, let’s just say, buzz. But like the herbal pearls, there has also been no FDA testing or approval of the insertable cannabis product. Again, that’s not good news.

Even tampons are considered medical devices. They must be tested to be free from certain chemicals including pesticide and herbicide residue. They’re also tested for their absorbency range, the strength of the string, and the ability to withstand shredding. Because we definitely want to be able to retrieve whatever we put up there—ALL OF IT—right?

While there’s not yet any evidence that these vaginal pearl products are seriously dangerous (or deadly), countless medical experts are suggesting women avoid them.

“These herbs (or whatever, because you really just don’t know – hey it could just be dirt from someone backyard) could be damaging to your lactobacilli (the good bacteria) or be directly irritating to the vagina mucosa (the lining) and both of these outcomes will increase your risk of infection,” writers Dr. Jen Gunter on her blog.

“What happens when you leave something in a vagina for 3 days is that anaerobic (not good) bacteria grow…These mesh “pearls” will just be a nidus for infection,” she explains.

Remember douche? I say remember, because while they are still on the market, you probably don’t know anyone who’s ever used douche (except maybe in a sentence to describe Donald Trump). We don’t use them because as any self-respecting OB/GYN will tell you–you don’t need them. A healthy vagina can be smelled from about one foot away. And unless you exclusively eat rose petals, it won’t smell like roses. (Okay, and even if you did, it wouldn’t smell like roses unless you used a rose-scented douche. Why? Because vaginas aren’t flowers.) Douches flush out the important microbes that keep your vagina healthy. It’s why most women don’t use them anymore. And while an herbal suppository won’t flush out your microbes like a douche does, it may certainly introduce new ones that make you sick.

“The vagina makes excess discharge when there is A) irritation B) infection C) an absence of good bacteria. This discharge isn’t some toxic swill that the vagina was hiding that only the “pearls” could release,” says Gunter, “it’s a sign that these ‘pearls’ are damaging.”

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