7 Natural Remedies That Do Not Belong In Your Vagina
Just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it belongs in your vag!
Who doesn’t love natural remedies? After all, what’s more appealing — popping a couple of Advil every four hours, or fighting off period pain naturally by, say, settling down with a cup of peppermint tea to relieve those menstrual cramps, instead? Would you rather purchase a triple action insert for a yeast infection at the price of a meal, or insert a homemade frozen yogurt pop up your vag? And don’t get me started about tampons. For years I’ve been balking at the chemical ingredients, the bleaching, and the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome. Have you felt the same way and been tempted to try out a sea sponge as a natural alternative, instead? Don’t! Look for natural, safe alternatives — I tried out period underwear and I’ll never use tampons again! But I’ll also never use sea sponges, period.
“Just because something is natural does not mean it is healthy for the body,” explains Dr. Elizabeth Sauter, an OB-GYN based in Connecticut with thirty years experience. Take tea tree oil, for example. When you’re making a face mask using all-natural ingredients, tea tree oil can be a delightful addition. Having said that, tea tree oil can cause chemical burns when inserted into the vagina. I repeat: chemical burns. Here are seven natural remedies that I have personally heard and read about for vaginal use — but it turns out they should never be used down there at all.
1. Sea Sponges
Sea sponges are touted as a natural alternative to tampons, but in this case “alternative” really just means “something else that can cause infection,” as sea sponges may contain bacteria and other icky stuff. Also, they can get lost in there. So then you’ve got something potentially rife with bacteria, lost inside your body. #bummer
2. Lemon Juice
“Lemon juice is very acidic and the pH can cause a chemical dermatitis (almost a burn), and change in the vaginal pH that would not necessarily be helpful and in fact damaging,” warns. Sauter. Don’t do it to “lighten” your vagina (your vagina is not 80s hair in need of Sun-In). Do not use it to douche. Do not use it with regards to your vagina at all.
Despite yogurt being a much-talked about remedy for yeast infections, Sauter explains that “No scientific studies — and there are many on yogurt — have been statistically helpful.” In addition, “yogurt is used to ‘treat yeast infections’ by trying to re-establish some of the healthy bacteria…. but most yeast infections that are seen in physicians offices that are diagnosed by the patient are in fact bacterial infections and thus yogurt would not be helpful.” In other words, after inserting or applying yogurt down there, you will still have a yeast infection — and a yogurty vagina, as well.
Garlic does have many wonderful properties, from spicing up that Margherita pizza to its potential healing powers. But still, it should not be inserted in your vagina — whether in clove form or as an oil — to fight a yeast infection or to aid with allover vaginal health.
Garlic, lemon juice, oregano… this list has the ingredients for quite the tasty meal! But none of this stuff belongs in your vagina. “Often the naturopathic method of compounding herbs and garlic are to make an oil based extract,” says Sauter, who explains that this means “they are not water soluble and might irritate the vagina in addition to not being the best if used in conjunction with condoms for contraception.”
6. Tea Tree Oil
Since it’s acceptable to put tea tree oil directly on your skin — as an addition to a face mask, for example, or to potentially relieve athlete’s foot or fungus-y nails — does that mean it’s okay to put it directly on your vagina to help vanquish infections? No, no, and no. Tea tree oil can cause allergic reactions as well as chemical burns on sensitive vaginal tissue. Always test it out first before using it to treat skin irritations, and never, ever put it on your vagina. Another FYI: tea tree oil (despite having “tea” in its name) should not be ingested.
Just because Gwyneth recommended vaginal steaming on her lifestyle blog doesn’t mean you should do it. In fact, you definitely should not try this trend. “Steam is hotter than boiling water and would burn the vaginal and vulvar tissues,” advises Sauter, adding that “Just because something is natural does not mean it is healthy for the body… you would never put ‘natural gas’ in your vagina nor consume it!”
Images via tumblr.com and pexels.com.
Comment: What is the strangest natural remedy you’ve ever tried on (or in) your vagina?
Luisa is SHESAID's beauty writer and a New Yorker who has been writing and editing professionally since 1997, when she started working at New York magazine. Since then, her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, New York, USA Today, Family Circle, Glamour, and many more. Follow Luisa on Twitter.