A gynaecologist and author of The Vagina Bible has warned women against inserting objects into their vagina.
California-based Dr. Jennifer Gunter notes that though both good and bad bacteria live in the vagina, women should be careful not to upset the delicate balance between the bacteria if they want to avoid an infection called Bacterial Vaginosis.
She notes that in order to tackle certain infections peculiar to the vagina, some women employ unconventional methods such as inserting garlic or yoghurt into the vagina.
Taking to her verified Twitter handle @DrJenGunter on Wednesday, the vagina specialist warned women that garlic contains allicin, and that, when used in laboratory processes, allicin may have anti-fungal (i.e. anti-yeast) properties.
However, she says, allicin is not going to achieve the same effects when it comes into contact with the vagina.
Tweeting under the hashtag #VaginaIsANoGarlicZone (vagina is a no garlic zone), Gunter warns, “Lots of vaginal garlic aficionados recommend inserting a clove.
“This means they don’t understand that, for allicin to be released, the garlic has to be cut or crushed.”
She warns that “garlic could have bacteria from the soil;” and that “bacteria from the soil can be pathogenic — bad for the body.”
She counsels that if a woman actually happens to have an inflamed, yeasty vagina, the soil bacteria from garlic would be more likely to worsen the infection rather than cure it.
“So, for garlic to work, you would have to crush it and stuff it up somehow. There is still the dirt thing. And the cut-up garlic on raw tissues…”
She says when the gynaecologist eventually has to intervene to flush out garlic from the vagina, it could be really unpleasant.
One of Gunter’s Twitter followers, Imogen Howson @imogenhowson told the doctor that she had been told to use yoghurt for her vaginal infections, noting that it never worked.
Gunter responded, “They are wrong and I am correct. Any provider who recommends vaginal yoghurt for vaginal yeast does not understand the vaginal ecosystem.”
Another vaginal garlic user @SusannahFleming, countered the doctor’s advice, arguing, “It’s worked for milder infections in the past. Really helps and feels so cooling and it’s way cheaper than monistat (a medication used to treat vaginal yeast infections).
“If it doesn’t work, I go to the drugs. It certainly doesn’t do any harm.”
Gunter disagrees, noting,
“It could do harm. It has strains of lactobacilli and other bacteria that are not helpful for the vaginal ecosystem. It is also ineffective.”