Well, doctors are saying that miiiiiiight be where we should draw the line.
Herbal tampons (or "womb pearls," if you're feeling regal 'bout it) have been having a moment on the internet as of late. Last week, a blogger on the beauty website XONecole told readers that she recently detoxed her V with these homemade contraptions, which are available on such reputable retailers as Amazon and the homemade craft shop Etsy. She swore the herbal tampons yielded magical results, such as the expulsion of "toxic" discharge from her lady garden.
"Overall, I think this was one of the best decisions I've made in regards to my personal health," wrote Tiara Janté. "I definitely recommend anyone suffering yeast and other vaginal infections, fibroid pain, severe menstrual pain and/or fertility issues to research womb detox methods further in order to determine if it's for you. While I'm no medical professional, I can speak from experience and say it worked for me and is now a vital part of my overall feminine care regiment."
Medical professionals themselves, however, aren't quite as enthusiastic.
San Francisco gynecologist Jen Gunter wrote on her blog Tuesday that "the vagina is a self-cleaning oven" and "leaving a bag of anything in [it] for 3 days is dangerous and smelly." She also mentions that the pearls create a risk for toxic shock syndrome, a mix of bacterial infections that could actually be life-threatening.
And as for all that magical detoxing discharge, Gunter warns that it's actually a bad sign.
"The vagina makes excess discharge when there is A) irritation B) infection C) an absence of good bacteria," she wrote. "This discharge isn't some toxic swill that the vagina was hiding that only the 'pearls' could release, it's a sign that these 'pearls' are damaging."
It should be noted that there are some Etsy alternatives to the mass market tampon industry that are not quite as harmful to your health as these tea bag-like nuggets. Homemade menstrual pads, for example, are a sustainable alternative to tampons that have revolutionized the way some women deal with their periods. Period-friendly fashion, such as Thinx's leak-resistant underwear, is also making something of a splash on the handmade market.
But as for vaginal "detoxing," most doctors agree that it's really not necessary. Gynecologists have consistently said that the best course of action to #CleanseYourCoochie is simply to let go and trust your body's ability to tend to itself.
"The vagina has really great mechanisms within it to keep it clean and have its own little healthy 'ecosystem,'" Jessica Shepherd, a gynecologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago, told Women's Health last year. "The beautiful part of the vagina is that it's physiologically built to take care of itself."
So although these herbal tamps may seem holistic or healing or whatever, don't be fooled. They're no match for your body's own capabilities of natural detoxification.
"Have a little faith in me" — your vagina, singing to you from below.
h/t the Frisky