A trend among women for inserting herb balls in their vaginas to ‘detox their wombs’ could risk toxic shock syndrome, an expert has warned.
The Herbal Womb Detox Pearls, sold by US company Embrace Pangaea , are said to alleviate conditions such as endometriosis, ovarian cysts and thrush.
Made up of small packages of perfumed herbs, the balls sell for between £10 and £50 online.
The website claims they are “designed to cleanse the womb and return it to a balanced state”.
It adds: “The womb is not only a vessel for bringing in souls to the physical plane, but also a vessel that can hold on to emotional, physical and spiritual pain.”
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The pearls are specially created with ancient herbs and can correct major imbalances, the site says.
Another package, on sale for between £50 and £125, offers “tightening” resulting in the vaginal canal shrinking and “heightened sexual pleasure”.
But Jen Gunter, a US gynaecologist, wrote a blog post in which she disparaged the company’s claims.
In her article, called ‘Don’t detox your vagina or uterus with a bag of herbs in your vagina. Really’, Dr Gunter said: “Your uterus isn’t tired or depressed or dirty and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra.
“They want no real help from you unless there is something wrong and they will tell you there is something wrong by bleeding profusely or itching or cramping badly or producing an odor.
“Don’t blame malaise, or fatigue on your uterus or vagina (unless you are anemic from bleeding, but then you would have had the warning sign).
“Actually none of your organs want the kind of help that comes with a “detox” because they have evolved to take care of themselves in partnership with the rest of your body.
“There is no such thing as a detox or a cleanse, they are fake terms used by snake oil salespeople to lighten wallets.”
Dr Gunter goes onto to describe the vagina as a “self-cleaning oven” and that none of the contents mentioned by Embrace Pangea have been tested for vaginal use and could be “directly irritating”.
She goes on to say leaving a bag of anything in your vagina for three days is dangerous, smelly and “a risk for toxic shock syndrome”.
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“Do not under any circumstances put a mesh baggie of herbs in your vagina,” Dr Gunter concludes.
Tamieka Atkinson, owner of Embrace Pangaea, told The Independent she makes no claims of “curing, diagnosing, or treating disease”.
She added: “Our Herbal Womb Detox Pearls is simply a natural herbal alternative that women can make a conscious and informed decision in using. With all our clients, we do advise them that we are not medical professionals , and that they should seek assistance from their doctor.
“As for our products doing more harm than good, there are various women that received positive benefits from using our product.”