Juice detoxes are one thing, but a womb detox? That’s what one company is selling.
A US-based firm called Embrace Pangea is promoting “Herbal Womb Detox Pearls” online, claiming the products can help conditions including thrush, endometriosis and ovarian cysts.
According to the company, the pearls flush out “toxins” and help the womb return “to a balance state.”
There are different packages, tailored to different conditions but strangely, all images or the promoted products featured (including a Yeast Removal Package, Ovarian Cysts Package and your general Monthly Womb Maintenance Package) are all the same.
Leaving a product that is not designed for prolonged vaginal use (and these are not) in the vagina is a risk for toxic shock syndrome. Just don’t do it.
The pearls are small balls of perfumed herbs and cost anywhere from $15 USD to $480 USD.
Unsurprisingly, not everyone thinks they are a good idea.
US gyneacologist, Jen Gunter, has written a blog post blasting the claims entitled, ‘Don’t “detox” your vagina or uterus with a bag of herbs in your vagina. Really.’
“Your uterus isn’t tired or depressed or dirty and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra,” she writes. “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.”
But Dr Gunter isn't the only one who finds the new product ridiculous. Dr Gino Pecoraro, a Gyneacology and Obstetrics spokesperson from the Australian Medical Association agrees with the blog. He even goes on to explain how harmful some of the 'pearls' more marketable features really are.
For example some 'detox pearls' even claim to tighten the vaginal canal, resulting in "heightened sexual pleasure.”
But, Dr Pecoraro believes the only way a herbal treatment could tighten the vaginal canal is if its herbs caused the canal to swell up from damage.
"If you get inflammation from damaging the tissue, it'll give to the sensation of tightening. But I wouldn't see that as favourable," he shared.
Describing the vagina as like a “self-cleaning oven”, Dr Gunter says that the herbs could be damaging the good bacteria in the vagina, irritating the lining and increasing the risk of infection. She also warns that “none of the claimed contents have been tested on vaginal use.”
Dr Pecoraro agrees with Dr Gunter. He even shares that funnily enough this isn't the first time women have taken to a new vaginal detox trend.
"In the 70s, women were using douches to clean their vaginas. But it changes its pH levels and also increased the chance of infection occuring," says Dr. Gino Pecoraro.
Dr Gunter also takes exception to the direction to leave the ‘detox pearls’ (or bags of herbs) in the vagina for three days. “Yes, leaving a product that is not designed for prolonged vaginal use (and these are not) in the vagina is a risk for toxic shock syndrome. Just don’t do it.”
But Dr Pecoraro believes even leaving the 'pearl' in for around the same time as a tampon, just a few hours instead of a few days, could still be harmful for you.
"Tampons aborb fluid while, as I understand it, these herbal balls emit chemicals into you," he said. "And, until further testing, we don't know what effects these herbs could have."
As for our products doing more harm than good, there are various women that received positive benefits from using our product.
The owner of Embrace Pangaea, Tamieka Atkison spoke to the Independent in defence of the products: “Our product is not a drug by any means, and we make no claims of curing, diagnosing, or treating disease,” she says. "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."
But in this instance, we might give the final word to Dr Gunter: “And do not under any circumstances put a mesh baggie of herbs in your vagina.”