A shocking and dangerous new trend has taken the Internet by storm. Women in search of a cure-all for painful episiotomy cuts and other vaginal issues, particularly after childbirth, have taken to grinding wasp nests into a paste and then inserting that paste into their vaginas. The website Green Live Forever touts this treatment as a “female renewal solution,” claiming that it provides “vaginal tightening and rejuvenation.” But is this just a harmless, albeit strange trend, or could this practice cause serious health problems?
Several online sites, including Etsy, have been selling oak galls – basically a fancy term for wasp egg nests – promising that they can do everything from cleaning and tightening the vagina, to improving sexual intimacy. And women seem to be buying into their claims. An Etsy retailer called Heritage Health Shop has sold out of their product, unable to keep up with burgeoning demand. [RELATED: Discover the latest reputable scientific breakthroughs in women’s health at WomensHealth.news]
One particularly common use for the treatment seems to be the healing of episiotomy cuts – particularly painful surgical incisions in the muscle between the vagina and the anus, sometimes used to facilitate childbirth.
Some websites have even made the outrageous claim that the treatment can prevent cervical cancer. While it is refreshing to see a “natural” alternative to the HPV vaccine pushed by the medical community for cervical cancer prevention, this is simply not a credible alternative. [RELATED: Find out how to cure yeast infections safely and naturally.]
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Jen Gunter, a gynecologist from Canada, warns that this new craze is “dangerous” and carries serious risks.
“This product follows the same dangerous pathway of other ‘traditional’ vaginal practices,” she explains. “Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good). It could also wreak havoc with the good bacteria. In addition to causing pain during sex it can increase the risk of HIV transmission. This is a dangerous practice with real potential to harm.”
Besides the long-term damage that could be caused by the wasp nest treatment, if it successfully masks a condition like an unpleasant vaginal odor, that is actually counterproductive since it is important to determine the underlying cause of such problems and seek urgent medical assistance.
Part of the reason that such a crazy trend may have taken off is the fact that women are too shy to talk openly about vaginal issues and this makes them vulnerable to misinformation. A recent survey found that two out of three women are too uncomfortable to even say the word “vagina.”
The reality is, just like any other part of the body, the vagina is susceptible to infection and other issues, and should be cared for properly. Women should be careful of creams or other treatments that damage the delicate bacterial balance of the vagina. Proper hygiene practices are vital, and women should be careful when using products like tampons that are inserted in the vagina, since these can cause toxic shock syndrome (TSS).
If you are experiencing problems with an episiotomy cut that won’t heal, vaginal dryness, an unpleasant odor or any of the other issues the wasp nest treatment is supposed to address, it is important to see a naturopathic doctor or qualified healthcare practitioner rather than trying DIY solutions at home.
And Dr. Gunter provides some really sensible advice when it comes to any treatment purporting to address vaginal issues:
“Here’s a pro-tip, if something burns when you apply it to the vagina it is generally bad for the vagina.”