From jade eggs and vagacials to sticking yogurt in your vagina.
It’s easy to feel like you’re failing as a vagina owner these days.
The never-ending parade of products, pills, and procedures designed to tighten, freshen, and balance your vagina can make your genitals seem like a mysterious yet delicate beast that needs constant attention and care. In reality, less is typically more when it comes to your vulva and vagina.
So to figure out what's healthy and what's all hype, BuzzFeed Health spoke with a few board-certified gynecologists: Dr. Lauren Streicher, clinical associate professor at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, author of Sex Rx, Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, clinical professor at Yale School of Medicine, and Dr. Jennifer Gunter, OB/GYN and pain medicine physician. Here's what they had to say about 10 popular vagina trends.
According to Khloe Kardashian, her sisters can't stop talking about vagina lasers that “tighten.” It's not clear which lasers they're referring to, but there are some procedures associated with these claims, like ThermiVa, which uses radiofrequency to heat the genital tissue to stimulate collagen production (though it's not *technically* a laser).
The claim: Encourages collagen production for tightening of the vaginal opening or labia; increased libido and sexual satisfaction, decreased vaginal dryness, and better bladder control.
Gynos say: There are no scientific studies proving that radiofrequency devices have these benefits, according to Streicher (she does however use a CO2 laser in her office, which has been shown to decrease vaginal dryness as a result of menopause or chemotherapy).
But keep in mind that you probably don't need any vaginal “tightening,” especially if you've never given birth vaginally. “We don't have any long term data on these things, so use at your own peril,” says Gunter. That said, if you are interested in a vaginal procedure like this, the experts suggest only going to a reputable, licensed gynecologist (rather than a spa or even a plastic surgeon or dermatologist). “Because even in the best hands you can have surgical complications,” says Minkin.
ThermiVa / Via thermi.com
Made famous on an episode of Insecure, where Molly tries one to fix her “broken pussy,” a vajacial is essentially a facial for your genital region. It's obviously a misnomer, since the facial is happening on the skin surrounding your pubic area — not your internal reproductive anatomy — but whatever.
The claim: Eliminates ingrown hairs and bumps by cleansing and exfoliating to clean blocked pores.
Gynos say: Those annoying bumps are typically caused by hair removal, so rethinking your method of going bare might be a good place to start. That said, some people are just more prone to ingrown hairs, particularly people with coarse or curly pubic hair.
So about that vulvacial — it's really just a facial for your pubic region. So while it might help one person with skin issues or ingrowns, it might exacerbate issues for another. The skin in this area is extremely sensitive, so you may end up with irritation or inflammation, says Streicher. She suggests skipping it if you have any vulvar skin conditions or sensitivities down there. Minkin suggests a hot soak for ingrowns, while Gunter says treating them with salicylic acne cream could help. Either way, talk to your gynecologist if you have consistent or severe bumps and ingrowns in your genital region.
Jade eggs for your vagina
According to Goop (Gwyneth Paltrow's lifestyle blog), “jade eggs harness the power of energy work, crystal healing, and a Kegel-like physical practice.” Sure!
The claim: “Fans say regular use increases chi, orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy in general.”
Gynos say: None of the doctors could respond to the non-medical claims (like crystal healing or feminine energy), but they weren't impressed with it's use as a Kegel weight. If you're just contracting your pelvic floor muscles to keep the egg in place while you walk around, you miss out on the release part of the exercise, which could lead to pelvic pain, says Gunter. They may also be harder to sterilize, as opposed to medical-grade vaginal weights. As for increasing your chi or giving you better orgasms, “I think it's an expensive placebo,” says Gunter.
“I would never tell someone that the jade egg is effective,” says Streicher.