So…Why Are Women Putting Wasps Nests In Their Vagina?

Ok, so I’ve heard of off-the-wall treatments to make you feel and look better, but this one might top them all. Like, I’ve heard of Ben-Wa balls, putting coconut oil down there, and I may even try that vaginal steam stuff, but wasp nest? C’mon now. I mean the flying insect that I’m afraid of? You want me to put that where?

Well, there are a number of sources that claim that wasp nests promises to single-handedly tighten and clean the vagina with the added bonus of preventing cervical cancer. The tradition hails from Southeast Asia and Malaysia, where women supposedly first used the nests after childbirth to restore the elasticity of the uterine wall.

The nests, also called oak galls, are formed when a gall wasp lays eggs in a tree’s leaf buds as a home for the larva to develop. The chemical substance introduced by wasps to make the galls is what retailers claim can heal the uterine wall after childbirth, repair an episiotomy cut (a surgical procedure to prevent tearing during childbirth) when the paste of the galls is applied and also clean out the vagina. Also, any burning sensation is supposed to be “proof” of that it is a powerful astringent. I’m giving a serious side eye to that theory.

These things are being sold on sites like Amazon and Etsy. Because the tree regards the larvae as an irritant, it naturally creates a hard shell around it and the little worms inside feed off the growth until they can break free. Some holistic practitioners believe that once the oak galls are ground up and mixed into a paste or boiled and used as a vaginal wash, their astringent properties will tighten and firm the muscles of the vagina, and ultimately improve elasticity.

Meanwhile, doctors are cautioning against it, insisting that it can do more harm than good. A few such unpleasant side effects include painful sex due to dryness of the vaginal wall, the diminishment of healthful bacteria (which can lead to yeast infections) and, like all intravaginal practices, an increased risk of infections, including HIV.

Also, as far as experiencing vaginal burning when anything — wasp nests or otherwise — is applied, that’s not generally a good sign.

“Here’s a pro tip,” says Dr. Jen Gunter, a gynecologist who wrote a blog post in response to the vaginal wasp nests. “If something burns when you apply it to the vagina, it is generally bad for the vagina.” Gunter has likewise voiced concerns over other methods of “vaginal rejuvenation,” including V-steaming (Gwyneth Paltrow’s go-to) and herbal “womb detox pearls,” which can lead to toxic shock syndrome.

Putting any “medicinal” object, paste, liquid, insect villa or anything else that is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) into your vagina can be…