A woman who voluntarily inserts anything into her vagina, for something other than menstrual or sexual reasons, is going to cause quite a stir. Especially, if she puts a video of herself pulling it out or “after” photos on social media. Womb detoxing, by way of tiny bags of herbs commonly called yoni pearls, vaginal pearls or herbal tampons, is becoming more popular among women looking to cure fibroids, PCOS, yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis. Some companies also claim that their products will aid in the removal of ovarian cysts, thrush, and endometriosis.
However, most of the “Womb Warriors,” as some distributors refer to themselves, are not gynecologists, nor any kind of medical professionals for that matter. In fact, some gynecologists, like Dr. Jean Gunter, speak against using at-home womb cleansing techniques to detox your womb and warn women that certain products lead to TSS or toxic shock syndrome. Many of the Womb Warriors post their clients’ testimonies alongside graphic images of their discharge, released after the cleanse. But, Dr. Gunter regards these images as photographic evidence that the herbs are causing more harm than good.
“The vagina makes excess discharge when there is A) irritation, B) infection, C) absence of good bacteria,” Dr. Gunter wrote in a recent blog after seeing a photo of womb cleansing pearls on her social media timeline.
These images are causing quite the reaction from women. Some women are eager to try it while others think it’s dangerous and best left to gynecologists and fertility clinics. Nevertheless, brands like Yoni Pearls, Embrace Pangaea and Dinqnesh Pearls continue to grow amidst the controversy.
Womb cleansing techniques have been practiced for years, but as with most things, celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian have made old practices the new trend. Two of the more popular methods of womb cleansing are the yoni pearls and herbal tampons, which consist of inserting them into the vagina and leaving them in for three days. After they are removed, most women experience a thick mucous or tissue-like discharge. Some of the herbs included in the cleanses are rhizoma, osthol, and borneol.
Dr. Eden Fromberg, a doctor of osteopathic medicine, recently told Shape magazine the herbs used in womb cleansing products can be helpful. But, she questions the quality of the herbs. “What you’re buying off the internet isn’t the same recipe or quality as what an herbal medicine practitioner would give you,” she said. Dr. Fromberg also warns that using these cleaning methods may be removing good bacteria, which can result in vaginal infections.