Some women have been placing wasp nests in their private parts prompting doctors to warn about the dangers of this new trend.
Online retailers are selling ground-up oak galls as at-home remedy claimed to tighten and rejuvenate women's private parts.
What Are Oak Galls?
Oak galls are essentially growths from the bark of the trees that are produced when wasps or other organisms or their larvae expose trees to certain chemicals. The tree develops a protrusion that looks like a fruit that grew from a branch.
Although these tree growths do not necessarily serve as nests for the wasps, they serve as a sort of nursery for the larvae. Oak galls provide an ideal environment for the wasps to mature since the soft tissues that develop inside these provide food for the larva to eat as it grows.
While oak galls may be beneficial for wasps and other small creatures, they are not beneficial for women's reproductive health. Gynecologists have in fact warned women about placing them in the vagina.
Recommended For Use After Childbirth And During Or After Heavy Menstruation
Oak galls can dry up a woman's private part, which can lead to chafing during sex, making it easier to contract infections including STIs. These products can also disrupt the bacterial balance in the vagina which can raise risk for yeast infection and HIV.
Sellers of oak galls on Etsy market their products to women who have just given birth. The recommended usage involves applying a paste of galls on the episiotomy cut, the surgical cut in the area between the anus and the vagina made before delivery to enlarge vaginal opening.
Sellers also recommend it for use as feminine wash during or after a period particularly when excessive discharge occurs.
"The galls, which contain tannin and small amounts of gallic acid and ellagic acid have antimicrobial qualities and are used in South East Asia especially Malaysia and Indonesia by women after childbirth to restore the elasticity of the uterine wall," Etsy seller Heritage Health Shop described the medicinal uses of oak galls.
Ob-gyn Jennifer Gunter wrote about the dangers of using oak galls which include burning and drying.
"This product follows the same dangerous pathway of other 'traditional' vaginal practices, meaning tightening and drying the vagina which is both medically and sexually (for women anyway) undesirable," she wrote in her blog.
Other Dangerous Vaginal Products
The doctor also earlier criticized one of the vaginal products promoted by actress Gwyneth Paltrow: jade eggs.
Paltrow's website claimed that the $66-item boosts orgasm, hormonal balance, vaginal balance, and feminine energy. Gunter said that jade is porous and leaving it in the vagina during sleep may lead to bacterial infection, or worse, fatal Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Another product that Gunter criticized is the womb detox herbal balls, which were promoted to clean the womb and return it to a balanced state. The gynecologist said that leaving the balls in the vagina for a long time prompts growth of bad bacteria, which can lead to infection.