Health

Here's What Gynecologists Think Of 10 Popular Vagina Trends

From jade eggs and vagacials to sticking yogurt in your vagina.

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It's easy to feel like you're failing as a vagina owner these days.

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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.

1. Vaginal Lasers

ThermiVa / Via thermi.com

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 radio frequency 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 radio frequency 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.

2. Vajacials

HBO

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.

3. Jade Eggs for Your Vagina

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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 nonmedical claims (like crystal healing or feminine energy), but they weren't impressed with its 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.

4. Boric Acid Suppositories

LOVE WELLNESS / Via lovewellness.co

Boric acid is a compound with antifungal properties. It comes in powder form, but can be made into a gelatin capsule at a compounding pharmacy. Lo Bosworth (yes, from Laguna Beach) even includes a boric acid suppository called The Killer in her new line of wellness products.

The claim: "Eliminate yeast infections and BV within hours," reads the product description. "Whether it's used as a spot treatment for when you feel a little 'off' or for a full course of treatment, The Killer brings your vaginal pH back to its normal range allowing for an environmental re-set! Hello, overnight miracle!"

Gynos say: OK, so it's not going to solve your problems overnight, but it could work in very specific situations. Minkin says she typically only suggests it for repeat yeast infections that just won't go away. "My standard regimen for recurrent yeast infections is a boric acid suppository twice a day for two weeks, then once a day for two weeks." But if you just get a stray infection every once in a while, you're better off with OTC or prescription antifungal treatments that work much more quickly (sometimes in just one day).

Gunter stresses that you should always check with your doctor if you think you have a yeast infection, since most people who self-diagnose a yeast infection actually have something else (like an irritation from soaps or detergents or an STI).

5. Organic Tampons

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Brands like Lola, Seventh Generation, and The Honest Company tout all-natural, all-cotton, organic tampons. The implication, of course, is that your regular old tampons aren't safe enough for your delicate vag.

The claim: That it's safer to use all organic tampons that don't contain any synthetic fibers (like rayon) and haven't been manufactured using chlorine or bleaches. They're also free of fragrances and deodorants.

Gynos say: "This is heavy-duty marketing. There is absolutely no science behind their claims," says Streicher. "The standard, regular old tampons are just fine. They don't increase your risk of toxic shock, they don't increase your risk of cancer." That said, the doctors do suggest avoiding scented tampons since it's unnecessary and could be irritating. But when it comes to going organic with your tampons, there's really no need. Tampons are regulated by the FDA, and there is no evidence to suggest that the ones on the market contain any harmful ingredients.

"If it's your personal preference, that's fine, but don't do it with the idea that this is somehow going to be healthier," says Streicher.

6. Pubic Hair Oil

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Apparently Emma Watson swears by Fur Oil on her ends, eyebrows, and bush.

The claim: "Used daily, Fur Oil softens pubic hair and clears pores for fewer ingrowns."

Gynos say: It's probably harmless, but most likely unnecessary. "Pubic hair, like any other hair, produces oil," says Streicher. Though if the area really feels dry, Gunter says plain old coconut oil can help. That said, if you like it and you find it helps reduce ingrown hairs, go for it. But keep an eye out for any irritation or breakouts, which would be a sign to stop using it.

7. pH-Balanced Wipes

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Anything that claims to keep the ever-mysterious pH in balance seems important and worth your money, including cleansing wipes specifically formulated for your vulva, like those from Summer's Eve or SweetSpot.

The claim: Using these wipes helps maintain a natural pH balance, reduces odor, and helps you "freshen up" after sex/your period/working out/etc.

Gynos say: Having a pH imbalance can lead you to develop a vaginal infection, explains Gunter. It's a sign that there's not enough good bacteria in the vagina, and it's something your gyno may notice on a test when they're trying to diagnose an issue. But it's not something you should test or fix at home, nor can you. "People need to stop thinking about vaginal pH as something you can control," she says. "It's a thing we look for in the office."

So, pH-balanced wipes aren't going to make your vagina sparkle and shine while keeping your pH in check. For starters, your vaginal pH is in your vagina, so you won't even reach it with a wipe. "That's like if you have bad breath and you wash your face and expect it to treat your bad breath," says Streicher. Just skip the wipes altogether, says Gunter. A little water (and maybe some mild soap) is all you need around your vulva.

8. Sticking Yogurt in Your Vagina

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Yogurt contains probiotics, which are allegedly good for vaginal health. So if you have a yeast infection or other vaginal woe, why not eat your yogurt and stick it in your vagina, too?

The claim: That yogurt contains probiotics that help maintain good vaginal health, and applying it locally inside the vagina will be most effective.

Gynos say: "Do not put food in your vagina," says Streicher. In fact, yogurt and other probiotic supplements don't even contain the same types of lactobacilli that contribute to a healthy vagina, she says.

Minkin is a little more forgiving, though she obviously stresses plain, unflavored yogurt only if you insist on trying this: "Have I had people tell me they found yogurt extraordinary for themselves? Sure. But there's not a lot of data to support it."

9. Kegel Trainers

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You know that Kegels are good for you, but now there are little Bluetooth-enabled devices that help your vagina stick to her strict workout regimen.

The claim: That products like Elvie and PeriCoach help you strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, reduce bladder leakage, increase core strength, and increase sexual satisfaction.

Gynos say: While they're definitely more expensive than doing Kegels solo, if it helps you, why not? "In a perfect world, every woman could have a pelvic floor physical therapist," says Streicher. "I look at these Bluetooth devices as being the next good option for women to do." Research shows that Kegels do help improve the strength of your pelvic floor (which, in turn, could help with incontinence and sexual functioning), but most people aren't doing them properly or consistently enough.

Gunter compares it to splurging on a fancy gym membership to use the treadmills instead of running outside for free. If you and your doctor agree that you should be doing Kegels regularly and this is the only thing that will get you to do it, go for it.

A cheaper alternative: Just ask your gyno to evaluate your Kegels at your next appointment. "I can teach someone to do Kegels during a pelvic exam," says Minkin.

10. Vaginal Weed Suppositories

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First there was weed lube, now there are weed tampons (kind of). Each suppository contains 60mg of THC and 10mg of CBD.

The claim: "FORIA Relief has been carefully crafted using a delivery system intended to maximize the muscle relaxing and pain relieving properties of cannabis without inducing a psychotropic 'high.'"

Gynos say: "I would really advise against putting weed in your vagina," says Gunter, while Minkin and Streicher say they'd like to see some double-blind placebo trials before weighing in.

Here's the thing: Cramps are caused by the production of prostaglandins, and anti-inflammatory medication like Advil and Motrin can actually block the production of prostaglandins. THC and CBD have not been proven to do this, as far as these experts know. Plus, that's a lot of THC that will be absorbed into your bloodstream via your vagina.

"I'm sure some enterprising medical student would love to do this research," says Streicher.