What’s With All the Vaginal Creams, Wipes and Gummies?
We asked Laura Sycuro and Deborah Money—a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of British Columbia and the principal investigator for the Vaginal Microbiome Group Initiative—about some “cures” that health influencers and self-proclaimed experts have offered up for supposedly achieving a perfectly balanced vaginal microbiome.
Kourtney Kardashian recently stepped into this spotlight with a cat-themed marketing campaign designed to convince us that we need to treat our vaginas like a candy store. (Her—cringe—Lemme Purr gummies, which are ingested orally, are supposed to support the health of the vagina and make it taste sweeter.)
“Miracle cures for vaginal imbalances can essentially go unchecked and are still mostly snake oil,” Sycuro says. “We don’t have regulatory bodies that mandate [they] have evidence.”
“The vast majority of creams, sprays and douches are great marketing, and terrible for women’s health, because they disrupt the normal balance,” adds Money.
Our experts’ blanket recommendations: Stop watching TikTok videos, leave your crotch alone to self-clean (like an oven!) and don’t let Gwyneth Paltrow or reality TV stars convince you to put anything up there, jade egg or otherwise.
Don’t bother with
Probiotic supplements ingested to “increase beneficial bacteria” in the vagina
“The clinical trials haven’t been a smashing success yet,” says Sycuro—meaning anything selling itself as a vaginal microbiome health miracle pill, or claiming to make our private parts “fresher,” is premature.
Boric acid suppository to balance vaginal acidity
This is one treatment in which Money sees some value, though with a few caveats. “Boric acid actually can be quite good as a suppressant of yeast infections and recurrent bacterial vaginosis,” she says. But, she emphasizes, you need to seek a professional diagnosis rather than just a Google search result—and get a prescription rather than going DIY.
Vaginal steaming with herb-infused water
At this point, you might have a hunch that this is a no-no. Though people use vaginal steaming to allegedly tighten and freshen up the area, overheating your genitals can help bacteria thrive, leading to infections. “The cells of the skin on your face [are] dead and hard, and you want to slough them off. But the ones on the surface of the vagina are softer and partially alive […] and vaginal steaming can definitely change how protective and healthy that tissue is,” says Sycuro.
Please don’t try
Yes, patients do ask Money about smearing yogurt directly into the vagina as a natural probiotic. Her response? “It’s a great food.” Eat it for breakfast and leave it at that.