Yeah, no sh*t. Unfortunately, enough people still subscribe to alternative medicine that doctors are warning against using ground-up wasp nests a.k.a. oak galls to "tighten" vaginal muscles, as claimed by several online "health shops".
Oak galls can be found on the popular craft website Etsy, where they are marketed as an ingredient for ink-making or new age rituals. However, several Etsy retailers - including the allegedly Kuala Lumpur-based HeritageHealthShop - are selling oak galls for "traditional medicinal use".
Oak galls, also known as manjakani in Malay, are round-ish shells produced when female gall wasps lay eggs in an oak tree's developing leaf buds
According to the Etsy listing by HeritageHealthShop, oak galls are "widely used in traditional medicine for centuries by Persians, Arabs, Indians, Chinese and Malays. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians have used oak galls since 2725 BC."
The "health shop" also claims that oak galls are widely used in South East Asia, especially Malaysia and Indonesia, by women who've just given birth "to restore the elasticity of the uterine wall" and in India as "dental powder and as a treatment for toothache and gingivitis".
The listing has since been taken down, although it can still be viewed on Etsy as an expired page.
It should be noted that the shop did not offer any scientific evidence to support the aforementioned "health benefits". They did, however, include the following disclaimer (in all caps):
"DISCLAIMER: PRODUCTS SOLD HERE ARE NOT INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, TREAT, CURE OR PREVENT ANY DISEASES. THESE STATEMENTS HAVE NOT BEEN EVALUATED BY US FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION OR ANY OTHER MEDICAL AUTHORITIES."
Basically, it means you can't hold them responsible if you experience any side effects upon ingesting it or applying the oak galls on your vagina.
If that did not raise enough red flags, Canadian gynaecologist Dr. Jen Gunter has slammed the "dangerous" practice, pointing out that it can lead to harmful long-term implications for the vagina
"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," Gunter wrote.
"Drying the vaginal mucosa increases the risk of abrasions during sex (not good) and destroys the protective mucous layer (not good). It could also wreak havoc with the good bacteria. In addition to causing pain during sex it can increase the risk of HIV transmission. This is a dangerous practice with real potential to harm."
In fact, using oak galls in your vagina could lead to vaginal dryness, increasing risk of infections (especially sexually-transmitted infections like HIV) and even cause vaginal odour
"For starters, using oak galls in your vagina hasn't been studied, so there's no indication that this is a good idea or even safe," said Christine Greves, M.D., a board-certified OB-GYN.
"Not only that, it can cause vaginal dryness, which increases your risk of infection, including scary STIs like HIV. It can even cause vaginal odour, since vaginal dryness makes it easier for pathogens to enter your vagina.
The emergence of this practice has since been picked up by several international news outlets and scientific portals, especially in pointing out the its dangers as per Dr. Gunter's statements
Seriously though, if you're thinking about tightening your vagina or are concerned about the state of your womanhood, always refer to your doctor FIRST before shoving any random thing into your vagina
Contrary to certain beliefs, a vagina is actually self-regulating and able to maintain the proper pH, bacterial composition, moisture levels, lining, temperature, and such. While putting some things i.e. tampons and lube on your vagina are completely fine, certain questionable items such as tightener sticks, douches etc. are not scientifically proven to be beneficial to your vaginal health and can even be detrimental to your vaginal lining.
What do you think of alternative medical treatments? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.