Warning: Reading this article may make you want to gird your loins — literally.
The latest trend in women's health is herbal womb detox pearls, which go for anywhere between $15 and $480 and are supposedly made of "ancient herbs" that "carry a fresh fragrant scent similar to flowers."
The pearls are popping on many holistic wellness websites, as well as Amazon and Etsy, with sellers claiming that the little herb sachets "cleanse the womb and return it to a balance (sic) state."
Women can choose from a variety of herbal mixes that are supposed to target different vaginal imbalances — whether it's a foul odor, yeast infection, fibroids, or even endometriosis. And we can't forget the "Vaginal Tightening Package," which is designed for "women that want to tighten their womb."
To use the pearls, women are directed to insert three sachets into their vaginas and keep them tucked away up there "for exactly 72 hours." After they've removed the pearls, women are strongly advised to wear panty liners because discharge from the cleanse will come out over the next three days.
We really, really wish we made this up. But we didn't.
Stay Away From the Vajayjay
Placing this packet of herbs anywhere near your nether regions is a very bad idea, says Sara Gottfried, MD, gynecologist and author of The Hormone Reset Diet: Heal Your Metabolism to Lose Up to 15 Pounds in 21 Days.
"There's no reason to cleanse the womb!" she says, adding that the product name itself is problematic, considering the pearls are designed to go in the vagina. "Thankfully, it's not for the actual womb, which is your uterus."
Dr. Gottfried stresses that the female reproductive organs have absolutely no need to be detoxified. "Both the vagina and uterus are like a self-cleaning oven," she explains. "That is, as long as there are no foreign objects present, such as these herbal womb detox pearls."
If you're experiencing unusual odors, discharges, or recurrent infections, such as bacterial vaginosis or yeast, the best thing to do is to make an appointment with your doctor, Gottfried says.
"Popping an unregulated herbal supplement into the vagina for three days is grounds for toxic shock syndrome, which is potentially deadly," she adds. "Would you put a tampon in for three days? Me neither. Save your money and eat some sauerkraut instead."