I love a home remedy. Send me your latest DIY all-natural countertop spray or face scrub, and next time you see me you’ll remark on how clean my kitchen is and how bright my face looks. However, as a wise person once told me, all-natural is great but remember that arsenic, too, is “all-natural”.
That’s why we have to be cautious when we adopt home remedies.
Just because the internet or your friend who sells essential oils told you that it’s okay, that does not mean that medical professionals sign off.
Gynecologist Dr. Jennifer Gunter is sick and tired of one particular home remedy that she keeps seeing — garlic in vaginas.
Dr. Gunter has made it her personal mission to,
“build a better medical Internet,”
and her latest Twitter rant was written in hopes of shutting down a harmful home remedy for good.
Why you should not put garlic in your vagina.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
Garlic contains allicin, in THE LAB it MAY have antifungal (i.e. anti yeast) properties. This is in a lab, not even in mice. Just a dish of cells. Your vagina is not a dish of cells. #vaginaisanogarliczone 1/8
Lots of vaginal garlic aficionados (I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO TWEET THAT IN 2019, BUT HERE WE ARE) recommend inserting a clove. This means they don't understand for allicin to be released the garlic has to be cut or crushed. Sigh. #vaginaisanogarliczone 2/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
Garlic could have bacteria from the soil. Bacteria from the soil can be pathogenic -- bad for the body. That's why we clean wounds. If you actually happen to have an inflamed yeasty vagina that soil bacteria would be more likely to infect #vaginaisanogarliczone 3/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
So for garlic to work you would have to crush it and stuff it up somehow. There is still the dirt thing. And the cut up garlic on raw tissues thing (OUCH). And the fishing of the garlic out by the gyno thing. #vaginaisanogarliczone 4/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
Garlic can cause biofilms on braces, so could garlic contribute to biofilms in the vagina? Biologically plausible. Biofilms are bad. You do not want them to form especially when you have yeast. Effect of garlic good bacteria also unknown #vaginaisanogarliczone 5/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
As 50-70% of women who self treat for vaginal yeast never actually had a yeast infection you can't say much, except half of them never had yeast to begin with so the irritation they had may have been a temporary thing and resolving wasn't garlic related #vaginaisanogarliczone 6/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
And the placebo effect is strong. If you think vaginal garlic is going to make you feel better, you may very well feel better temporarily. #vaginaisanogarliczone 7/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
My advice, do not take medical advice from anyone recommending vaginal garlic for yeast or anything else. If you enjoyed this thread, you will like my book The Vagina Bible (August 27) #vaginaisanogarliczone https://t.co/G3azTcxTaI 8/8— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
I’m adding one more tweet.— Jennifer Gunter (@DrJenGunter) April 23, 2019
You know why you refrigerate home made garlic vinaigrette? So any clostridium bacteria laying around on the garlic doesn’t produce botulinum toxin. Right. The vagina is an anaerobic environment, so perfect for clostridium. You’re welcome. 9/8
She also posted a full article she wrote for the New York Times about vaginal health.
The TL;DR version of the thread is simply this — garlic is not meant to be put in vaginas. While it may have antifungal properties in a lab setting, placing garlic in a vagina will most likely not alleviate a yeast infection and instead will put said vagina in a very dangerous and precarious position.
Dr. Gunter’s thread came in response to a now-deleted tweet claiming that,
“Garlic, yogurt, and tea tree oil are all successful home remedies for vaginal yeast infections.”
Many people can’t believe this is something we still have to talk about.
The need for this headline, OMG— Becca (@beccarebec) April 24, 2019
When people tell me they insert garlic cloves, lemon, yogurt and other edibles in their vagina to clean them out. Sisters please! Stop wasting your groceries. Just use water. Just water. 😩 pic.twitter.com/RsCveXb8Mc— Yummy Mummy (@yummymummyke) March 15, 2019
So this thread exists and it makes me sad that it's actually necessary. But seriously, dont put garlic in your vagina - that's not how that works. #societyneedsscience#vaginaisanogarliczone https://t.co/8juNQJOEb1— ZCRZ (@zzcrzz) April 23, 2019
I’m devastated that anyone would actually need a thread explaining why you shouldn’t stuff your chuff with garlic, but here’s a very good one if you haven’t yet got this memo. https://t.co/cBLluCNBs6— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) April 23, 2019
If Bella Swan had put garlic in her vagina, perhaps she wouldn't have ended up in a relationship with Edward Cullen and I can't believe that I am even writing a sarcastic such as this about such an inane concept as vaginal garlic.— Brian (@OfficeBob) April 23, 2019
Thanks. I just thought you could put garlic with anything but I'll take vagina off the list.— O'Joshee (@OJoshee) April 23, 2019
1. Spaghetti sauce ✔
I feel like "I shouldn't have to say this" should be the slogan for 2019.— Tanner is ready for the Endgame (@Bruinraven) April 23, 2019
Gang, it's 2019. And we still need this thread. Yegods. https://t.co/JZrItVGlYh— Phil 🇨🇦 (@kashicat) April 24, 2019
Is this real life? https://t.co/HGb0l6SkHq— Bert Weiss (@BertShowBert) April 23, 2019
WTAF. If you need to be told this I'm afraid there is no hope for you. https://t.co/uGtBAMJZLL— Dr. Vix not on vacation (@JordanJaunt) April 24, 2019
Two words: VAGINA BOTULISM.— N. K. Jemisin (@nkjemisin) April 24, 2019
::cries quietly:: https://t.co/bFUXgjj3Ex
Please remember to consult a medical professional before ingesting any natural medicine via any orifice.