I’m a mooncup and a menstrual sponge user. One of these items is non-porous, body-safe silicone designed to last for about 5 years and one is a natural product that makes me question my veganism, but neither is bad for my body.
A wasp’s nest on the other hand?
Hell to the fucking no.
Yet, for some unimaginable reason, some individuals have decided that it is completely acceptable to place this nightmare-inducing material onto the vulva and inside of their vagina, as kindly flagged by Dr. Jen Gunter in his own article.
If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend that you go and read Dr. Gunter’s article. If you’d rather hear me ramble about it then stick around as I join Dr. Gunter’s rallying cry of ‘Enough is enough!’ and talk a bit about female anatomy and why a wasp’s nest has no place on any part of a person’s genitals.
Wait, what’s happening?
You would have thought that this piece of advice wasn’t needed. That’s it’s the stinger to some strange bar story (pun intended) but, nope, this is happening. Let me give you the low down.
Essentially, someone on Etsy has taken a new spin on the age-old product of ‘pretty much avoid this at all costs’ known as a vaginal herb or ‘detox’ ball. We’ll get in to this more later but, for now, just know that vaginas do not need a detox. They can take pretty good care of themselves, and such products usually do a lot more harm than good.
But, because potentially harmful detox balls weren’t enough we now have someone who is literally trying to encourage people to buy balls of tree bark that typically houses the larval stage of wasps, boil up the balls, and use the water from this process to soak and clean their vulva and vagina.
Oh god, please no. Why?
These products are known as ‘oak galls’. I could tell you exactly what an oak gall is but the product page does a good job at it (which is probably the only positive thing I can say about this whole situation):
[Oak galls] are produced when the bark or leaves of the oak tree Quercus infectoria are penetrated by the female Gallwasp, Cynips Gallae-tinctoriae, who lays its eggs inside.The spontaneous chemical reaction caused by the penetration stimulates the bark or leaves to produce a roundish hard ball called an oak gall.
And this retailer (and, bafflingly, others) want people to use the stock from on their vulva and vagina.
I’ve said it a few times now but I’ll say it again….NOPE.
But, just for good measure, let’s look at what a Gallwasp looks like, shall we?
I mean, granted, that is one majestic creature (I’m an insect fan) but it’s egg-laying reciprocal (and, presumably, residual larvae fluids) have no place near my genitals, nor in anyone else’s.
Oh, and it gets worst
Just when you thought this product couldn’t get more infuriating you find out what it’s used for.
One of its listed uses is to increase libido. Fair enough. I mean, no justification for shoving a wasp’s nest into any part of your body, but a pretty standard claim for a ‘medicinal’ product.
The main reason, though? Again, let us refer to the product page:
The galls, which contain tannin and small amounts of gallic acid and ellagic acid have antimicrobial qualities and are used in South East Asia especially Malaysia and Indonesia by women after childbirth to restore the elasticity of the uterine wall.
Let’s get this out of the way quickly: Vaginas change in a variety of ways after childbirth. Sometimes there is a recovery period before things are fine again and sometimes these changes are more permanent but, in any case, they are natural and not something that requires some form of instant herbal correction.
Moreover, this product claims that, if using their makeshift wasp’s nest broth, you may feel a stinging sensation ‘due to galls’ powerful astringent’ (ie. Something that contracts the tissues or canals of the body’.
Let us consider for a moment that, in most instances, a medically approved product will advise that if any stinging or pain occurs then you should discontinue use of the product immediately. Then consider that this product is asking people to be totally okay with placing sting-inducing wasp’s nest broth on to their genitals.
This is not acceptable. Not at all.
A brief overview of female flora
It is my (perhaps unreasonable) assumption that most of my lovely readers know why herbal vagina balls and wasp-juice remedies are a terrible idea, but let’s briefly get in to just why this is the case (and why, for your own sake, I hope you’ve never invested in any of these products).
The vagina is, in essence, a self-regulating system. In the vagina you’ll typically find Lactobacilli and other forms of ‘vaginal flora/microbiota’ which basically colonize the vagina and help regulate its pH—keeping the ‘good’ bacteria going and chasing away any excess yeast or ‘bad’ bacteria. And this is pretty much how the vagina totters on when healthy.
If anything is untoward down town then the vagina and vulva are quick to let you know—either through scent, discharge, or pain. It is in these instances that you need to seek medical (not herbal) advice and potentially receive treatment to restore the balance.
This treatment varies depending on the imbalance (or condition contracted) but I know something for sure—none of them will involve wasp’s nest broth.
I could tip-toe around this point with some more ranting about this ridiculous wasp malarkey but, when it comes to vaginal care, I’d rather be concise, so here’s everything you need to know about vaginal maintenance:
For the Vulva:
Wash your vulva daily with a plain, unperfumed soap. If you suffer from sensitive skin then use a product that reflects this.
For the Urinary Tract:
The neighbour of the vagina and fellow occupant of the vulva, the urinary tract is also important to keep healthy and happy and this is also manageable.
Wipe front to back when going to the bathroom, avoid prolonged baths, and wash from front to back whenever in the shower of bath too. Avoid sanitary pads if you’re particularly prone to irritation and avoid long intervals between urinating.
Oh, and urinate and clean yourself before and after sex. This one’s a biggie for me.
For the Vagina:
Nothing. Leave it alone. It knows what it’s doing.
Okay, okay, so there are a few things you can do, but they may not be what you expect.
The best way to maintain good vaginal health is to generally be healthy. The less run down you are the less liable your vagina is to follow suit, so make sure that you eat healthy, get a good amount of exercise in, and walk to increase your pelvic muscle tone.
White discharge may alarm some people but it’s usually totally fine. As a matter of fact, it’s one of the ways that the vagina regulates itself. It’s only if there is a drastic change in your discharge that you may want to go to the doctors.
Again—go to the doctors—not ‘sop your vulva with insect juice’.
I will never stop being infuriated at the sheer prospect of the latter being of use.
And that’s that
Vaginas and vulvas are awesome and, to be completely frank, deserve better than these charlatan products are offering.
Take care of yourself and please, please don’t succumb to these faddish products. And, if you have a vagina, trust me when I say: You’ve got this.