WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Indonesian women use “Madura sticks” to tighten and dry out their vaginas of vaginal discharge, the South China Morning Post recently reported.
- However, experts say there is no scientific evidence that any product can retighten the vagina.
- Despite being marketed as products healthy for the vagina, these actually lead to infections and irritations due to the chemicals they contain.
As part of vaginal hygiene practice, Indonesian women use cigar-looking rods called ‘Madura sticks’ that claim to tighten, cleanse and dry the vagina, according to recent reports from the South China Morning Post.
Madura sticks—made from plants and herbal extracts—are inserted into the vagina for 2 to 3 minutes then slowly removed, then wash and dry after use. These sticks along with powders, creams, herbs and pills are marketed as vagina tightening products as well as eliminating vaginal discharges, according to a 2012 World Health Organization study on vaginal practices.
Though promoted as healthy for the vagina, “The Vagina Bible” author and OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter told Newsweek that such products use chemicals that shrink tissue and cause irritation and infections. She added that not only are these medically harmful, these also promote the idea that a woman is only desirable to men if her vagina is taut and virginal.
So far, no product has ever been scientifically proven to tighten the vagina. Although some people believe that frequent sex can permanently stretch the vagina, Yale University clinical professor Dr. Mary Jane Minkin previously told Newsweek that this isn’t true because although the vagina’s muscles stretch to accommodate things coming in or going out, it snaps back to its previous shape.
Dr. Alyssa Dweck, a gynecologist, told Health magazine that the vaginal opening may seem bigger when a person starts to have sex. This is because the hymen, a thin membrane covering the vaginal opening, breaks once penetration occurs.
Only two things can affect your vagina’s elasticity: age and childbirth.
Minkin explains that during childbirth, a baby’s head presses against the vaginal floor causing it to become permanently stretched. She added that to help tone and retighten a loose vagina, women should regularly do Kegel exercises which are clench-and release exercises that strengthen the pelvic floor muscles.
“If that doesn’t work to tighten things up, we can always do a surgical repair,” she said.
In addition, the vagina loses its elasticity and becomes drier and less acidic after menopause. To prevent this, Minkin recommends using a type of vaginal moisturizing gel called Replens 2 to 3 times a week to moisturize a dry vagina.
Madura sticks, vaginal douches, and scented feminine sprays also claim to eliminate vaginal discharge which are bad, says Gunter.
Vaginal discharge is normal, helps maintain the vagina’s natural pH level, and contributes to pleasurable and comfortable sex. These products which contain chemicals only disturb the vagina’s healthy bacteria that fight against bacterial infections like yeast infections.
Douching also upsets the vagina’s natural bacterial balance making the environment more favorable for the growth of bacteria that cause infection, Dr. Donnica Moore previously told Insider.
If you’re concerned about your vagina having a distinct smell, Moore suggests reaching out to your doctor to discuss your concerns.
Source: Business Insider