‘This is horrific‘: Gynecologist urges women not to put SEA SPONGES in their vaginas after a feminist brand claimed they can be used as ‘reusable‘, ‘nurturing‘ alternatives to tampons
A gynecologist is warning women not to put sea sponges in their vaginas after learning they are being touted as an ‘intuitive alternative‘ to tampons.
Dr. Jen Gunter, an OB/GYN and New York Times columnist, slammed the recommendation after someone tweeted a link to Holy Sponge‘s $40 ‘‘ that is being sold by the retailer Otherwild, which has stores in Los Angeles and New York.
‘Anyone who tells you to put a sea sponge in your vagina wants you to grow more bacteria that causes toxic shock syndrome,‘ Dr. Gunter responded. ‘This is horrific and illegal in the US to promote sponges for periods.‘
Sea sponges, which are technically animals, are living multicellular organisms that grow on the ocean floor. Water circulates through the pores on their bodies, which allows them to absorb food and get rid of waste.
According to the product description on the Otherwild website, sea sponges ‘offer bleedin‘ folks a gentle, nurturing, and intuitive alternative to bleached cotton tampons.‘
The company insists they are not only a natural choice for women, but they are also economical and better for the environment.
‘Our bodies are made up of water and sponges once lived in the ocean waters, why wouldn‘t you use these spongey allies on your moon cycle?!‘ They are reusable too,‘ she site boasts.
‘Each sponge lasts 3-6 cycles…good for the environment (think about the heaps of cotton tampons in landfills) and good for the pocketbook (think about the money spent each month on tampons). Sponges are also soft, absorbent, and hygienic.‘
The kit includes ‘two sustainably-harvested sea sponges sourced by a female diver in Florida,‘ ‘organic tea tree oil to disinfect the sponges‘ at the end of each cycle, a cotton bag to hold them between uses, and ‘hand-picked white sage or lavender‘ to use for smudging or the bath, respectively.
After Dr. Gunter warned about the risks associated with the product, one woman asked if tampons are ‘better‘ because she has ‘always heard that sea sponges were safer‘
‘Sea sponges are not safer,‘ the gynecologist stressed. ‘I have quite a bit dedicated to tampon safety and the very small risks and the much greater risks of sea sponges in my book The Vagina Bible.‘
Janeen Singer, the owner of Holy Sponges, shared a lengthy to Dr. Gunter on her Instagram page Tuesday, saying she has been working with sea sponges for the past eight years and swears by them.
‘When I first began using sponges, it changed my life,‘ she wrote. ‘I spent over a year researching them and their history before I created the moon ritual kit. For me, it was a ritual to come back to my body after using tampons and being desensitized to my menstrual cycle…I would love to call this kit what it is — something for menstruation, but I don’t because the FDA doesn’t allow it.‘
Janeen argued that ‘thousands of people have died and been hospitalized because of tampons, but those continue to go unregulated and the FDA does not require that their ingredients be listed.‘
Pay attention: Dr. Gunter has been warning women not to use sea sponges for menstrual hygiene for years
‘I am by no means telling anyone what to put into their vagina,‘ she added, ‘but I am offering an alternative that I have found to be incredibly separative and positive.
Dr. Gunter has been issuing warnings about sea sponges for years. She came up with an entire list of things that should not be put in the vagina for the last summer after noticing ‘the increased touting of various “natural” and “ancient” vaginal remedies with household items.‘
She explained that ‘sea sponges are recommended for menstrual hygiene‘ but ‘testing has revealed they have bacteria and debris and they could introduce far more oxygen — a bad thing — into the vagina than a tampon or menstrual cup.‘
The doctor also wrote a about the hidden risks of the product in 2016 after Glamour included sponges in an article about ‘.‘
Dr. Gunter argued that they are ‘untested and potentially very unsafe‘ as well as ‘filled with dirt.‘
‘According to the , twelve “menstrual sponges” were tested at the University of Iowa in the 1980s and they and contained sand, grit, bacteria, and “various other materials,”‘ she explained.
‘Another batch was tested by the Baltimore district laboratory and in addition to the sand, grit, and bacteria they also found yeast and mold.
‘One sample contained Staphylococcus aureus (the bacteria that causes toxic shock syndrome). As the FDA notes there is least one case of toxic shock syndrome associated with the sea sponge and another possible one.‘
Dr. Gunter went on to say that there are safety concerns with the sponge itself, noting that pieces could break off inside the vagina and become a breeding ground for bacteria.
She pointed out that they can also ‘change the vaginal ecosystem promoting the growth of good bacteria‘ and even cause abrasions during insertion and/or removal because on their naturally rough texture.
‘Menstrual products, sea sponges included, are regarded by the FDA as “significant risk devices requiring premarket approval under Section 515.” Basically, you have to study any product that is new and prove it is safe,‘ she explained.
‘The concerns about sponges were so significant the FDA ed the manufacturers of menstrual sponges to warn them of the risks and to require they stop marketing and selling the products,‘ she added. ‘Some closed down, others relabeled their products for “cosmetic” use.
As a gynecologist, Dr. Gunter spends a lot of time warning people against putting ‘natural‘ substances in their vaginas.
Earlier this month, she an old wives‘ tale that recommends putting a clove of garlic inside the vagina for up to three days to treat yeast infections.
Dr. Gunter explained in a lengthy Twitter thread that there aren‘t any studies to support the claim garlic has antifungal properties – apart from in a petri dish – and it could be a serious risk for further infections.
What else have doctors warned women not to put in their vaginas?
A bizarre suggestion that parsley could induce periods was made in January 2019 by the women‘s magazine Marie Claire.
Women may want to make their period come sooner as a means of controlling their cycle ahead of a holiday or special event.
According to the article, parsley is an emmenagogue — a substance that increases menstrual flow — which can ‘soften the cervix and level out hormonal imbalances.‘
Doctors, including Dr. Shazia Malik, a London-based obstetrician-gynecologist, urged women to never insert vegetables into the vagina, as it could lead to health risks — including death.
Marie Clare has since apologized for the article and taken it down because it is ‘misguided.‘
Apple cider vinegar
Experts urged women not to use trendy apple cider vinegar to ‘tighten‘ their vaginas in October 2017 after online blogs and forums encouraged women to carry out the bizarre douching technique.
Aside from vinegar being completely ineffective at tightening the vagina, Professor Linda Cardozo from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in warns it can disrupt the organ‘s delicate ‘good‘ bacteria, putting women at risk of irritation and infections.
To maintain the vagina‘s strength and tone, women should perform pelvic floor exercises regularly, Professor Cardozo recommends.
Cleansers, lubricants and wipes
Women who use intimate-health products are more at risk of bacterial, fungal and urinary tract infections (UTIs), research in April 2018 from the University of Guelph, suggests.
Vaginal sanitising gels raise women‘s risk of developing a genital bacterial infection by almost 20 times and a yeast infection, like thrush, by eight times, a study found.
Intimate washes make women 3.5 times more likely to catch a bacterial infection and 2.5 times more at risk of a yeast infestation, the research adds.
Vaginal wipes double the risk of a UTI, while lubricants and moisturising creams increase women‘s susceptibility to thrush by 2.5 times, the study found.
Gwyneth Paltrow‘s Jade Eggs
A gynecologist slammed Gwyneth Paltrow‘s suggestion for women to put jade eggs up their vaginas as ridiculous and dangerous.
Writing on her lifestyle blog Goop, the Hollywood actress claimed the $66 rocks boost orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and ‘feminine energy.‘
Women, Paltrow explained in an interview with her ‘beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend,‘ should clench the egg inside them all day to exercise their pelvic floor.
But acclaimed gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter warned in January 2019 that the whole idea is nonsense — and could even increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis or deadly toxic shock syndrome.
Doctors warned about this procedure after Mel B, 43, revealed she had the insides of her vagina scraped out and new tissue put inside after her bitter divorce with ex-husband Stephen Belafonte.
The procedure, which has been largely unheard of until Mel B spoke out, could lead to a serious risk of infection, experts have said.
Dr. Jen Gunter told that women should ‘never, ever have their vagina scraped‘ — or even douched — which cleans the vagina using a douche and fluid.
She said: ‘Any scraping of the vaginal epithelium [tissue] could affect the vaginal ecosystem and theoretically could spread HPV locally and would increase a woman‘s vulnerability to infection.
She added that the vagina regenerates itself every 96 hours and the surface cells are shed every four hours.
Doctors expressed concern in January 2019 that people were using bath bombs as sex toys.
The comments came after popular high street retailer Lush released a cheeky Valentine‘s Day range, which included bombs shaped like aubergines and peach emojis.
Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told The Metro: ‘We would strongly discourage the use of bath bombs internally as these could disturb the fragile balance of good bacteria inside the vagina.
‘This natural flora helps to protect the vagina and disrupting it could lead to irritation, inflammation and infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.‘