Ladies, You Need to Stop Cleaning Your Vaginas With Cucumbers

by Chaunie Brusie

Photograph by Twenty20

There's a new cleanse that's making the rounds—and, this time, Gwyneth Paltrow has nothing to do with it.

When we first heard about the cucumber cleanse for vaginas, our first thoughts turned to the GOOP founder. After all, it's right up there with starting your day with a refreshing vaginal steam.

But shockingly, Gwyneth isn't taking the credit for this much-criticized experience. Instead, a myriad of health and wellness "experts" are advocating that women embark on a vaginal cleanse by inserting a freshly peeled cucumber into their sacred space. One such "expert," who goes by the name of Gigi Dowell on Facebook, claims that the cucumber will "cleanse the yoni" and "restore your pH balance." Dowell isn't alone, though. There are lists of articles, blog posts and even, terrifyingly, videos (don't you dare Google it!) that exist on how to DIY this supposed health practice.

But as far as actual doctors go? They're not buying it.

Dowell recently went viral for her rather explicit image of the cucumber she had specially and quite skillfully carved to insert into her own yoni, explaining that one must use a twisting and "in and out movement" in order to really get the—er, cleansing benefits of the produce.

But wait! There's more! Dowell added that as a nice little bonus, when you're done using all that "in and out movement" to really cleanse your special flower, you can also use it to stimulate a few other areas—you know, to keep the "energy flowing."

However, if you were considering a cuke cleanse for yourself, we have some bad news for you: Doctors have spoken, and they are very kindly asking you to please refrain from sticking cucumbers into your lady bits. I know, it's a bummer, but apparently "yoni cleansing" and "energy flowing" from any veggies into your birth canal are not actually medically credible or even remotely safe techniques. At all.

It's probably not a good idea to stick anything 'capable of getting blossom end rot' into your body.

In fact, one outspoken physician, Dr. Jen Gunter, who is a board-certified OB-GYN and has famously debunked some of GOOP's "health practices," wrote a pretty clear blog post about the practice of cucumber cleansing.

Dr. Gunter points out that, in general, it's probably not a good idea to stick anything "capable of getting blossom end rot " into your body. But more important, she made it very clear, through the use of some expertly inserted caps, that VAGINAS ARE NOT DIRTY. (Yelling is Gunter, not us.)

"This idea that some kind of vaginal cleansing is required, be it a peeled cucumber or the 'feminine washes' sold at drugstores, is misogyny dressed up as health care and I am having none of it," she writes.

In fact, by using this type of "cleanse," she writes that you're actually putting your body at risk.

"By damaging lactobacilli and the mucosa, attempts at vaginal cleaning increase a woman's risk of contracting HIV or gonorrhea if she is exposed," she continues. "Paradoxically, it will also cause odor."

Dr. Jen reminds women about the power of their vaginas—namely that they are self-cleaning and powerful systems. Your vagina is never really dirty, because it's always cleaning itself, so if anyone tries to tell you to "cleanse" it— with a cucumber or any other piece of produce—we suggest you promptly hurl said fruit or vegetable directly at them and run far, far away.


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