You Shouldn’t Use Yoni Pearls — But If You Do, Read This (2024)

You Shouldn’t Use Yoni Pearls — But If You Do, Read This (1)Share on Pinterest

Herbs belong in your pantry and planter, not in your vagin*.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly what yoni pearls are: herb heaps made for vagin*l insertion. And, far from being just a wacky, woo-woo wellness trend, these pearls are dangerous.

Read on for your 911 411 on yoni pearls.

The short answer: Something you shouldn’t be putting inside your body.

The longer answer: Yoni pearls, sometimes called vagin*l detox pearls, herbal tampons, cleansing pearls, or vagin*l pearls, are basically vagin*l tea bags.

(FYI: Yoni is the Sanskrit word for vagin*. It translates to “a sacred space.”)

They’re bundles of cloth-wrapped herbs marketed as vagin*l or uterus cleansers and detoxifiers.

You shouldn’t be putting them inside your body for 1 minute, let alone the 24 to 72 hours recommended on yoni pearl packaging.

The herbs in these so-called detox products vary from pearl to pearl and producer to producer, but common herbs include:

  • motherwort
  • angelica root
  • peach kernel
  • safflower
  • borneol
  • rhubarb
  • rhizoma
  • osthol

Depends on who you ask.

One creator of the product says the herbs in these pearls create a “pulling effect that draws toxins, bad bacteria, dead cells, old blood clots, mucus and more from your yoni, while at the same time tightening your yoni and deterring vagin*l dryness and other ailments.”

Another says that the nuggets detox the uterus, cleanse the vagin*, quell vagin*l inflammation, promote a healthier reproductive system, and even help with endometriosis, irregular periods, fibroids, PCOS, blocked tubes, and ovarian cysts.

While it’s true that herbs have been long used in medicine, people who actually know how the vagin* works (read: doctors) say there is literally no reason to think herb bundles will support the health of your vagin*.

“There’s zero research that any of the vagin*l pearls, or the herbs in them, are good for your vagin* or uterus — let alone that putting them in your vagin* for that amount of time would do anything other than cause harm,” says Lauren Streicher, MD, a clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the author of “Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Sex Ever.”

Felice Gersh, MD, the author of “PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline To Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones and Happiness,” offers a similar sentiment.

“Given that there’s zero research, data, or science to back up the use of these pearls, they 100 percent shouldn’t be put inside your vagin*,” Gersh says.

People make yoni pearls because it’s highly profitable to feed into people’s shame about the way their genitals smell, look, and function, Streicher says.

(Did you know that the feminine hygiene market generated 20.9 billion bucks in 2020? Yeppp).

People buy yoni pearls because of that same genital shame.

Spread through marketing, media, and misogynists, “the idea that vagin*s are smelly, offensive, and dirty has been going around our culture for a long, long time,” Streicher says.

Unfortunately, combined with lack of education around how the vagin* is supposed to look, smell, and function, this shame leads people to buy products that are downright dangerous.

Nope!

There is no research to support the safety of putting herbs inside your vagin*. There also isn’t research that doing so is going to support vagin*l or uterine health.

Ultimately, it depends on w-h-y you’re reaching for — or researching — these pearls.

Is it because you experience chronic yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, unusual discharge, or other lasting symptoms?

If so, Gersh recommends seeking out the care of an OB-GYN instead.

Your doctor will be able to prescribe any medicine that can clear up the underlying cause.

“A doctor may also be able to recommend a probiotic that supports the health of your vagin*, as well as look at the underwear and sports clothes you’re wearing to suggest less irritating options,” Gersh says.

Is it because you’re worried about the cleanliness of your uterus?

Don’t be!

“The uterus is a sterile environment that’s free of bacteria,” Streicher says. “Anything you attempt to put in your uterus could be harmful to that very sterility.”

Is it because you want to help your vagin* detox?

“There’s never a need for your vagin* to be detoxed,” Gersh says.

It also doesn’t need your help getting clean. You may have heard that the vagin* is a self-cleaning machine, and that’s true!

“Attempting to clean or detox the vagin* is just going to kill off the good bacteria in the vagin* that helps fight off infection,” she says, adding that this, in itself, increases the risk of infection.

Is it because you’re worried about the smell of your vagin*?

“In all likelihood, your vagin* smells exactly as it should,” Gersh says. “Your vagin* isn’t supposed to smell like dandelions and tulips. It’s supposed to smell like vagin*.”

The only time to be concerned about the scent of your vag is if you’ve noticed a drastic and persistent (read: longer than 3 days) change in smell.

It’s also concerning if you’re getting wafts of sourdough bread or fish, which may suggest yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, respectively.

To be very clear: These aren’t doctor recommended.

On the contrary, Streicher says, “From a gynecological health standpoint these pearls are downright scary.”

Again, yoni pearls haven’t been researched.

As such, “we cannot say for certain what the side effects are, or long term how bad using these pearls really is,” Gersh says.

Still, there’s reason to believe that yoni pearls can mess with your vagin*l microbiome, killing off infection-fighting bacteria and creating a hospitable landing place for yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis, she says.

“In its healthiest state, the vagin* is optimized to help you fight off sexually transmitted infections,” Gersh explains. “So there’s reason to believe that, after killing off healthy vagin*l bacteria and altering the environment, risk of transmission is higher.”

Another common side effect is gray and green discharge. In fact, many yoni pearls come with panty liners to “collect” this “what comes after” discharge. Red flag, folks!

“If you put something like this in your vagin* and begin to get gray discharge after you take it out, it’s a sign that you’re actually destroying the lining in the vagin*l walls,” Streicher says.

So, far from a sign that they worked, funky discharge is a sign that your vagin* is irritated and potentially even infected.

Other common side effects include:

  • vagin*l dryness
  • itching
  • stinging
  • cramping

Nobody should try these under any circ*mstance.

But they’re especially dangerous for anyone who has allergies to specific herbs.

If, for example, you have a rhubarb allergy and put rhubarb-based product inside your vagin*, Gersh says you may experience vagin*l burning, itching, swelling, peeling, or even blisters. Yikes!

Yoni pearls should also be avoided by anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding. Or those, according to some pearl makers, “with an intact hymen.”

“The longer the ingredients are inside you, the more dangerous these pearls are,” Streicher says.

So, if you’re going to use them against doctor recommendations, please, for the love of your vagin*l health, do so for as short as possible. Like, really, really, really short!

Keep the tea bags in your tea cups and out of your vagin*.

Should you feel your vagin* needs something a little ~extra, extra~ ring up a gynecologist.

They’ll be able to offer actual help, should you need it — as well as reassurance that your genitals smell and function just fine.

Gabrielle Kassel (she/her) is a queer sex educator and wellness journalist who is committed to helping people feel the best they can in their bodies. In addition to Healthline, her work has appeared in publications such as Shape, Cosmopolitan, Well+Good, Health, Self, Women’s Health, Greatist, and more! In her free time, Gabrielle can be found coaching CrossFit, reviewing pleasure products, hiking with her border collie, or recording episodes of the podcast she co-hosts called Bad In Bed. Follow her on Instagram @Gabriellekassel.

You Shouldn’t Use Yoni Pearls — But If You Do, Read This (2024)
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