WHEN you’ve got thrush, the best option is often just to reach for the Canesten.
But some women are opting for an altogether more “holistic”…and potentially dangerous alternative.
They’re sticking garlic cloves in their vaginas to cure yeast infections.
And far from being an innocent (if not slightly bonkers) home remedy, gynaecologist Dr Jennifer Gunter has warned that garlic has no place in a vagina.
According to an old wives’ tale, putting a clove in there for three days can clear things up.
But the gynaecologist took to Twitter to warn that the vagina is the “perfect” environment for botulism bacteria to grow.
Botulism is an incredibly serious condition which can leave people paralysed and at worst, is fatal.
While lab tests may have shown that garlic contains antifungal properties, Dr Gunter stressed that scientists haven’t even tested whether that translates into mice – let alone humans.
The myth may advise women sticking whole cloves in their vagina but in order for garlic to release allicin – the antifungal stuff – you have to crush or gut the garlic.
But imagine how painful it’d be rubbing cut garlic on your soft, delicate vaginal skin!
Even before worrying about dissecting the cloves, garlic can have bacteria from the soil.
“Bacteria from the soil can be pathogenic – bad for the body. That’s why we clean wounds. If you actually happen to have an inflamed yeasty vagina, that soil bacteria would be more likely to infect,” Dr Gunter said.
She also said that garlic is known to leave biofilms (collections of microorganisms) on braces – so it’s possible that it’d leave the sane in your vagina.
“Biofilms are bad. You do not want them to form, especially when you have yeast.”
But the most alarming thing about this bizarre “treatment” is the possibility of botulism.
Because the vagina is an airlocked space, any outside bacteria that gets in there has a good opportunity to grow.
It’s dark and damp in there – exactly what bacteria likes.
“You know why you refrigerate homemade garlic vinaigrette? So any clostridium bacteria lying around on the garlic doesn’t produce botulinum toxin. Right. The vagina is an anaerobic environment, so perfect for clostridium.”