Dr. Jen Gunter Is Here To Remind You Not To Put Garlic In Your Vagina Like, Ever

Voyagerix / Getty and Scary Mommy

Yes, vaginal yeast infections suck. But sticking garlic up there isn’t going to improve anything and could make things worse

In case you haven’t gotten the memo yet, don’t stick garlic cloves in your vagina, no matter what your essential oil-slinging, all-natural, organic-only friends might be telling you. Yes, there are tons of great, effective natural remedies in the world that have been backed by science, but garlic in your vajayjay is absolutely not one of them.

Thankfully, OBGYN, sexpert, and New York Times health columnist Dr. Jennifer Gunter is around to set the record straight, and keep our vaginas as hale and healthy as possible. She jumped on Twitter for a thread today to clear up a few things about the combination of garlic cloves and intimate areas.

In other words: there’s just no science backing up that putting a garlic chunk in your vag is going to heal a yeast infection. There’s just a tiny bit of science saying that one component of garlic has anti-yeast properties in a petri dish.

And yep, if you just insert a clove without smooshing it, the allicin doesn’t go anywhere. It’s in the juices.

And: garlic might be dirty. Probably because it’s a plant that grows in the ground? So, you might start off with a yeast infection and end up with an even worse infection when you put unclean foreign objects up there.

Even if you did crush it up, to release the allicin, you should know that 1) garlic juice burns like a motherf*cker, especially on sensitive areas of skin (that are already reeling from a yeast infection) and that 2) crushed up garlic is super hard to fish out of your private parts and it might land you at the gyno’s office in an embarrassing manner.

And garlic could throw off the delicate balance of your vag environment, which has already been thrown off by the yeast.

Why do people think it works? Well, many women are self-diagnosing their yeast infection, and just think that garlic is solving their problem.

Also, they could just be feeling the delights of the placebo effect, and not the delights of a home remedy.

Bottom line? Stick to over-the-counter remedies that are proven to work, or schedule a visit to your doctor. Also consider looking into Dr. Gunter’s upcoming publication, The Vagina Book, which looks super rad.

If you’re wondering, who in the world thought about putting garlic in vaginas? you should know that it’s a pretty common folk remedy that gets a fair amount of traction on the internet (not unlike the “vaccines are dangerous” rumors).

Why do people believe it? Probably because there is some evidence that one property of garlic is anti-yeast – and because many yeast infections are self-diagnosed or go away all on their own. Also because garlic topical creams are sometimes used to treat external fungal infections like athlete’s foot. But please be aware: they are approved for external (not in your box) uses only.

Why should we stop believing it? Because it isn’t proven to work, it can be painful, and it can lead to complications like infection.

We can’t stress it enough: if you doctor says not to do something, don’t. If science doesn’t back it up, don’t. Your vagina is a self-regulating balance of yeast and good bacteria and all sorts of things: only mess around up there with medications that are deemed safe by your doctor. Use that garlic to make some pasta sauce: everyone will be better for it.

And if you absolutely must harness the power of garlic and allicin, just eat some. It’s not dangerous like putting it in your vag is, and even if it doesn’t work (and there’s little evidence to suggest it): garlic is yummy, and there aren’t side effects unless you eat excess amounts (and don’t do that).