For starters, fungi grow on cucumbers.

Jen Gunter, MD
October 13, 2017

This article originally appeared on Wielding the Lass of Truth.

In what seems like post #323 explaining that vaginas don’t need cleaning, I present the cucumber vagina cleanse.

Apparently some women are peeling cucumbers inserting them vaginally and then twisting them around for up to 20 minutes to refresh or cleanse or flush or something. This isn’t just a weird Facebook thing one person did once. I Googled “cucumber vagina cleanse” (God help me, I did) and WAS HORRIFIED. There are even videos but I’m not giving them the traffic. If you want to watch you are on your own.

If you have a vagina you should definitely not do this.

VAGINAS ARE NOT DIRTY

That is in capitals because I am yelling.

This idea that some kind of vaginal cleansing is required, be it with a peeled cucumber or the “feminine washes” sold at drug stores, is misogyny dressed up as health care and I am having none of it. Vaginas are not dirty.

ATTEMPTS AT “CLEANING” THE VAGINA ACTUALLY DAMAGE THE VAGINA 

Also yelling.

Study after study after study tells us that douches, cleanses, steams, vinegar, pH-balancing products, aloe, colloidal silver, garlic or whatever else passing as the vaginal snake oil du jour at best do nothing but have real potential for harming good bacteria and/or disrupting the mucosal surface. I mean 20 minutes of cucumber twisting? (As a side note, I don’t spend 20 minutes cleaning anything. Ever. Even a surgical scrub only takes 5 minutes!)

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

RELATED: The Truth About What Happens to Your Vagina When You Haven't Had Sex in a While

NOTHING EXTERNAL CAN “BALANCE” VAGINAL pH

Yes, I’m still yelling.

The pH in the vagina is controlled by the good bacteria, the same bacteria that attempts at “cleansing” actually damage.

WHO KNOWS WHAT IS ON THE CUCUMBER?  

I’m more speaking loudly now than yelling, but I am still definitely agitated.

Cucumbers seem prone to all kinds of nasty fungi and I just don’t think anything capable of getting blossom end rot should go in a vagina. There has been an increase over the past few years of opportunistic fungal infections, organisms that typically don’t cause human infection making the jump to humans when the right opportunity presents itself. An opportunity like say direct inoculation into a vagina. All in all, I’d say it’s probably wise to not introduce an object with unknown plant microorganisms into your vagina. And no, a little wash in the kitchen sink it’s going to sterilize the cucumber.

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BLADDER PERFORATION WITH A CUCUMBER HAS BEEN DESCRIBED

I’m still speaking loudly.

A case report of vaginal and bladder perforation with a cucumber has been described, as has a case of a penetrating injury with a cucumber through the vagina into the abdominal cavity. These events were not due to attempts at cleaning but rather sexual stimulation. The idea of putting a phallic shaped object in the vagina for pleasure without the hassle of a penis (or penis owner) is a great one. There are many excellent vibrators for this very purpose made with substances not teeming with soil microbes. In fact, they are usually made from substances that are bacteria/fungi unfriendly and of course they can be cleaned. It is true vibrators are likely more rigid than a cucumber and vibrator injuries definitely do occur, but my point with the perforation case reports is simply that it seems possible to get carried away with a cucumber and do real physical damage.

So keep the cucumbers out of your vaginas, ladies, whether for cleaning or masturbation. Vaginas are a great self-contained ecosystem and do not need any additional support from vaginal vegetables to stay healthy. Anyone who tells you otherwise is misinformed, selling a product, or both. And remember, "don’t give opportunistic infections an opportunity" is a good motto.

Jen Gunter, MD, is a gynecologist and pain medicine physician. She blogs about medicine on her site Wielding the Lasso of Truth.

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