What Is a Yoni Egg—and Why You Shouldn't Put One in Your Vagina
First, Gwyneth Paltrow raved about vagina steaming. Then her lifestyle website, Goop, wanted you to stick a $66 rock up your hoo-ha, A.K.A., a yoni egg. In 2017, Goop claimed that these eggs—supposedly an ancient "guarded secret of Chinese royalty" used by queens and concubines—have the "power to cleanse and clear" making them "ideal for detox, too." The article also claimed putting a yoni egg into your vagina for hours at a time could improve your sex life, balance your menstrual cycle, and "intensify feminine energy," among other things. However, a lawsuit found that those claims were were not backed by "competent and reliable scientific evidence," and customers who bought the yoni eggs between January 12 and August 31, 2017 were eligible for a refund.
Due to the popularity of these "eggs," we had to ask, what the heck are these eggs and what do they actually do? Women's health experts told Health that you should steer clear. Walking around with a rock clenched in your lady parts is just the latest addition to the list of things you shouldn't do to your vagina.
What even is a yoni egg?
Named for the Sanskrit word "yoni" that means "womb" or "vagina," yoni eggs are egg-shaped stones, believed to be of Chinese origin, traditionally made of jade to encourage sexual prowess and vitality. However, there is no proof that holding a yoni egg in your vaginal canal could do anything of the sort.
"Many people have this idea that if it's natural it must be good, useful, and not harmful," Lauren Streicher, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health and Your Best Sex Ever, tells Health. "To which I always say, arsenic is natural, but that's certainly harmful."
What does a yoni egg do?
While Goop claimed using a jade egg will help strengthen your pelvic floor, both Dr. Gunter and Dr. Streicher point out that leaving a weight inside of your vagina all day long isn't a healthy training method. "You want to contract and relax, not have [your muscles] contract continually," says Dr. Gunter. "Contracting constantly is like doing half of a bicep curl and not finishing it—that's not how you work on a muscle."
And as far as the other so-called benefits go, Dr. Gunter says there's no truth to them, simply because "there's no such thing as magic." Granted, she does believe that some women may feel short-term benefits from these eggs because of the placebo effect. "But this is a potentially harmful placebo—both from a possible risk of infection and from how this practitioner is recommending you use them," says Dr. Gunter.
Are yoni eggs safe?
Jen Gunter, MD, a San Francisco-based ob-gyn and author of The Vagina Bible, warns that using a jade egg really could hurt you. "The stones are really porous, so I'm not sure how it could be cleaned or sterilized between uses," she tells Health. Nasty bacteria (like the kind that cause toxic shock syndrome or bacterial vaginosis) could get lodged in the nooks and crannies, and then get reintroduced into the vagina every time the egg is used, says Dr. Gunter. "That's especially an issue when one of the recommended ways to use it is sleeping with it in. We don't recommend that tampons or menstrual cups be left in for longer than 12 hours and those are either disposable or cleanable."
Dr. Streicher also worries that one of these slippery stones could actually get stuck in your vagina, and that you could potentially scratch your vaginal wall trying to retrieve it. (She's seen this happen to clients with sex toys.)
Alternatives to yoni eggs
There are plenty of effective ways to address the problems this jade egg supposedly solves. If you're having sexual issues, for instance, Dr. Streicher recommends trying to hone in on what the root of the problem is, and then figuring out an effective solution. For example, if you're struggling to reach orgasm, Dr. Streicher advises taking some time to get to know your body through masturbation: "Find out where your clitoris is and how to stimulate it. Or invest in a good vibrator, which has been scientifically proven to address this challenge."
If you want to strengthen your pelvic floor, Dr. Gunter recommends sticking with exercises that have been proven to work, like kegels. You could also buy a device like the Elvie Trainer ($200, amazon.com), specifically designed for pelvic floor training that is made from safe, cleanable materials.
Most importantly, it's crucial to realize there's no cure-all for your problems, says Dr. Streicher. And even if there was, it likely wouldn't come in the form of a product promoted by a celebrity. "Just the fact that they're famous, doesn't mean they have some insider knowledge," she says.
A better solution is to seek help from an actual doctor, rather than rely on a mystical egg to fix everything. Especially since, as Dr. Streicher points out, the questionable benefits of the product are just not worth the potential harm.