A gynaecologist has taken to social media to warn women about the dangers of placing cloves of garlic in their vagina.
The basis for this new attempted health trend relates to the supposed anti-bacterial qualities garlic can reportedly have on a vagina, but Dr Jennifer Gunter has strongly refuted the idea on Twitter.
In an eight-part thread, she explained exactly why women should definitely avoid placing it in their vaginas.
"Why you should not put garlic in your vagina. A thread," begins Dr Gunter, before detailing the numerous reasons your downstairs should stay as garlic-free as possible.
First, she directly addressed the idea behind garlic as an antibacterial agent, saying: "Garlic contains allicin, in THE LAB it MAY have antifungal (i.e. anti yeast) properties. This is in a lab, not even in mice. Just a dish of cells. Your vagina is not a dish of cells."
"Lots of vaginal garlic aficionados (I SHOULDN'T HAVE TO TWEET THAT IN 2019, BUT HERE WE ARE) recommend inserting a clove. This means they don't understand for allicin to be released the garlic has to be cut or crushed. Sigh," continued Dr Gunter, before going on to explain the health risks.
She added: "Garlic could 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."
But what if you crush up garlic, and have hypothetically done everything you can to ensure it's clean? Dr Gunter once again explains why this is still a bad idea, writing: "[There's] the cut up garlic on raw tissues thing (OUCH). And the fishing of the garlic out by the gyno thing.
"Garlic can cause biofilms on braces, so could garlic contribute to biofilms in the vagina? Biologically plausible. Biofilms are bad. You do not want them to form especially when you have yeast. Effect of garlic good bacteria also unknown."
In her Twitter thread, the professional also touches upon another medical phenomenon that may have caused the idea of vagina garlic to proliferate: the placebo effect.
"The placebo effect is strong. If you think vaginal garlic is going to make you feel better, you may very well feel better temporarily," she explained. "As 50-70% of women who self treat for vaginal yeast never actually had a yeast infection you can't say much, except half of them never had yeast to begin with so the irritation they had may have been a temporary thing and resolving wasn't garlic related."
Dr Gunter finished off her tweet storm by recommending her book The Vagina Bible, which is out August 27. But before signing off, she had a bonus tweet for everyone looking to improve their vaginal health.
"I’m adding one more tweet," she wrote. "You know why you refrigerate homemade garlic vinaigrette? So any clostridium bacteria laying around on the garlic doesn’t produce botulinum toxin. Right. The vagina is an anaerobic environment, so perfect for clostridium. You’re welcome."
So to conclude, for anyone who is concerned about their sexual health and has a few cloves in the pantry, Dr Jennifer Gunter has one thing to say: don't do it.