Vaginas and tobacco do not mix (Picture: Getty)

There are many things that don’t belong in the vagina.

Before we continue, here is a brief refresher of items that you should keep away from your genitals: toothpaste as lubrication? No. Garlic cloves to treat yeast infections? Also no.

We also highly recommend refraining from shoving ice lollies inside your private bits to cool down or vacuuming your vagina to end your period quicker – just don’t.

There’s now a new trend emerging, which involves tobacco – we shouldn’t really have to say this, but putting tobacco inside your vagina is a very bad idea.

Commonly used in Senegal, ‘vaginal tobacco’ is marketed as a ‘miracle’ method for ‘sending your man into seventh heaven’, according to professor Pascal Foumane, who spoke to SciDevNet.

It’s used in west Africa for three reasons: to boost libido, assist with sexual pleasure and to shrink genitals – and is sold at the very cheap price of 13p per sachet.

Made from dried tobacco leaves and ‘tangora’ (roots from a particular tree), as well as plants found in the area including ‘kankouran mano’ and ‘koundinding’, the product has various code names, such as ‘Secret’ and ‘Jumbo’.

Some producers will also include soda and shea butter as additional components in the tobacco.

Women are being admitted to A&E after having lost consciousness as a result of using the products, according to Gnima Ndiaye, a reproductive health coordinator in Senegal, who also reveals that she encountered a 36-year-old woman with stage three cervical cancer, which is ‘very rare for someone of her age’.

‘The same year, I received a 25-year-old girl who had vaginal lesions and who bled on contact with the speculum [a medical tool used for vaginal examinations],’ she said.

‘In both cases, they said they used tobacco.’

Other symptoms of using the product include an inflamed cervix or vagina, as well as repeated STIs.

One Senegalese woman, named Neyba, believes that vaginal tobacco helped her conceive a child.

‘I told an aunt about my difficulty getting pregnant and she recommended this product,’ she said.

‘After using it I was able to have a child. Even the doctors were surprised. I feel heartache and unbearable pain every time I apply the product.

‘But once the effect has passed, I feel really good.’

However, Aminata Seck, a midwife, recalls childbirth complications that she has seen due to women having used so-called vaginal tobacco.

She said: ‘They had too great an increase in the rate of uterine contractions, which sometimes caused a decrease in oxygenation in the fetus, resulting in stillbirth or, in other cases, neonatal death.’

Dr Shree Datta, a consultant obstetrician-gyneacologist at MyHealthcare Clinic, tells us why inserting tobacco inside your body is dangerous and can have very harmful effects.

‘I would never recommend putting tobacco in your vagina!,’ she says.

‘There is no evidence that tobacco in your vagina will improve tightness or libido, if anything it may put your health at risk – causing ulcers, scarring or irritation to your vagina, and in some cases bleeding.

‘It can also cause an infection or change in your discharge – and while there is little research, I will say it really is not worth the risk to your health.’

Dealing with a declining sex drive can be stressful, as can feeling as if you’re vagina isn’t ‘tight enough’ – but there’s really only one way to ensure that you get help that won’t harm you: talk to your doctor.

‘If you are worried about your pelvic floor muscles, vaginal tightness or libido – please ask to be assessed by a gynaecologist,’ adds Dr Shree.

‘There are a few scientific, approved ways to tighten your vagina and improve your pelvic floor. While improving your pelvic floor muscle tone can help with urinary leakage, I would recommend talking to a gynaecologist for an accurate diagnosis so that treatment can be tailored correctly.’



Other items that don’t belong in your vagina

  • Tea tree oil
  • Ice lollies
  • Scented products
  • Toothpaste
  • Glitter
  • Salt
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Chocolate
  • Jade eggs
  • Steam
  • Hot wax
  • Anything that can cause an ice burn
  • Anything non-sterile or not clearly labelled for internal/vaginal use.

This is by no means a comprehensive list of products that don’t belong inside your vagina. As a general rule of thumb: if you’re not sure it’s safe, don’t do it.

Dr Shree adds: ‘If you would like to find a way to tighten your pelvic floor muscles – please ensure it is safe or seek specialist advice. Whilst physiotherapist input is always recommended for improving your pelvic floor muscles, other options we may also consider include surgery, the use of pessaries, possible medication and newer non-surgical techniques.

‘These include Votiva and Mona Lisa touch, but their success depends on your individual issue so you must be assessed carefully by a gynaecologist to find which option is best for you.’

For more tips on sexual health, we’ve also put together a useful guide of the most common questions that doctors get asked.

Remember: there are no stupid concerns when it comes to health, so always seek professional advice before turning to untested methods.

MORE: Please don’t masturbate with an electric toothbrush

MORE: World’s first vagina museum now open in London

MORE: Here’s your 2020 reminder to never use toothpaste as lube





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