This is one old wives tale that you can mince for good.
A prominent gynecologist and author of The Vagina Bible is warning women not to put garlic in their vagina as a natural alternative to treat yeast infections — an old wives tale that has apparently been given new life recently.
In a now-viral twitter thread, Dr. Jennifer Gunter, who is known for frequently challenging dubious medical claims, explains the several reasons why putting garlic in your nether regions is a bad idea.
“Why you should not put garlic in your vagina. A thread,” Gunter begins in the first of her series of tweets.
“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.”
She then goes on to explain how for garlic to even release the allicin, it needs to be “cut or crushed” — not inserted whole as the “advice” goes.
“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,” she wrote in a second tweet.
In fact, using garlic to treat a yeast infection could actually make it worse. The root vegetable, which is grown in the ground, may contain bacteria from the soil which could irritate a pre-existing infection.
“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, “Gunter explained.
Finally, as if you needed more reasons not to put garlic in your vagina, Gunter warns that the spicy vegetable may also cause your vagina to grow a microorganism-filled biofilm, which is also troubling.
“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,” she wrote.
So while garlic may ward off blood-thirsty vampires, the same can not be said about yeast infections.
If you are suffering from itching, pain, discharge, or vaginal discomfort, seeing a medical professional is your fastest way to find relief.
Gunter points out that up to 50-70 percent of women who self-treat their vaginal yeast infections never had one to begin with, and their symptoms resolving likely had nothing to do with garlic.