Bizarre as it may sound, women have been inserting cloves of garlic into their vaginas in a bid to cure their yeast infections.
In a Twitter thread that has now gone viral, Dr Jennifer Gunter addressed the old wives’ tale that garlic could be used as a natural alternative when it came to treating yeast infections.
She said it came from the fact that garlic contains allicin, which does have anti-fungal when used “in a lab” and in a “dish of cells – not your vagina”.
However, it appears that far from helping, using garlic could actually make the infection – which can cause itching, swelling, pain during sex and burning when you go to the toilet – worse.
“It’ll keep the vampires away, though,” quipped one Twitter user.
ED! spoke to the UK’s leading gynaecologist Dr Larisa Corda, who warned there is “little research” to support the fact that garlic could work when it comes to yeast infections – something which affects more than 75% of women during their lifetime.
There’s a serious concern that you will experience irritation and burning rather than relief of symptoms.
She said: “Other than Canesten vaginal pessaries and cream, which is the usual treatment prescribed to women, there are all sorts of home remedies out there, that even include cloves of garlic, if you can believe it.”
She added: “But do some of these old wives tales really work? When it comes to garlic, there is little research about it.”
She continued: “The reason that garlic has been suggested to help is because it contains a compound called allicin that is an antifungal. But it is not clear whether this can be used effectively in the vagina to treat infection and if so, in what form and for how long.”
She also addressed a “serious concern” when it came to inserting a clove of garlic into the vagina.
She said: “There’s a serious concern that you will experience irritation and burning rather than relief of symptoms.”
She added that it could also upset the “natural microflora” of the vagina as you would be “changing the ph” balance.
“All in all, there is no credible evidence that using garlic can help treat vaginal thrush and concern that it may in fact cause more harm than good,” she concluded.
For more on Dr Corda’s work, visit her website here.
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