Doctors are urging women not to put tobacco in their vaginas
Doctors and health experts have spoken out urging women not to put tobacco products in their vaginas following an incorrect claim that the practice can help boost one's sex drive and increase their chances of getting pregnant.
Per The Sun, medics have said that the trend had no real effect on fertility or libido, and can actually cause scarring and cancerous legions. In some cases, it could even cause the vaginal opening to "close up".
The warnings come after SciDev.Net reported that women from areas of West Africa are applying a tobacco powder to their genitals in order to increase sexual pleasure and the odds of falling pregnant.
In the video below, Senegalese gynecologist Abdoulaye Diop says that the tobacco-based concoction is "extremely dangerous":
Dr Diop states that the products only provide the users with the sensation their genitals are shrinking due to the chemicals causing the vaginal muscles to retract. He added: "This feeling is transient and misleading, because the vaginal mucosa that is attacked will eventually develop changes that are the gateway to cancer."
Pascal Foumane, a professor of gynecology-obstetrics at the University of Yaoundé, said: "These products often create ulcers which, by scarring, shrink the vagina, make it hard and can go so far as to close it completely. It can even make the normal flow of menstruation impossible."
In Dakar, the tobacco-based product is shared openly among women, and promises to increase "sexual pleasure tenfold" and "[send] your man into seventh heaven".
SciDev spoke to a woman by the name of Neyba, who praised the product, despite suffering from "unbearable pain". She said:
"I told an aunt about my difficulty getting pregnant and she recommended this product. 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."
Per The Sun, a previous study from Scientific Reports found that smoking changes the vagina's natural flora, putting female smokers at a higher risk of vaginal infections.
Dr Diop expressed his desire for more research to be carried out, adding: "These risks should be higher in women who put tobacco directly in contact with their vaginal and cervical mucosa.
"This area is very sensitive and attacking it with a product made of tobacco and soda is completely suicidal."
Professor Foumane echoed Diop's worries, saying: "Tobacco is indeed a well-documented carcinogen. The risk of cervical cancer seems to us all the more increased in the case of the administration of tobacco in direct contact with the cervix."