We truly wish we didn’t have to say this, but apparently we do: toothpaste should not go on or inside your genitals.
Just a month after men were warned not to put toothpaste on their penis in an attempt to last longer in bed, doctors have had to tell people not to apply toothpaste to their vaginas either.
Why would someone apply toothpaste to their vagina, you may ask?
Well, multiple ‘advice’ articles and tweets across the internet, toothpaste is being used to try to tighten the vagina and thus increase men’s sexual pleasure during penetrative sex.
Many women also believe that toothpaste will clean the vagina, making it smell and taste minty fresh.
As you’d probably expect, this is a bad idea for many reasons.
For one, toothpaste absolutely will not tighten the vagina. Instead it will cause you pain, discomfort, and infection.
Vanessa Mackay, consultant gynaecologist and spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It is a myth that toothpaste will tighten the vagina.
‘Putting toothpaste into the vagina, or on the vulva, would not only be uncomfortable but it could also cause serious damage and disrupt the natural flora of the vagina leading to the potential for infections like bacterial vaginosis and thrush.’
Toothpaste is often abrasive (think of all those scrubby bits you use to whiten your teeth) and can cause microabrasions within the vaginal walls, which again makes you more likely to develop an infection – as well as causing you pain.
If anything, the discomfort might make your vagina feel tighter, because your vagina relaxes when it’s comfortable and you’re turned on.
The technique highlights the lingering insecurities so many women have around their genitals.
Loads of us feel our vaginas need to be tighter and that ‘looseness’ is a terrible, shameful thing, or a sign that we’ve had lots of sexual partners. This simply isn’t true. Having ‘too much’ sex cannot loosen the vagina, and tightness is not a prerequisite to having pleasurable sex. Sex is far more enjoyable when the vagina is relaxed and well-lubricated.
Our difficulty openly chatting about vaginas and our body image means that those who are worried about tightness may resort to dangerous DIY treatments, such as the use of vinegar, toothpaste, or vagina tightening sticks, rather than talking to a doctor.
If you are concerned about the appearance or tightness of your vagina, speak to a professional about your concerns rather than trying any treatments that aren’t backed by science.
You can also try pelvic floor exercises to help build the muscles in the vagina.
Vanessa says: ‘Women who are concerned about the tightness of their vagina should contact their healthcare professional who will be able to assess them and offer guidance in terms of treatment options, one of which could be pelvic floor exercises.
‘There are various different ways in which women can carry out pelvic floor exercises but the easiest is to sit or stand comfortably with knees slightly apart and then engage and draw up the pelvic floor muscles as if trying to avoid passing urine or flatus.
‘To check that the correct muscles are being exercised, women can place a finger or thumb into the vagina and squeeze the pelvic floor muscles at the same time, they should feel a gentle squeeze as the muscles contract.
‘Women can build up the strength of their pelvic floor muscles by doing ten slow contractions and holding them for about 10 seconds each. The length of time can be increased gradually and the slow contractions can then be followed by a set of quick contractions.
‘This process should be carried out three or four times a day.
‘In some women, however, vaginal laxity may be due to pelvic organ prolapse, in which case it may be appropriate to be referred to a gynaecologist for an expert opinion.’
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