When you’re trying to conceive, you’ll do pretty anything and everything possible to get a positive pregnancy test. And you might have heard that, potentially, yoni pearls can help with infertility. But if you don’t know too much about them, it’s a good idea to get an understanding of what they are and how they work before sticking them in your lady parts.
What Are Yoni Pearls?
Contrary to their name, yoni pearls aren’t pearls at all, although they tend to be white and somewhat pearl-shaped. Essentially, though, a yoni pearl is like a tea bag for your vagina, but instead of steeping it in hot water first, you insert it directly into your vagina. “Yoni pearls are small, ball-shaped objects made up of cloth covered herbs,” Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln tells Romper. “’Yoni’ is a Sanskrit word for the vagina— noted to be a sacred place.” And when you think that your vag can also be called a pearl, well, then a yoni pearl is basically a repetitive way of saying “vagina” twice.
How Do Yoni Pearls Work?
If you listen to the marketing of yoni pearls, you’d be surprised to find out that they pretty much do everything except cure the common cold. “Yoni pearls are also called ‘herbal tampons’ or ‘vaginal detox pearls,’” Dr. Jenna McCarthy, MD, a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and medical director with WINFertility. “The makers claim that the herbs draw out toxins in the vagina and uterus, creating a healthier environment.”
So what exactly is inside a yoni pearl? It’s made from a whole bunch of herbs, such as “safflower, motherwort, rhubarb and rhizome,” Dr. Gaither explains. Doesn’t sound too bad, right, particularly when this bevy of herbs is designed to essentially purify your vagina. “These mixtures are marketed as substances which have the ability to draw toxins out the female reproductive system, tighten the vagina, promote a healthier reproductive system and help with common ailments like PCOS, endometriosis, tubal blockage, ovarian cysts, PID, irregular menstrual cycles, and provide enhanced fertility,” she explains.
But here’s the downer. They don’t — at all. Says Dr. Gaither: “There is no scientific data to concur that use of these yoni pearls are of any benefit for any of the conditions that they propose to address.”
Do Yoni Pearls Help With Infertility?
The big question is: can yoni pearls help with infertility? Not likely, says Dr. McCarthy. “The short answer is that yoni pearls do not help in any way with infertility and may be harmful.” How? “Messing with this natural environment by putting yoni beads in there is like trying to make improvements to a jet engine by tossing a 5 lb. piece of scrap metal into it – while it’s running.” Yowza. And it’s important to note that yoni pearls are not FDA-approved, for either their purported fertility or cleansing powers.
What Are Some Potential Side Effects of Yoni Pearls?
While yoni pearls can’t necessarily aid in fertility issues, they can also create some problems, too. After all, Mother Nature made sure that the vagina could take care of herself by making her a self-cleaning mechanism that doesn’t need outside help from products like douches or, you guessed it, yoni pearls. “The vagina can precisely balance its pH and naturally-occurring bacteria and yeast to create an environment that is protective for the uterus and promotes fertility,” says Dr. McCarthy. When you start sticking things in there that aren’t, well, a penis or a tampon, then you run the risk of upsetting the natural flora of your flower.
And then, there’s the risk for infection, too. “Placing these products in the vagina may irritate and abrade the vaginal mucosa, alter the normal microbiome of the vagina, and provide a breeding site for bacteria,” says Dr. Gaither. “They can also increase the risk of allergic reaction, and vaginal infections— specifically toxic shock syndrome.”
Although yoni pearls sound like they can help purge your puss and make it a sterile environment (thus theoretically making it easier for conception to occur), there is zero scientific proof that they work. In fact, they can often do more harm than good by irritating your vagina and potentially putting you at risk for infections. That’s why the only pearls you should be wearing should be around your neck — and not inside your vagina.
Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, MPH, FACOG, double board-certified in OB/GYN and Maternal Fetal Medicine, Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln