First, Gwyneth Paltrow raved about vagina steaming; then her lifestyle website, Goop, wanted you to stick a $66 rock up your hoo-ha. Now, Goop has settled a lawsuit over the unscientific health claims made to sell those rocks.
A little background: In 2017, Goop posted a story called “Better Sex: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni,” which claimed that these eggs—supposedly an ancient “guarded secret of Chinese royalty" used by queens and concubines—harness the “power to cleanse and clear” making them “ideal for detox, too.” The article also claimed putting a jade egg into your vagina for hours at a time could improve your sex life, balance your menstrual cycle, and "intensify feminine energy," among other things.
The jade eggs sold out. But according to the lawsuit, those claims were not backed by "competent and reliable scientific evidence," the LA Times reported. In an email to the Times, a Goop spokesperson said the company wanted to settle the suit "quickly and amicably." Customers who bought jade eggs between January 12 and August 31, 2017 are also eligible for a refund.
The lawsuit means Goop can no longer make certain health claims about jade eggs, but they can still be sold. However, women's health experts Health spoke to say you should steer clear. Walking around with a rock clenched in your lady parts is just the latest addition to the list of things you shouldn’t do to your vagina
“Many people have this idea that if it’s natural it must be good, useful, and not harmful,” says Lauren Streicher, MD, associate clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University, and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health and Your Best Sex Ever. “To which I always say, arsenic is natural, but that’s certainly harmful.”
Jen Gunter, MD, a San Francisco-based ob-gyn, warns that using a jade egg really could hurt you. “The stones are really porous, so I’m not sure how it could be cleaned or sterilized between uses,” she says. Nasty bacteria (like the kind that cause toxic shock syndrome or bacterial vaginosis) could get lodged in the nooks and crannies, and then get reintroduced into the vagina every time the egg is used, says Dr. Gunter. “That’s especially an issue when one of the recommended ways to use it is sleeping with it in. We don’t recommend that tampons or menstrual cups be left in for longer than 12 hours and those are either disposable or cleanable.”
Dr. Streicher also worries that one of these slippery stones could actually get stuck in your vagina, and that you could potentially scratch your vaginal wall trying to retrieve it (she's seen this happen to clients with sex toys).
What's more, while Goop claimed using a jade egg will help strengthen your pelvic floor, both Dr. Gunter and Dr. Streicher point out that leaving a weight inside of your vagina all day long isn’t a healthy training method. “You want to contract and relax, not have [your muscles] contract continually,” Dr. Gunter says. "Contracting constantly is like doing half of a bicep curl and not finishing it—that’s not how you work on a muscle.”
If you want to strengthen your pelvic floor, Dr. Gunter recommends sticking with exercises that have been proven to work, like kegels. You could also buy a device specifically designed for pelvic floor training (like Elvie or PeriCoach)—they're made from safe, cleanable materials.
And as far as the other so-called benefits go, Dr. Gunter says there’s no truth to them, simply because “there’s no such thing as magic.” Granted, she does believe that some women may feel short-term benefits from these eggs because of the placebo effect. “But this is a potentially harmful placebo—both from a possible risk of infection and from how this practitioner is recommending you use them,” says Dr. Gunter.
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There are plenty of effective ways to address the problems this jade egg supposedly solves. If you’re having sex troubles, for instance, Dr. Streicher recommends trying to hone in on what the root of the problem is, and then figuring out an effective solution. For example, if you’re struggling to reach orgasm, Dr. Streicher advises taking some time to get to know your body through masturbation: “Find out where your clitoris is and how to stimulate it. Or invest in a good vibrator, which has been scientifically proven to address this challenge.”
Most importantly, it's crucial to realize there’s no cure-all for your problems, says Dr. Streicher. And even if there was, it likely wouldn't come in the form of a product promoted by a celebrity. “Just the fact that they’re famous, doesn’t mean they have some insider knowledge,” she says.
A better solution is to seek help from an actual doctor, rather than rely on a mystical egg to fix everything. Especially since, as Dr. Streicher points out, the questionable benefits of the product are just not worth the potential harm.
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