Gynaecologists slam ‘vagina spa’ that is coming to the UK

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Gynaecologists have slammed a ‘vagina spa’ set to come to the UK later this year, which offers treatments that clean the intimate area.

The VSPOT Medi Spa offers customers in New York vagina steaming ‘infused with therapeutic herbs’ and a gold-infused ‘facial’.

British women will be able to pay the hefty prices for treatments on their private parts from this autumn, according to the spa. 

But gynaecologists and doctors are aghast, telling women there is no need for them to extensively clean the vagina.

Doing so can cause irritating infections like thrush and bacterial vaginosis, and even burn the skin inside.

Gynaecologists have slammed a 'vagina spa' coming to the UK expected to offer treatments that clean the intimate area. Pictured, founder Cindy Barshop

Gynaecologists have slammed a ‘vagina spa’ coming to the UK expected to offer treatments that clean the intimate area. Pictured, founder Cindy Barshop 

Cindy Barshop, founder of VSPOT Medi Spa, told Refinery 29 she expects to expand her business throughout the US.

She also plans to open a London franchise – near the department store Harrods in Knightsbridge – before the beginning of October.

Ms Barshop, former star of Real Housewives of New York City, said the spas in the UK will offer 90 per cent of the procedures available in New York.  

Vaginal steaming, known as V-Steam, involves lying on a bed while ‘steam infused with therapeutic herbs is targeted toward your nether regions’. 

‘V-tightening’ includes the FemiLift, which heats the vagina’s internal tissue with laser technology to stimulate ‘formation of new collagen’. 

The 24K Gold Bikini Wax, otherwise known as the ‘Vajacial’ is a treatment for the vulva. 

Wax infused with 24K gold is used to remove hair, before the skin is blasted with LED lights in a bid to combat ingrown hairs.

The spa claims ‘gold is a natural anti-inflammatory agent which also helps brighten the skin’.

Dr Philippa Kaye, a London-based GP, said vaginas do not need facials

Dr Philippa Kaye, a London-based GP, said vaginas do not need facials

Athena Lamnisos, CEO of Eve Appeal which raises awareness of Gynaecological Cancers, said she had worked tirelessly to bust myths around vaginal treatments

Athena Lamnisos, CEO of Eve Appeal which raises awareness of Gynaecological Cancers, said she had worked tirelessly to bust myths around vaginal treatments

WHAT DOES THE SPA OFFER ALREADY?

Cindy Barshop, founder of VSPOT Medi Spa, told Refinery 29 she expects to expand her business throughout the US.

She also plans to open a London franchise – near the department store Harrods in Knightsbridge – before the beginning of October.

Ms Barshop, former star of Real Housewives of New York City, said the spas in the UK will offer 90 per cent of the procedures available in New York. They include:

Vaginal steaming, known as V-Steam, involves lying on a bed while ‘steam infused with therapeutic herbs is targeted toward your nether regions’. 

‘V-tightening’ includes the FemiLift, which heats the vagina’s internal tissue with laser technology to stimulate ‘formation of new collagen’. 

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The 24K Gold Bikini Wax, otherwise known as the ‘Vajacial’ is a treatment for the vulva. Wax infused with 24K gold is used to remove hair, before the skin is blasted with LED lights in a bid to combat ingrown hairs. The spa claims ‘gold is a natural anti-inflammatory agent which also helps brighten the skin’.

The O-Shot was designed to give women better orgasms, by injecting the women’s own blood pallets into their vaginal tissue. This, apparently, ‘stimulates vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation’. 

Prices will be similar to those in New York, Ms Barshop said. Only the price of the V-Steam is listed – $125 (£102). 

Prices will be similar to those in New York, Ms Barshop said. Only the price of the V-Steam is listed – $125 (£102).

Ms Barshop said that as long as vaginal treatments are conducted by fully trained gynaecologists, they’re safe for women. 

But her controversial treatments have sparked fury among medics who argue the vagina should be left untouched for health reasons.

Dr Vanessa Mackay, a spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG), reminded women the vagina cleans itself.

The vagina is designed to keep itself clean with the help of natural secretions and there are lots of bacteria inside to protect it. 

The bacteria help keep the pH balance, produce bacteriocins (naturally occurring antibiotics) and produce a substance that stops invading bacteria sticking to the vagina walls and causing damage to tissue, according to the NHS.

If the balance of bacteria is disturbed, it can cause infection.

Dr Mackay said: ‘The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it. 

‘If these bacteria are disturbed it can lead to infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush, and inflammation.

‘Steaming the vagina could affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection and inflammation. It could also burn the delicate skin around the vagina.’  

The O-Shot was designed to give women better orgasms, by injecting the women’s own blood pallets into their vaginal tissue. This, apparently, ‘stimulates vaginal and clitoral rejuvenation’. 

Dr Naomi Crouch, another spokesperson for the RCOG, said difficulty having an orgasm can be caused by a number of issues including depression, the menopause, fear or not being stimulated sufficiently.   

She said: ‘There is no proven evidence or research studies to suggest that injecting a woman’s blood into her clitoris would improve her chances of having an orgasm.

‘If a woman is unable to have an orgasm, she should see her GP or go to a genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic.’  

On Twitter, doctors said they are tirelessly working to bust myths around vaginal treatments which rarely have any scientific proof they work. 

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In the past, they have urged women to avoid anything that claims to rejuvenate or medically treat their vaginas, including putting garlic in their vagina to avoid yeast infection and Gwyneth Paltrow’s Jade Eggs which boost ‘feminine energy’.

Dr Philippa Kaye, a London-based GP, wrote: ‘Clinic opens for ‘vagacials’ (vaginal facials). 

‘Yet again healthcare professionals have to respond to #thingsnottoputinyourvagina or #thingsnottodotoyourvulva. Your vulva may have lips but it doesn’t need a facial!’

Athena Lamnisos, chief executive of Eve Appeal, a charity which raises awareness of Gynaecological Cancers, said: ‘My career has crashed.

‘I’ve written, campaigned, provided medical research, worked with experts, addressed every stupid claim from the vagina vultures who peddle shame in a bottle and in their steamers & jade eggs. And now THIS.’   

Dr Leila Frodsham, consultant gynaecologist and spokesperson for RCOG, said: ‘Anything that makes women feel that a part of their body needs altering or regular attention to be “normal” is likely to make women feel more negative about their natural bodies.’ 

She stressed the importance of seeking help from a professionals for problems such as incontinence or sexual difficulties, rather than cosmetic procedures. 

WHAT ELSE HAVE DOCTORS WARNED WOMEN NOT TO PUT IN THEIR VAGINAS?

Parsley

A bizarre suggestion was made in January 2019 by women’s magazine Marie Claire that parsley could induce periods. 

Women may want to make their period come sooner as a means of controlling their cycle ahead of a holiday or special event.

According to the article, parsley is an emmenagogue – a substance that increases menstrual flow – which can ‘soften the cervix and level out hormonal imbalances’.

Doctors, including Dr Shazia Malik, a London-based obstetrician-gynaecologist, uged women to never insert vegetables into the vagina, as it could lead to health risks – including potentially death. 

Marie Clare has now apologised for the article and taken it down because it is ‘misguided’. 

Apple cider vinegar 

Experts urged women not to use trendy apple cider vinegar to ‘tighten’ their vaginas in October 2017 after online blogs and forums encouraged women to carry out the bizarre douching technique.

Aside from vinegar being completely ineffective at tightening the vagina, Professor Linda Cardozo from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London warns it could disrupt the organ’s delicate ‘good’ bacteria, putting women at risk of irritation and infections.

To maintain the vagina’s strength and tone, women should perform pelvic floor exercises regularly, Professor Cardozo recommends. 

Cleansers, lubricants and wipes

Women who use intimate-health products are more at risk of bacterial, fungal and urinary tract infections (UTIs), research in April 2018 from the University of Guelph, suggested.

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Vaginal sanitising gels raise women’s risk of developing a genital bacterial infection by almost 20 times and a yeast infection, like thrush, by eight times, a study found.

Intimate washes make women 3.5 times more likely to catch a bacterial infection and 2.5 times more at risk of a yeast infestation, the research adds.

Vaginal wipes double the risk of a UTI, while lubricants and moisturising creams increase women’s susceptibility to thrush by 2.5 times, the study found.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Jade Eggs

A gynecologist slammed Gwyneth Paltrow’s suggestion for women to put jade eggs up their vaginas as ridiculous and dangerous.

Writing on her lifestyle blog goop, the Hollywood actress claimed the $66 rocks boost orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and ‘feminine energy’.

Women, Paltrow explained through an interview with her ‘beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend’, should clench the egg inside them all day to exercise their pelvic floor.

But acclaimed gynecologist Dr Jen Gunter warned in January 2019 that the whole idea is nonsense – and could even increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis or deadly toxic shock syndrome.

Vaginal scraping

Doctors warned about this procedure after Mel B, 43, revealed she had the insides of her vagina scraped out and new tissue put inside after her bitter divorce with ex-husband Stephen Belafonte.  

The procedure, which has been largely unheard of until Mel B spoke out, could lead to a serious risk of infection, experts have said. 

Dr Jen Gunter – gynaecologist, obstetrician and author of The Vagina Bible – told Refinery29 that women should ‘never, ever have their vagina scraped’ – or even douched – which cleans the vagina using a douche and fluid. 

She said: ‘Any scraping of the vaginal epithelium [tissue] could affect the vaginal ecosystem and theoretically could spread HPV locally and would increase a woman’s vulnerability to infection.

She added that the vagina regenerates itself every 96 hours and the surface cells are shed every four hours. 

Bath bombs

Doctors expressed concern in January 2019 that people would bath bombs as a sex toy.

The comments came after popular high street retailer Lush released a cheeky Valentine’s Day range  which included bombs shaped like aubergines and peach emojis.

Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told The Metro: ‘We would strongly discourage the use of bath bombs internally as these could disturb the fragile balance of good bacteria inside the vagina.

‘This natural flora helps to protect the vagina and disrupting it could lead to irritation, inflammation and infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.’ 



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