Yes, that's a real thing.
Apparently, a new trend among women looking to enhance their lady bits is to stick ground-up wasp nests in them, The Daily Mail reports. These "oak galls" are being sold on Etsy, and the posting says you can also eat them for "women's health and well being." Rumor has it that the practice helps tighten and clean the vagina. But as you might predict, these rumors aren't backed by science. In fact, gynecologist Jen Gunter wrote a blog post to warn people about them.
First of all, oak galls can dry up the vagina. That can lead to chaffing during sex, which in turn can make it easier to contract STIs and other infections. They can also disrupt your vagina's bacterial balance, which can increase your risk of yeast infections and HIV. "This is a dangerous practice with real potential to harm," Gunter wrote. "Here’s a pro-tip: If something burns when you apply it to the vagina, it is generally bad for the vagina."
Aside from carrying physical risks, products like these can do psychological harm by convincing women their vaginas aren't already acceptable as they are. The oak gall is by no means the only product or treatment purporting to improve customers' vaginas. The V-steam, a vaginal steam, is a favorite of Gwyneth Paltrow's — and another pet peeve of Gunter's. "The lactobacilli strains that keep vaginas healthy are very finicky about their environment, and raising the temperature with steam and whatever infrared nonsense Paltrow means is likely not beneficial and is potentially harmful," she wrote in a separate blog post.
The takeaway? You don't need to douche, steam, or do anything else to your vagina. And please, please, do not put wasp nests in it.