If you’re a sex toy connoisseur, your collection probably includes several different gadgets. You likely have at least one vibrator, but you might also have nipple clamps, a butt plug, and a few dildos. Over the past few years, one type of sex toy has gotten a higher profile: the jade egg, also called a yoni egg.
Yoni eggs have appeared in TV episodes and have been sold by wellness companies like Goop. These devices are small, egg-shaped stones, usually jade, designed for vaginal insertion. Proponents say they can strengthen your vaginal muscles, similar to Kegel balls, and that they have spiritual healing properties. OB/GYNs disagree.
Jen Gunter, MD, New York Times columnist and author of the Vagina Bible, is an especially vocal critic. In 2017, she wrote an open letter to Gwyneth Paltrow, explaining that the porous nature of these stones puts users at risk for bacterial vaginosis and toxic shock syndrome, and that wearing them for long periods of time can lead to pelvic pain and pain with sex. “The only thing your post got right is to check with your doctor before using one,” she wrote. “So let me give you some free advice, don’t use vaginal jade eggs.”
In 2018, Gunter even published a study debunking Goop’s claim that jade eggs “were recommended or used in sexual health practices or for pelvic muscle exercises in ancient Chinese culture.” Her conclusion: “No evidence was found to support the claim that vaginal jade eggs were used for any indication in ancient Chinese culture.”
Although Goop is no longer selling these eggs (following a $145,000 settlement), other companies continue to sell similar products. And while pelvic floor issues are a real concern for many people, yoni eggs are not an effective treatment. “If a woman has problems with pelvic floor weakening, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, or sexual dysfunction, it can be beneficial for her to seek the help of a professional, in particular, a urogynecologist. Unfortunately, not many women are aware of the presence of urogynecology, which can address all those issues,” Tamara Toidze, M.D., Urogynecologist, AtlantiCare Physician Group, tells Refinery29.
“Women tend to be embarrassed looking for help and discussing those issues, and turn to web searches and blogs in search of solutions,” Dr. Toidze adds. “Sadly, companies seeking to market products like jade eggs exploit the lack of awareness of effective treatments for female pelvic problems.”