What do you crave when you’re on your period? We’re guessing a duster for your vagina isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. But that was, effectively, the product being sold by one company – until gynaecologists called BS.
The start-up, called Blossom Brush Inc, was selling a brush designed to be used by a person on their period to “remove residual blood and debris”.
Looking a bit like a cross between a crab claw and tongue scraper, the product was supposedly meant to “help a woman feel more fresh and make her period more manageable”.
The product was shared on Twitter by Dr Jen Gunter, who’s famous for de-bunking “faux-feminist” products.
“Every day it seems as if someone comes up with a new and thoroughly unnecessary, yet harmful vaginal cleaning product marketed as empowerment,” she said. “I present to you today’s entry.”
In a follow-up tweet, she added: “The vagina isn’t a cupboard.”
Thousands of people commented on the post, with many criticising the product for reinforcing ideas that “periods are dirty”. It could actually do some harm than good, according to Dr Brooke Vandermolen, an obstetrics and gynaecology doctor who runs The Obgyn Mum blog.
“Vaginal cleansing or douching has been consistently shown to be harmful,” she tells HuffPost UK. “The vaginal organisms are carefully regulated to maintain the ideal conditions to prevent infections and support the vaginal environment.
“Products such as this would risk disturbing the delicate lining of the vagina, increasing the risk of infections such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis.”
On top of this, there’s no evidence the vagina needs to be cleansed internally, adds Dr Vandermolen.
“Leftover menstrual blood does not have potential to cause infections and will gradually leave the body with the natural secretions that form the vaginal discharge,” she says. “It does not need a tool to physically cleanse the blood away and I would urge women to avoid purchasing products such as these which may cause more harm than any benefit.”
Following criticism, the team at Blossom Brush Inc initially posted a statement on their social media channels, stating the product was made with “good intentions”, adding that it had received a positive response from women who’d tried it.
“The benefits have included less usage of tampons and a reduction in the number of days a woman required feminine hygiene products,” they said.
“We do not believe that any person has a ‘dirty’ vagina and we wish to work with the gynaecological community and people who have periods to understand how to appropriately provide women with a new choice in their menstrual management.”
However, after posting the statement, the website and all social media accounts for Blossom Brush Inc appear to have been taken down.
We’d say that’s a win for period positivity.