The cucumber is a versatile vegetable. It can be used in any number of sandwiches and salads. At IFLScience we have a colleague who happily just munches down whole cucumbers, unseasoned, during editorial meetings.
But now it appears it has become a little too versatile, with a new baffling and concerning trend of “cucumber cleansing” taking off. Brace yourselves, it’s much weirder than it sounds.
Proponents of the “cucumber cleanse” suggest that you peel a cucumber and “insert it into the vagina and twist around, in and out movements to cleanse the yoni”. They suggest it “resets your pH balance” (which is nonsense) and leaves you smelling fresh (which is also nonsense).
Several instructional videos exist, and it appears to be a thing that actual people are doing.
Here one “expert” in the practice explains the benefits…
“So how do you cleanse your vajayjay?” Gigi writes. “If you didn’t know, a natural cleaner and one of the tools you can use for restoring pH to your yoni is a peeled organic cucumber. The same can be done with cleansing the throat & the mouth. Using a peeled cucumber you can clean your mouth and throat of any bacteria or viruses.”
This, unfortunately, isn’t a joke post. Some of Gigi’s followers are very devoted. “I’ve slept with mine inside of me, smelled like a day spa when I woke up,” one commented. “I do it once a month a few days after my cycle, I wasn’t sure how often I should do it but it feels so refreshing,” said another.
Enter Dr Jen Gunter, she of debunking Goop’s bullshit fame, to warn that it’s not only a waste of good salad, but it could have negative impacts on your health.
In a brilliant and hilarious blog post titled “Don’t cleanse your vagina with a cucumber. Please.” Dr Gunter explains (largely in block capitals because “I am yelling”) that there are a number of reasons that you shouldn’t put a peeled cucumber into your vagina to cleanse it.
They include: “VAGINAS ARE NOT DIRTY” and “ATTEMPTS AT ‘CLEANING’ THE VAGINA ACTUALLY DAMAGE THE VAGINA”.
Both excellent reasons not to turn yourself into an unorthodox salad bowl.
“This idea that some kind of vaginal cleansing is required, be it a peeled cucumber or the ‘feminine washes’ sold at drugstores, is misogyny dressed up as health care and I am having none of it. Vaginas are not dirty,” she writes.
She then explains how doing the “cleanse” instead puts you at risk of diseases.
“By damaging lactobacilli and the mucosa, attempts at vaginal cleaning increase a woman’s risk of contracting HIV or gonorrhea if she is exposed. Paradoxically it will also cause odor.”
What’s more, the whole exercise could also be pointless as “NOTHING EXTERNAL CAN ‘BALANCE” VAGINAL pH’: The pH in the vagina is controlled by the good bacteria, the same bacteria that attempts at ‘cleansing’ actually damage.”
She goes on to warn that cucumbers can contain nasty fungi, as well as describing a case where someone perforated their vagina and bladder with one.
So, all in all, the only thing you should put cucumbers in is your mouth.