Gynecologists Call Out Kourtney Kardashian's Vagina Gummies
Whatever your thoughts on Lemme Purr, the controversial new vaginal health gummy from Kourtney Kardashian Barker, you have to admit the marketing is mesmerizing. A presale Instagram ad released Feb. 6 features her lying on the ground gazing sultrily at the camera in a spiraling promenade of cats. The caption, with a cat emoji, reads: "Your 🐱 is going to love this…"
However, the sexiness of its marketing is the best thing the gummies have going for them, according to an online chorus of outraged gynecologists.
Backlash from the medical community began shortly after the Instagram ad went live. Jen Gunter, M.D., an OB-GYN based in California and the author of "The Vagina Bible," was among the first to decry the product, calling it out as a "grift."
"Just another vaginal scam, this one brought to you by the aspirational Kardashian empire," Gunter wrote on Instagram. "Anyone who suggests that your vagina isn't fresh or needs an improved taste is a misogynist and awful person."
Anita Mitra, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., an OB-GYN in London with a doctorate in the vaginal microbiome, posted a video response to the ad on Instagram, titling the retort, "5 reasons why I wouldn't spend my money on a celebrity-promoted vaginal health gummy."
"The terms 'probiotic' and 'microbiome' are often thrown around as powerful marketing terms which [are] often used to give many products some seemingly credible properties," Mitra wrote in the caption. "There are many types of probiotic…Spoiler alert: this specific probiotic has not been particularly well-researched with regards to vaginal health."
Mitra agreed with Gunter, stating the ad was anti-feminist: "Anyone who tells you that you need to change the taste or smell of your vulva or vagina is working with the patriarchy," she wrote.
Ali Rodriguez, M.D., an OB-GYN in Arizona who goes by "The Latina Doc," was among the many medical professionals who chimed in with comments on Kardashian Barker's post. "I'm a gynecologist," she wrote. "This ain't it. Stop giving your money away. You do not need this."
What the science says
According to the Lemme website, Purr gummies contain the probiotic Bacillus coagulans SNZ 1969, which has been "shown in clinical studies to support vaginal health, freshness and odor."
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database lists Bacillus coagulans as "possibly effective" for relieving constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. However, "there isn't enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful [for other purposes]," according to the database.
Lemme Purr gummies also contain vitamin C, which some studies have suggested could help with preventing bacterial vaginosis, a bacterial infection, though the research was based on vitamins taken vaginally, not orally.
The final ingredient listed for Lemme Purr gummies is 100 milligrams (mg) of pineapple, a food long fabled to make your bodily fluids taste better.
However, influencing the taste of your vaginal fluids isn't as simple as eating 100 mg of pineapple extract.
"The whole of a person's diet can result in a cumulative effect or temper any effects," Queen said.
How to keep your vagina healthy
"You can support a balance of vaginal bacteria by having a healthy diet and lifestyle," Swarup said. "Avoid certain things that will disrupt your pH, such as douching, using scented soaps, having unprotected sex, non-breathable underwear and poor vaginal cleaning habits."
Poor vaginal cleaning habits generally involve interfering with the vagina at all, he clarified.
"Your vagina cleans itself," Swarup explained. "The best way to keep your vagina clean is to leave it alone [and] not try to clean it with scented soaps and washes. It's OK to wash your vulva gently with warm water and soap, but avoid cleaning the inside of your vagina."
Gunter said it well in her Instagram post: "Your vagina is terrific. If you think you have a health condition, consult an expert, not a Kardashian."
"The vagina has an odor that is natural and changes from time to time as your pH will fluctuate," he said. "If you are concerned about your vagina's odor, see your OB-GYN and they can provide you with answers and solutions to improve your situation."