Please Do Not Put VapoRub in Your Vagina

Nov 20, 2017 at 3:00 p.m. ET
Image: Getty Images

In the latest strange "health" trend of 2017, people are reportedly using Vicks VapoRub — an ointment and topical medicine primarily used to relieve coughs, nasal congestion and muscle aches and pains — on their vaginas. Whether to soothe itches, bring down swelling, cure thrush or boost sex drive, medical professionals warn against using VapoRub for anything other than its intended use.

Dr. Senait Fisseha, an obstetrician-gynecologist and professor at the University of Michigan, explains that using Vicks VapoRub can impact the vagina in significant ways.

More: 8 Things Your Vagina Is Telling You

“[The] vagina is extremely sensitive,” she explains. “It’s important to do a risk-benefit analysis of scientific data. The harm outweighs the benefits.”

When it comes to using VapoRub to treat infections, itchiness and swelling, Fisseha advises against this.

“[VapoRub is] topical and not meant to go into the system,” she says. “The vaginal mucosa is very sensitive and vascular and chemicals can cause damage by negatively impacting the natural flora. As the vagina is absorbent, these chemicals can be absorbed into the body’s system.”

For instance, for those who consider VapoRub a viable solution to something like vaginal thrush — a common yeast infection — it’s best to err on the side of safety and seek a prescription straight from a medical professional instead.

And the common cold product should not be used to mask any smells.

“The vagina is self-cleaning and should not have a strong odor,” says Fisseha. “There are normal bacteria present in the vagina that protect it from infection.”

More: 6 Causes of Vaginal Odor — Because Yes, It Happens to Us All

Bottom line: If you are considering using VapoRub on the vagina — don't.

By Deidre Olsen