HARARE-BASED oncologist Annah Mary Nyakabawo has warned women to desist from using vagina tightening herbs saying this exacerbated the risk of contracting the human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer.
Addressing journalists at a health workshop in Harare on Wednesday, Nyakabawo said the herbs had a negative effect of breaking down surfaces around the vagina that protect women from contracting diseases.
“As part of the programmes, the Ministry of Health has to teach women about the dangers of cervical cancer, we carry out campaigns for women to go for screening,” Nyakabawo said.
“We also discourage women against using concoctions or traditional medicines on their sexual organs to try and tighten them,” she said.
“What happens is that if the surfaces of a vagina are tightened and if there is trauma, the risk of infection by HIV or the human papilloma virus that causes cervical cancer is increased because the protective surfaces around the vagina would have broken down.”
She said skin-lightening creams or tablets were also very dangerous as they destroyed pigmentation.
“When they apply those creams, they remove pigments that protect their skin from sunshine and expose themselves to the high risk of skin cancers,” Nyakabawo said.
According to online health portal slideshare.net natural elasticity of the vagina or loose vaginas can be caused by too much sex, childbirth or even rough sex and they result in several problems like having less sensations or feelings during sex.
A research carried out in Zimbabwe in 2010 entitled Vaginal Practices of HIV Negative Zimbabwean Women which was published in an online journal by Hindawi Publishing Corporation reported that women tended to use a range “of kitchen, household and traditional substances, including cotton wool, lemon juice, cloth, herbs, powder, roots, salt, disinfectant, oil, vicks, sugar, vinegar, baking soda, ice and toothpaste” as vaginal tighteners.
From a sample of 2 185 participants they found out that most participants (84%) reported at one point cleansing inside the vagina, 40% women reported drying the vagina using cloth or paper.