USA TODAY International Edition
Kardashian’s ‘ vagina gummies’ send mixed messages, experts say
Kourtney Kardashian’s vitamin supplement brand, Lemme, recently rolled out a line of aesthetically pleasing gummy vitamins promoted as a way to boost vaginal health – 60 lavender- colored gummies for $ 30 a bottle with a tonguein- cheek name: Purr.
Not only have medical experts questioned the effectiveness of these oral vitamins, many argue that the product as a whole perpetuates problematic messaging that women’s bodies need to be fixed.
“The best case scenario is that ... they’re basically like taking candy,” says Dr. Mare Mbaye, a New York- based OBGYN. At worst, experts say, they could trigger vaginal issues. And more, they contribute to the myth that women should be self- conscious about the natural state of their bodies.
USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Lemme for comment.
Do Lemme Purr vaginal health gummies work?
The Purr vitamins are marketed as “clinically- studied SNZ 1969 ™ probiotics specifically target vaginal health and pH levels to support freshness and odor,” with “added Vitamin C for antioxidant benefits and real Pineapple extract.” Doctors have a few issues with that.
First, clinically- studied can mean a wide range of things, Mbaye says, noting companies often say their products were studied, but that study could have been done internally, without bias and without enough of a represented group to make an accurate claim about effectiveness.
Probiotics are a hot topic in wellness culture right now, but Mbaye notes that there isn’t much evidence to suggest they make a difference for the average healthy person. And for those sensitive to certain ingredients, this product could affect their vaginal bacteria and “make them more prone to infections or other side effects,” Mbaye adds.
Plus a product that helps balance probiotics and pH levels is mostly unnecessary, experts add.
A vagina, for most people, takes care of this on its own. Vulvas also can be washed with mild soap and water to promote regulated levels, adds Dr. Laura Purdy, chief medical officer of sexual and reproductive telehealth company Wisp.
What message is this sending?
Capitalism is at least partly to blame here, experts note. The Kardashian- Jenner family has built an empire around identifying body insecurities and offering solutions that can seemingly only be solved with the products they sell.
“It’s frustrating because it’s basically taking advantage of young people’s insecurities and this patriarchal idea that the vagina needs to smell like flowers or smell like fruit to be appealing to somebody else,” Mbaye says. “You don’t see this happening with penises. We’re not trying to make penises smell a certain way.”
Anyone considering purchasing a product to affect the vagina in some way should first determine if they think there’s a legitimate issue. If the answer is yes, experts say consulting a medical provider is the best step to take.
“It’s important to dismantle the notion that vaginas should have an overwhelmingly good smell – they’re a part of the body and as such, can have a variety of scents, all of which can be healthy, which is what matters most,” Purdy says.
Mbaye adds: “I wouldn’t fall for these gimmicks that make you feel like something is wrong with you because these aren’t going to improve your vaginal health enough to prevent or treat any actual vaginal issues that you may have.”