Experts say semen-catching ‘dripstick’ that is shoved in vagina after sex can be dangerous


It is marketed as a ‘semen sponge’, designed to clean the vagina after sex.

But doctors are begging women to not use the gadget – called a ‘Dripstick’. 

Experts say the product is harmful and could cause thrush, bacterial vaginosis and irritation.

Using the device may even make women more prone to getting an STI, one medic claimed.

The sponge was advertised in a TikTok video showing its absorbency with a custard doughnut

The ‘dripstick’ by Awkward Essentials (left) is marketed as a semen sponge, used to clean up after sex drips to prevent wet sheets and pants. The sponge was advertised in a TikTok video (right) showing its absorbency with a custard doughnut

The Dripstick, which first came to market last year, costs $25 (£20) for a pack of 20 sponges. 

It has gone viral yet again as a result of doctors trying to encourage women not to use it.

One TikTok advert, posted by Awkward Essentials — the firm that sells it — shows it being put inside a custard-filled doughnut.

The clip bragged about being able to soak up semen ‘quickly’, using the example of it absorbing yellow custard.

The viral product is a similar shape to a tampon, and it is made out of polyurethane — a plastic material tailored into a sponge. 

Essentially, it is a sponge on a stick used to clean up ‘drippy discomfort’ after sex.

It is shipped with a return address to ‘Richard Cummings’.

Dr Hannah Crowther, a GP in Berkshire with a special interest in women’s health, said it was a ‘bad idea’.

Dr Crowther told MailOnline: ‘Generally the vaginal flora needs to be left alone.

‘We always say don’t douche and the more you wash inside the more likely you are to unbalance your healthy bacteria and cause problems.’

She added: ‘It is certainly worrying if people are using it for contraception.’

On the Awkward Essentials website, it stresses the ‘dripstick’ is not a menstruation product, birth control, or STI/STD protection. 

But it is advertised as a ‘hygiene’ product, which many doctors disagree with. 

In a video in TikTok, Dr Gemma Newman, a GP in London with a background in gynaecology, begs people to not buy it and to not use it. 

Dr Newman said: ‘You do not need to use this after sex.

‘If you want to wash after sex, it is up to you, but do not insert anything into your vagina it is self-cleansing, and you will disrupt your micro-biome. 

‘It is not needed.’ 

A&E doctor and TikTok comedian Dr Maddy Lucy Dann also warned about the dangers of the ‘pointless’ sponge on social media and said it could cause ‘harm’. 

After being tagged in an advert for the ‘Dripstick’, Dr Dann stressed to her followers that the inside of the vagina does not need cleaning.

She said: ‘Any product that suggests you need to dry out or clean out your vagina after sex is bizarre. Don’t use them.’

Dr Dann criticises the product for shaming women just for going to the toilet after sex to clean up.

She said: ‘They embarrass and demonise entirely normal behaviours, creating a problem so they can sell you a solution.’

She suggests ‘gravity’ and simply going to the toilet after sex to clean up will do the job, adding: ‘Urinating after sex is really important as well because it can clear the urethra and really reduce your risk of getting UTIs.’

However, the ‘Dripstick’ is not just getting hate because it is unnecessary.

Dr Dann also warns of the health dangers. 

She said: ‘Inserting a dry sponge into the vagina can cause micro abrasions or tears putting you at risk of irritation, BV, thrush.’

This is because the sponge could remove the healthy bacteria, disrupt the vaginal microbiome and the natural PH of the vagina, which creates the perfect breeding ground for infections such as thrush and BV.  

The chances of developing thrush or BV also increase when the skin is irritated or damaged, this could happen if the sponge scratches the area or makes it dry.

Dr Dann, who has more than 940K followers, added: ‘If the person you are sleeping with has a sexually transmitted infection and it is present in the ejaculate, the irritation, and the micro tears from the Dripstick could then make you more likely to contract that STI from your partner.’

Dr Jennifer Gunter, a Canadian-American gynecologist, also ‘hates’ this product.

The author of the book the Vagina Bible suggests simply cleaning up with a flannel after sex in a TikTok video last year.

Now the product has gone viral again this week, Dr Gunter has expressed how ‘sick’ she is of the Dripstick company trying to ‘shame’ women into ‘using a product that you don’t need’.

In a TikTok video she said: ‘There is no data that would suggest in any way that cleaning inside the vagina with this Dripstick product would be good for the vaginal micro-biome.

‘In fact, we can say the opposite because we know that every attempt at cleaning intravaginally is associated with harm to the vaginal eco-system.’

She added: ‘Listen to experts, not people selling products.’

In a FAQs section on the ‘Dripstick’ website, Awkward Essentials highlights that the vagina is self-cleaning, and the sponge should ‘only be used if there is excess cum present’.

Awkward Essentials say: ‘It’s a sponge meant to absorb liquids and contains no additives whatsoever.

‘If you don’t mind the drip or have other methods that work for you, great.’

Awkward Essentials has been approached for a comment.

WHAT ELSE HAVE DOCTORS WARNED WOMEN NOT TO PUT IN THEIR VAGINAS?

Parsley

A bizarre suggestion was made in January 2019 by women’s magazine Marie Claire that parsley could induce periods. 

Women may want to make their period come sooner as a means of controlling their cycle ahead of a holiday or special event.

According to the article, parsley is an emmenagogue – a substance that increases menstrual flow – which can ‘soften the cervix and level out hormonal imbalances’.

Doctors, including Dr Shazia Malik, a London-based obstetrician-gynaecologist, urged women to never insert vegetables into the vagina, as it could lead to health risks – including potentially death. 

Marie Clare has now apologised for the article and taken it down because it is ‘misguided’. 

Apple cider vinegar 

Experts urged women not to use trendy apple cider vinegar to ‘tighten’ their vaginas in October 2017 after online blogs and forums encouraged women to carry out the bizarre douching technique.

Aside from vinegar being completely ineffective at tightening the vagina, Professor Linda Cardozo from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in London warns it could disrupt the organ’s delicate ‘good’ bacteria, putting women at risk of irritation and infections.

To maintain the vagina’s strength and tone, women should perform pelvic floor exercises regularly, Professor Cardozo recommends. 

Cleansers, lubricants and wipes

Women who use intimate-health products are more at risk of bacterial, fungal and urinary tract infections (UTIs), research in April 2018 from the University of Guelph, suggested.

Vaginal sanitising gels raise women’s risk of developing a genital bacterial infection by almost 20 times and a yeast infection, like thrush, by eight times, a study found.

Intimate washes make women 3.5 times more likely to catch a bacterial infection and 2.5 times more at risk of a yeast infestation, the research adds.

Vaginal wipes double the risk of a UTI, while lubricants and moisturising creams increase women’s susceptibility to thrush by 2.5 times, the study found.

Gwyneth Paltrow’s Jade Eggs

A gynecologist slammed Gwyneth Paltrow’s suggestion for women to put jade eggs up their vaginas as ridiculous and dangerous.

Writing on her lifestyle blog goop, the Hollywood actress claimed the $66 rocks boost orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and ‘feminine energy’.

Women, Paltrow explained through an interview with her ‘beauty guru/healer/inspiration/friend’, should clench the egg inside them all day to exercise their pelvic floor.

But acclaimed gynecologist Dr Jen Gunter warned in January 2019 that the whole idea is nonsense – and could even increase the risk of bacterial vaginosis or deadly toxic shock syndrome.

Vaginal scraping

Doctors warned about this procedure after Mel B, 43, revealed she had the insides of her vagina scraped out and new tissue put inside after her bitter divorce with ex-husband Stephen Belafonte.  

The procedure, which has been largely unheard of until Mel B spoke out, could lead to a serious risk of infection, experts have said. 

Dr Jen Gunter – gynaecologist, obstetrician and author of The Vagina Bible – told Refinery29 that women should ‘never, ever have their vagina scraped’ – or even douched – which cleans the vagina using a douche and fluid. 

She said: ‘Any scraping of the vaginal epithelium [tissue] could affect the vaginal ecosystem and theoretically could spread HPV locally and would increase a woman’s vulnerability to infection.

She added that the vagina regenerates itself every 96 hours and the surface cells are shed every four hours. 

Bath bombs

Doctors expressed concern in January 2019 that people would bath bombs as a sex toy.

The comments came after popular high street retailer Lush released a cheeky Valentine’s Day range  which included bombs shaped like aubergines and peach emojis.

Dr Vanessa Mackay, spokesperson for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, told The Metro: ‘We would strongly discourage the use of bath bombs internally as these could disturb the fragile balance of good bacteria inside the vagina.

‘This natural flora helps to protect the vagina and disrupting it could lead to irritation, inflammation and infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush.’ 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk