Yoghurt – it’s kind of the ‘in thing’ for health nuts and those of us that aspire to be just like those health nuts with minimal effort. The options are vast, there’s Greek, Low fat. No Fat, flavoured, natural, frozen, and liquid – the list just goes on.
Well, how about a little vaginal yoghurt for something different?
Yes, I kid you not – this is a real thing. Seriously.
Sure, I gagged more than a little when I heard of this and immediately fell to foetal position on the floor rocking gently while mumbling ‘Why… why??!!’ over and over again.
Now you are not going to find this… lets just say, unique yoghurt on the shelves of your local supermarket. You can breath easy, you can still walk past the refrigerated section without mistakenly grabbing this little treasure after being intrigued by the packaging of new kid on the block in the yoghurt section. Just imagine fumbling around trying to hide the fact you were seriously checking it out as the grey brigade ‘tut tut’ in disgust the cleaning aisle behind you. Floor please swallow me up now!!
How (or why!) did vaginal yoghurt even come about? Let’s start with your everyday kind of yoghurt – the kind you WILL find in your local grocery store. Yoghurt to put simply is made by adding cultures (bacteria) to milk. Simple right – well wait for it….
Cecilia Westbrook, a MD/PhD Student at University of Wisconsin, Madison had what I would class as, a brain fart. Apparently Cecilia was perplexed at how there could be a whole cookbook of semen based recipes published (YES – it’s true. Google it!), but nothing featuring the good ole vajayjay. Obviously this just wasn’t good enough for her.
Now the vagina is home to hundreds of types of bacteria and organisms with the dominant bacteria being lactobacillus which is also what is sometimes used to culture milk, cheese and yoghurt. You’ve all seen the TV ads – they love to push that word when it comes to promoting the natural benefits of yoghurt!
The obvious next step for Ces (this is what I now call her, because seriously, I feel so damn familiar with her now, basically besties) was to whip up a batch of her own home-made, personalised yoghurt. Of course, that’s an obvious train of thought – I would have totally thought that too!
So, in the kitchen Cecilia whips out the trusty rusty wooden spoon and ‘harvests’ her very own home made batch of bacteria. A positive control was set up using actual yoghurt as the starter culture and a negative control which was just plain milk, and added her own special ingredient to the third batch of yoghurt. This was left overnight and Motherboard reports “biology created a respectably-sized bowl”.
While you’re playing with that image in your mind – there was actually a serious reason why Cecilia was doing this. The apparent reasoning was that there are already prebiotics available to help keep your vagina healthy by ensuring there are the ‘good’ bacteria doing their thing down there, so why not increase that effectiveness by using your own bacteria as a booster?
Now back to the respectably-sized bowl. You can’t have a science experiment without an accurate report on the outcome. A taste test followed.
It is reported that her first batch “tasted sour, tangy, almost tingly to the tongue. She compared it to Indian yoghurt, and ate it with some blueberries” Oh, how positively delightful. Just read that sentence above again… note the part where it states “FIRST BATCH”. That’s right, not quite happy with her first batch, Ces has another go. It’s always good to be thorough I guess.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) press officer Theresa Eisenman stated “Vaginal secretions are not considered food, and they may transmit human disease, a food product that contains vaginal secretions or other bodily fluids is considered adulterated.” Simple translation – that shit is messed up!!
The collection method just doesn’t harvest the lactobacilli from the vagina, you’re basically taking everything off the self so to speak, which can include the by products of the organisms present such as lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. Also depending on what day it is or who it is who is collecting the ingredients the yoghurt may not be dominated by lactobacilli but other bacteria – some of which may be pathogenic.
This experiment has been further explored by Rosanne Hertzberger a Dutch microbiologist who studies vaginal bacterial at Washington School of Medicine in the US. The result?
“The result was particularly chunky; sour milk, probably with loads of precipitated milk protein. It was no delicious tangy yogurt,” she explained. “The conclusion is that the yogurt from Westbrook probably contained a mixture of various kinds of bacteria. Some of which may have been her own vaginal inhabitants, but a number of them may have originated from the wooden spoon, or from the air, or from the kitchen counter, or from underneath her fingernails.”
Rest assured this unique yoghurt will not be hitting shelves near you anytime soon, a fact I personally am quite ecstatic about. Good try though Cecilia – although I personally wouldn’t EVER accept a dinner invitation at her place. I wonder how she’d go on Master Chef…hmmmm.
So now, relax, go have that delectable tub of Greek yoghurt you’ve been craving all day. As for me – I think I’ll just have that chocolate bar sitting right beside it!