We never thought we’d have to say this, but women should not wash their vaginas with lemon or other citrus fruits.
Doctors have warned that the dangerous new craze risks damaging the delicate lining of the vulva and can cause thrush.
Lately, forums have seen an uptick in posts recommending the worrying trend which some have claimed can eradicate bad smells and even “avoid pregnancy”.
And, campaigners have said that they are often approached, in places like Tanzania, by young women who believe washing their genitals with lemons will get rid of sperm after sex.
Others claims that lemon leaves keep the vagina smelling fresh.
However, Dr Sarah Jarvis GP, wants women and girls to know that this is not the case and that the practice can cause serious harm.
She said: "It’s a terrible idea to wash your vagina out with lemon juice.
Lemon juice is highly acidic (the clue is in the name – it’s full of citric acid), which can damage the delicate lining of your vagina.
"This can lead to soreness, irritation and pain when you make love. But it can also disrupt the pH balance of your vagina.
“And doing this can make you prone to vaginal infections such as thrush and bacterial vaginosis (BV)."
BV is an infection which can cause the genitals to have an unpleasant, fish-like smell.
Dr Sarah Welsh, co-founder of Hanx, told the Sun: "Lemon juice does not stop pregnancy and the only way to do this safely and effectively is to see a healthcare professional for medical or surgical management.
"It is always best to see a healthcare professional for a diagnosis and to discuss any concerns you may have about your intimate and vaginal health.”
The NHS notes on its website that the vagina is self-cleaning and stays fresh via secreting discharge.
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It added: “It's a good idea to avoid perfumed soaps, gels and antiseptics as these can affect the healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels in the vagina and cause irritation.
“Use plain, unperfumed soaps to wash the area around the vagina (the vulva) gently every day.
“The vagina will clean itself inside your body with natural vaginal secretions (discharge).”
It also adds that vaginal douches, wipes and deodorants are unnecessary and “can disrupt the normal vaginal bacteria”.
If you are particularly sensitive then plain, warm water should be enough the clean the outside of the area – the vulva – and the vaginal canal should be left well alone.
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