26 April 2019

Kenya: Gynaes Warn Against Garlic As Kenyan Women Flood Social Media for Answers On Infections

Top gynaecologists in the country have warned women against using garlic for yeast infections, citing risk for further infections.

The doctors said there are no studies to support the claim that garlic has anti-fungal properties and since a yeast infection is fungal, there are drugs for treating it.

Led by Dr John Ongech, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Kenyatta National Hospital, Dr Paul Mitei, western region gynaecologist, and Dr Jen Gunter, based in California, they called on women to seek medical attention whenever they suspect they have a yeast infection.

SOCIAL MEDIA REMEDY

On Monday, a woman took to social media to seek a remedy describing he symptoms as itchiness and a white discharge from her private area.

Out of the 892 comments that she got, almost half advised her to insert garlic into her genital area and that within three days, the symptoms would disappear.

"I remember I had the same problem back in 2017, I could not stand the itchiness, a friend of mine advised me to insert garlic and within two days, it was gone," wrote Cecilia in the comments.

Another one wrote: "Take a clove of fresh garlic and peel off the natural white shell that covers it, leaving the clove intact. At bedtime, put the clove in the private area. In the morning, remove the garlic clove and throw it in the toilet. I did this one time, if the itchiness goes on, continue for one or two days until all the itchiness is gone."

However, Dr Ong'ech said it was wrong to insert garlic in private parts since it has chemicals that alter the pH of the area hence may lead to problems in the future.

"The area is very sensitive and if one uses any type of chemicals, it alters the pH. Garlic contains bacteria which is very dangerous for the birth canal. When one has the symptoms, the only alternative is to see a doctor, there are antifungal drugs specifically for yeast infection," Dr Ong'ech said.

BE MORE CAREFUL

Dr Gunter, who might have seen the discussion on Twitter, wrote on her Twitter handle warning women to be more careful saying that the birth canal is the 'perfect' environment for the botulism bacteria to grow, which can be life-threatening and lead to paralysis.

Botulism, a condition caused by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, can be offset when someone eats food containing the toxins because it has not been properly canned, preserved or cooked.

Dr Gunter, who is a health columnist and author of a book titled The Vagina Bible, advises women not to take medical advice from anyone recommending vaginal garlic for yeast or anything else.

In her handle, she explained that garlic contains allicin, which in the lab has shown to have antifungal properties.

'This is in a lab, not even in mice. Just a dish of cells. Your vagina is not a dish of cells,' Dr Gunter said.

SERIOUS RISKS

The expert delved into the serious risks of garlic, firstly because it could have bacteria from the soil on it.

'Bacteria from the soil can be pathogenic for the body. That is why we clean wounds. If you actually happen to have an inflamed yeasty vagina soil bacteria would be more likely to infect it,' she said.

Garlic could also cause biofilms to form, which are a collection of microorganisms such as plaque on teeth.

However, the most concerning risk Dr Gunter warns of is clostridium bacteria, found in soil, which may be on the garlic.

The bacteria themselves are not harmful, but they can produce one of the highest poisonous toxins when deprived of oxygen, such as in closed cans or bottles.

Dr Mitei asked women to avoid self-diagnosis and see a medical expert whenever they have symptoms.

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