Tag Archives: ‘detox’

‘Very predatory’: Health Canada bans vaginal detox products following Marketplace investigation

Health Canada has banned the sale of a natural health care product that is marketed as a way to “detox” vaginas following an investigation by CBC’s Marketplace.

Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls are small, herb-filled balls that are inserted into the vaginal canal through the use of a plastic applicator. The instructions recommend keeping them inserted for up to 48 hours.

The company advertises that the pearls will help to “promote overall womb and vaginal health” and help with “painful menstrual cramping, detoxing an ex-lover, smelly odour, dryness, get back to their menstrual cycle after getting off birth control and overall vaginal reconnection.”

Health Canada has previously advised Canadians about the risks of buying natural health products online that have not been assessed for safety, efficacy or quality. These pearls were never authorized for sale in Canada.

In a statement, the federal regulator told Marketplace that it contacted Goddess Detox and the company agreed to remove Canada as a shipping destination on its website.

The misconceptions and false claims around such products as these pearls is what pushed gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter to write The Vagina Bible.

“I have a vagenda,” said Gunter.

Dr. Jen Gunter is an obstetrician-gynecologist and a pain medicine physician who wants you to stop detoxing your vagina. (Turgut Yeter/CBC)

“I’ve spent so much time debunking myths online about, you know, what not to put in your vagina, or what not to do to your vulva, or how women are told to think about their bodies,” she said.

“I wanted to write a textbook for women … I wanted people to be primed with good information before they enter the library of the internet.”

When Marketplace showed Gunter the Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls, she recoiled immediately at the smell after opening the package.

“Oh gosh, yeah. So somebody has just stuffed a bunch of herbs in,” she said. “It smells like mothballs.”

The packaging of the pearls lists the following ingredients: Cnidium, stemona, fructus kochiae, motherwort, angelica, rhizoma, borneol and ligusticum wallichii.

In 2002, Health Canada issued a warning over a Chinese medicine containing borneolum syntheticum, a synthetic version of borneol, both of which are toxic. Health Canada said it had received one serious adverse reaction report through the Canada Vigilance database regarding borneol.

Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls make claims about helping to regulate menstrual cycles, detox ex-boyfriends and sexual trauma, and assist with fertility. (CBC)

The herb-filled pearls’ instructions state that after wearing the pearls for up to 48 hours, a “purge of toxins” from the vagina will occur.

“I think there’s a lot of this sort of false idea about what the normal vagina should be like,” said Gunter. “You don’t need to detox … anything at all. There’s nothing in your reproductive tract that needs to be detoxed. Your whole body, you’ve got liver and kidneys — they take care of that.”

‘Very predatory’

Not only does detoxing not work, she said, but it could be harmful.

“We know that just douching with water changes your ecosystem enough that it would increase your risk of getting HIV if you’re exposed. That’s just with water.” said Gunter.

When caustic substances are added, it can damage the mucus layer of the vagina, the cells and its good bacteria, which are what keep bad bacteria out. 

“If you strip those off and then you have intercourse with a penis or even fingers, and then you rub, you’re more likely going to get little breaks in the skin,” said Gunter, noting that those breaks are how bacteria and viruses, like HIV, can enter the body.

Goddess pearls advertise that they could help the “many women who are not in their most optimal health due to stress, taking care of the world and more.”

“The vagina is … affected by the stress of the world?” questioned Gunter. “You don’t get ill in the way that they’re describing from your vagina.”

This paragraph comes from an instructional booklet for Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls. (Jenny Cowley/CBC)

The more concerning claim for Gunter is that the pearls can detox ex-partners or sexual traumas — a concept she called both “offensive” and “harmful.”

The instructional booklet that comes with the pearls reads: “Before inserting the pearl in the applicator, pray or speak your intentions of healing any trauma you have experienced or vaginal ailment you wish to be removed. Ask that this process removes old trauma, past sexual partners and abusers from your womb area.”

“I think that’s very predatory,” said Gunter. “The idea that … there is any kind of remnant in your vagina from sexual trauma is simply not true.”

Violent rape may leave physical scar tissue, Gunter said, but, otherwise, the vagina sheds a layer of epithelial cells often.

“Everything that was there three days ago is not there now, today,” said Gunter. “And I think people should be ashamed of themselves for saying things like that.”

‘Even more harm to survivors of violence’

The claims also raised concern for the Canadian Women’s Foundation, a public group that funds 74 programs across Canada and supports hundreds of shelters. 

 “Studies show that healing from trauma is a complicated, multi-faceted journey that can look different for different people,” said foundation vice-president Andrea Gunraj. 

“Healing and cleansing ‘aids’ that make claims ungrounded in research can mislead people, create confusions and compound vulnerability. It causes even more harm to survivors of violence.”

Further, Gunraj condemned the overall marketing of the detox pearls. 

“Where women and girls are made to feel like … their bodies ‘need fixing’ or ‘cleaning,’ there could be serious mental and physical health impacts.”

A quick Google search reveals there are other similar vaginal detox or “womb-cleansing” products available for purchase online, though they’re also not authorized for sale in Canada.

Health Canada told Marketplace that consumers are encouraged to report any information regarding the sale of Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls or other similar products using Health Canada’s online complaint form.

Marketplace reached out to the CEO of Goddess Vaginal Detox Pearls, Vanessa White, who goes by Olanikee Osi. She referred the request to a public relations agency, who did not provide a statement. 

Gynecological misconceptions

Misconceptions about vaginal health have been around for decades. In the 1930s, Lysol was advertised as a douche; the so-called “Lysol method” was advertised to women who had a “gross neglect of proper marriage hygiene” to aid women with “feminine health, daintiness, and mental poise.” 

And 1950s folklore suggests women would also use Coca-Cola as a douche and spermicide. Douches were often advertised as “cleanliness” products — a euphemism when birth control and other contraceptive methods were not readily available.

Doctors have widely debunked douching for decades.

A 1933 advertisement for Lysol advises women to douche with its product, claiming that doctors have ‘freely recommended the regular and continual use of Lysol for feminine health, daintiness, and mental poise.’ (The New Movie Magazine)

“Your vagina’s a self-cleaning oven,” said Gunter. “It’s a marvel of evolution how the cells turn over, how the good bacteria keeps everything in place. It is a finely tuned evolutionary miracle that you should just let it be and it will take care of you.” 

Not long after douching went out of style, Gwyneth Paltrow came in. Her lifestyle brand, Goop, recommended unproven gynecological practices that doctors continue to condemn.

Vaginal steaming, a practice that involves sitting or squatting over steaming water infused with herbs, was recommended by Paltrow in 2015. In 2018, a case of a Canadian woman receiving second-degree burns during vaginal steaming was reported in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada

In 2018, Goop settled a consumer protection lawsuit over false claims made by the company about the Jade Egg — a product that was marketed for insertion into the vagina — including that it could balance hormones, regulate menstrual cycles, prevent uterine prolapse and increase bladder control. The company was fined $ 145,000 US. 

How to break through the misinformation

Gunter says the misconceptions about the female body often come from a lack of understanding. 

“I … think medicine really has to do a better job of listening to women, and to everybody, and to try to make office visits a better place,” she said. “Most people want to do the right things with their bodies, most people are looking to try to get better — and that’s why everybody’s vulnerable.

“I know what it’s like to be there at three in the morning and be so worried and you see something that pops up.… But you know, if the answers were easy … medicine wouldn’t be this hard, I think.”

So what are the best practices when it comes to vaginal health? Gunter says it is usually best to leave it alone. 

If needed, she recommends using an unscented cleanser externally or an unscented moisturizer around the vulva area for dryness. Coconut oil is Gunter’s personal top pick as a moisturizer. 

And if you’re experiencing problems, such as an irregular odour, pain or discomfort, opt to see your doctor.

“I believe information is the vaccine against this kind of stuff,” she said. “And we just have to make getting the right information more attractive than getting the garbage.… I’m just trying to vaccinate women with good, quality information.”

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Crystal meth ‘taking over’ in New Brunswick and detox services can’t keep up

Use of crystal meth, available on the street for as little as $ 5 a hit, is on the rise in the province and those who work on the front lines of addiction say it’s magnifying a lack of detox and rehab services.

“It’s a health crisis,” said Debby Warren, executive director of Ensemble, formerly known as AIDS Moncton.

Warren blames the stigma surrounding addiction for a public health calamity going unchecked.

I don’t want to insult the existing services, but it’s pretty much non-existent, right?– Debby Warren, Ensemble

“I don’t know any health situation where people have to go and prostitute themselves or steal to get their medication,” she said.

“We need decision-makers to step up and look at this situation and what it’s doing to our community.”

A survey last fall by the New Brunswick Community Alliance, which includes AIDS Moncton, AIDS Saint John and AIDS New Brunswick, suggests crystal methamphetamine is gaining popularity across the province.

Interviews were done with 72 people who use the needle exchange programs in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Miramichi.

Aggression, psychotic behaviour

Warren said crystal meth is “really quite scary” for the people who use and for the people around them.

People are injecting, snorting and smoking the powerful stimulant, and Warren and her staff regularly see those under its influence.

While it makes people feel euphoric, crystal meth also has a violent comedown that includes aggression, paranoia and hallucinations. 

Debby Warren, executive director of Ensemble, is calling on decision-makers to improve detox and drug rehabilitation programs. She said the rise in the use of crystal meth is only magnifying the lack of treatment in New Brunswick. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC)

“We’ve had them tell us that they’re fearful for their lives, that there’s someone coming after them,” Warren said. “They hear sounds, they see things, they’re looking at people and they say that they have glowing eyes. Really psychotic.” 

Crystal meth also leaves people unable to sleep. Warren has seen people up for as long as four days straight.

“They get sores because they think they’ve got bugs. So they’re picking at their skin and they’re getting infections on their skin, pulling on their hair, clawing at their faces.”

Cal Maskery, executive director of Harvest House Atlantic, said the majority of people he sees at his shelter are struggling with some kind of addiction. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC)

Cal Maskery also works on the front lines of addiction as executive director of Harvest House Atlantic, which offers an emergency shelter and a long-term, faith-based recovery program.

Maskery said he knew crystal meth was coming but had no idea “how bad it really was.”

“You can see the changes in people because they’re aggressive … never the aggression have we seen.” 

‘You should see what it does to people’

Maskery said the appeal of crystal meth is that it costs just $ 5 to $ 10 per day.

“The two things I’ve heard about it is it’s the cheapest drug out there, but it’s the longest lasting. It can last for up to six to eight hours.”

In the survey by the New Brunswick Community Alliance, one respondent warned, “authorities need to get on top of the crystal meth thing or there’s going to be big problems.”

That person added: “You should see what it does to people. Once someone is on it for six months, they don’t give a damn about anything.”

A survey completed in the fall of 2018 presents a ‘moment-in-time portrait’ of people who use drugs in New Brunswick and shows a sharp increase in crystal meth. (Vanessa Blanch/CBC)

In Miramichi, eight of 12 people in the survey mentioned the influx of crystal meth as the biggest change they had seen.

In Moncton, it was 11 of 20, while in Fredericton it was 15 of 20. In Saint John 13 of 20 respondents said people were moving from smoking crack cocaine to injecting cocaine.

The survey didn’t provide an estimate of the number of people who are using crystal meth but was meant as a “moment in time portrait of people who use drugs in New Brunswick.”

Among the other comments of needle-exchange users:

  • “More and more young people on crystal meth, injecting. It’s the worst drug right now.”
  • “People don’t know what they’re getting with crystal meth. Ninety-five per cent of people who try it once are hooked.”
  • “Crystal meth is taking over the city big time.”

The number of syringes distributed by needle exchange programs in Saint John and Fredericton more than doubled between 2012 and 2017. In Moncton and Miramichi, it more than tripled. (CBC)

CBC News contacted the New Brunswick RCMP but no one has been available to comment on the rise of crystal meth.

In January, RCMP reported an increase in crystal meth around the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border.

At the time, Cpl. David Lane said it’s unclear why it’s showing up, but he added it’s not uncommon for drug traffickers to flood an area with product that proves popular.

Treatment options limited

Warren said the survey findings have been sent to the province to show the need to improve treatment options, especially long-term programs, for people addicted to crystal meth and other drugs.

Bernard Goguen, a consultant with the Department of Health’s addiction and mental health branch, said a short stay in a detoxification centre is the starting point. A stay can last between two and 10 days.

“It really is just to help the person go through the worst of the worst of the withdrawal management and also to provide some information and planning on what are some of the next steps in terms of the person’s treatment and recovery journey,” Goguen said.

RCMP reported a rise in crystal meth around the Nova Scotia-New Brunswick border in January. A hit costs between $ 5 and $ 10, and users say the high can last six to eight hours, the buzz for two days. (David Burke/CBC)

There are 87 detox beds in Edmundston, Campbellton, Tracadie, Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Miramichi.

Wait times range from three to 21 days.

Maskery knows many people who end up on those waiting lists.

“Detox is full,” he said. “It’s really hard to get people into detox because the problem is so out of control.”

He also knows many people who have gone through detox, only to be released without any further support or access to long-term treatment.

“So they’re not fully detoxed when they’re coming out, and if they don’t get into the program, they’re going to turn back to the street level drugs, and it’s just a revolving door.” 

Long-term treatment options limited

For people who want a long-term, residential program, Goguen said there are 24 beds, split between Saint John’s Ridgewood Addictions Services and Campbellton Addiction Services.

The wait ranges from two to six months.

New Brunswick has 24 beds for residential addictions treatment including 12 beds at Ridgewood Addiction Services in Saint John, pictured here. (CBC)

“These are places they can go and receive a more comprehensive psychological, psycho-social treatment that focuses on skill-building, developing coping skills … possibly help them with trauma as well.”

Goguen said changes were made in September 2018 to the Campbellton program in an effort to offer mental health treatment at the same time, tailored to each individual.

“People with substance abuse issues quite often have mental health issues as well,” Goguen said. “So the program in Campbellton is now a more individualized service, and stays range from 30 to 90 days.”

Goguen said it is much different from the old program, where everyone started their treatment on the same day and received the same services.

Bernard Goguen, third from left, at the announcement of the new Campbellton treatment centre that offers individual treatment programs ranging from 30 to 90 days for people with addiction and mental health issues. Also pictured are Gino Mallais, Gaëtane Hachey and Rino Lang of Addiction Services. (Vitalité Health Network)

In addition to the 24 long-term beds, Lonewater Farm, a rehab centre near Grand Bay-Westfield, offers 30 beds for men who want a supportive environment for another three months.

‘Something is really wrong in our society’

Goguen said demand for the 24 beds “has been really high.”

When asked if the province is considering adding more beds, he said it’s a “long process” to look at changes, and there is “lots of competition for resources.”

People are reluctant to come in for services. They fear judgment, they fear scorn, they fear rejection.– Bernard Goguen , Department of Health

To Warren, it is clear that more resources need to be directed to long-term addictions and mental health treatment.

“I don’t want to insult the existing services, but it’s pretty much non-existent, right?”

In a recent survey, 56 of 72 respondents in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton and Miramichi said they use illicit drugs three or more times a day. Sixty of the 72 respondents said they have injected drugs with a needle. (David Ryder/Reuters)

With few options offered by government, Maskery and other faith-based groups in the Maritimes are trying to fill the gap with programs of their own.

In his experience, it takes at least nine months for people to get to the “inner issues or trauma” that are almost always at the root of their addiction.

The extent of drug use, he said, “tells us that something is really wrong in our society.”

Stigma of addiction strong

Goguen and Warren both believe the stigma of addiction is keeping people from asking for help.

“People are reluctant to come in for services,” Goguen said. “They fear judgment, they fear scorn, they fear rejection.”

Nobody chooses this. It’s not a way of life that they choose, and so we need to have services in place.– Debby Warren, Ensemble

Warren said the stigma that surrounds addiction also keeps people from talking about it, and that allows decision makers to ignore the issue.

She has seen many people in desperate need of medical attention avoid the hospital.

“Because one time the nurse looked at her and said, ‘Well maybe next time you’ll think twice before you stick a needle in your arm.'”

She remembers an intravenous drug user who put off going to the emergency room despite a serious infection.

When he arrived at the hospital, the nurse who met him illustrated the impact good health care can have, Warren said.

The nurse said, “‘Hmm, do you inject?’ And he said, ‘Yes.’ And that’s hard to admit because people are going to judge.”

A survey by the New Brunswick Community Alliance recently asked “What is the biggest change you have seen in the drug scene in your city?” The overwhelming response was the increased use of crystal meth. The CBC’s Vanessa Blanch has been looking into the impact of the drug. 10:31

Warren said the nurse then asked to see what kind of shape his veins were in.

“But she also said to him, ‘So what we’re going to do is we’re going to look at your veins and you’re going to save one for me. So if you ever come here and I need to save your life, I have a vein that’s open and ready to receive what I need to do with it.'”

“She validated his life,” Warren said. “Nobody chooses this — it’s not a way of life that they choose, and so we need to have services in place.”

On Wednesday, in part two of CBC New Brunswick’s coverage of the rise of crystal meth, the story of a recovering meth addict who is healing after completing a nine-month rehabilitation program. 

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Kourtney Kardashian Flaunts Her Insane Bikini Body During Post-Breakup ‘Detox’

Single life is working out well for Kourtney Kardashian!

The 39-year-old mother of three took to Instagram on Monday to show off her insane bikini body in a stunning aerial shot as she floated in a small pool of water. In the image, Kourtney is rocking a royal blue two-piece with some very revealing bottoms. She has her head back and looks very relaxed. She simply captioned the photo, “Detox.”

It’s unclear exactly what Kourt is detoxing from, but the Keeping Up With the Kardashians star did just end her two-year romance with model Younes Bendjima.

On Monday, Younes posed inside of a mansion on his own Instagram, writing, “Between art and gangsta, Escobar and Basquiat.”

But things weren’t looking so glamorous for Younes when Bravo star Jax Taylor spotted him at the gym. Jax snapped a sneaky pic of the model sitting behind him at the fitness center, writing: “When Kourtney Kardashian dumps you and you have to slum it like the rest of us at a normal gym. No more Fiji diamond water either. Got to drink that Smart Water now.”

Younes Bendjima and Jax Taylor

Instagram Stories

Shortly after the couple split, photos of Younes and another girl on the beach appeared online, prompting Kourtney’s sisters to clap back at the model. Watch the clip below for more:


Kourtney Kardashian Breaks Down Crying in Group Therapy With Sisters Kim and Khloe

Kylie Jenner Makes Sassy Dig at Kim and Kourtney Kardashian’s ‘KUWTK’ Drama

Sofia Richie Steps Out for Dinner While Scott Disick Parties With Ex Kourtney Kardashian

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