CBSN

Doctors warn against Gwyneth Paltrow's advice on vaginal jade eggs

Gwyneth Paltrow at a 2014 event in Dallas, Texas for her blog “Goop.” The lifestyle website frequently includes health and wellness advice from the actress.

Layne Murdoch Jr./Getty Images

Gwyneth Paltrow is at it again. The actress and founder of the lifestyle publication Goop is no stranger to doling out controversial and unproven health advice. In the past, her site has touted the benefits of vaginal steaming to “cleanse” the uterus and told readers that wearing bras causes cancer. In both instances, experts were quick to point out that there is no scientific evidence to back up those claims.

Now, Paltrow has some new advice to women: put jade eggs in your vagina for “better sex” and “overall well-being.”

In a post titled “Better Sex: Jade Eggs for Your Yoni,” Goop informs readers that jade eggs were used by “queens and concubines… to stay in shape for emperors” and are “ideal for detox.”

“Fans say regular use increases chi, orgasms, vaginal muscle tone, hormonal balance, and feminine energy in general,” the post continues.

The eggs sell for $66 and are currently sold out, according to the Goop website.

But doctors are warning that the health claims Paltrow’s site are making are unsubstantiated and the eggs may even pose some health risks.

“I read the post on GOOP and all I can tell you is it is the biggest load of garbage I have read on your site since vaginal steaming,” Dr. Jen Gunter wrote in a scathing open letter to Paltrow.

Gunter, who is an OB-GYN for Kaiser Permanente in San Francisco, also says the claim that the jade eggs can balance hormones is “quite simply, biologically impossible.”

“Pelvic floor exercises can help with incontinence and even give stronger orgasms for some women, but they cannot change hormones,” she continues. “As for female energy? I’m a gynecologist and I don’t know what that is!?”

Gunter also emphasizes the potential health risks associated with the vaginal use of jade eggs.

“As for the recommendation that women sleep with a jade egg in their vaginas I would like to point out that jade is porous which could allow bacteria to get inside and so the egg could act like a fomite” — an object capable of harboring or transmitting an infectious agent. This, she writes, “could be a risk factor for bacterial vaginosis or even the potentially deadly toxic shock syndrome.”

Dr. Christine Greves, an obstetrician and gynecologist at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies at Orlando Health, points out that there is no scientific evidence that would lead her to believe that these eggs are either safe or effective for women.

“Given that these jade eggs are not FDA-approved and there are no medical studies that can support [these claims] I could not recommend this to any of my patients,” she told CBS News.

Greves also notes that “detoxing” the vagina – whether that’s by douching or other means – is not needed or recommended.

“If a woman has certain complaints with her vagina, there is a foul smell or she has abnormal discharge, she needs to see a doctor because she may have an infection that needs treatment,” she said.

The article on Goop’s does contain a disclaimer at the end, stating:

The views expressed in this article intend to highlight alternative studies and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of goop, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Experts urge all women to consult with their doctor before using such products or if they are having difficulties with sex.

“If a woman is needing assistance with orgasm, see your doctor and ask questions,” Greves said. “A provider can help you figure out what is causing the difficulty and help you come up with some safe alternatives.”

  • Ashley Welch On Twitter»

    Ashley Welch covers health and wellness for CBSNews.com