Vaginal elasticity: Alum to the rescue?
Sacha Walters-Gregory, Flair Writer
Many dancehall songs lament the pleasure derived from a woman with "the tightness", the sexual prowess she wields with the tightness of her vagina.
On the flip side, the woman who doesn't possess this tightness is often ridiculed in popular music. According to Dr Errol Daley consultant obstetrician/gynaecologist, the variation in the elasticity of the vagina from one woman to the next is a legitimate issue for many women.
He explained that the elastic tissue in the vagina of one woman might not be able to bounce back as well as another's. Daley compared the varying elasticity to different qualities of underwear.
"Whenever you buy Marks and Spencer underwear you'll wear them and they never stretch out. You have to get tired of them and stop wearing them. You have some elastic tissue that is like another brand of panty and it stretches out easily," he said.
This can result after birth or during the regular course of a woman's sexual life.
"What the women complain about is that they can't feel anything during sex," he said, hence decreasing the pleasure she experiences during intercourse.
Alum to the rescue
Some women turn to over-the-counter products to help shrink the vagina. Alum, which is a product often highlighted in popular music as a product women who don't possess this power naturally, have to use.
One downtown Kingston drugstore owner said, while alum has numerous other uses, it is used by women after childbirth to help shrink the vagina to its normal size. For others, going through childbirth is not the issue.
"Some women have a naturally large vagina and they're uncomfortable with it," said the store owner, who preferred not to give his name. He explained that they either make a douche by dissolving the product in water or squat over a tub of the product diluted in warm water.
Admittedly, he said he's heard some young women say they use it to shrink the opening of their vagina, especially if they want to keep their partners satisfied or reinstate the opening to its original size after having multiple partners that they don't want their partner to know about.
He said, while people "are not lining up to buy it", it's purchased with the average frequency of any other product, but he could not attest to what people were using it for.
It's sold from $100 upwards in quantities ranging from 1/4 to a pound of the powder, crystal, or rock form.
However, Dr Daley said this is a practice that should be discouraged.
"You should never ever use alum in the vagina," he said. "It's a very irritating substance to the vaginal lining. It's not good for the vagina. It scars it," he said.
Alum is a chemical product generally soluble in hot water and is usually a white crystalline powder. It has various uses which include use in water-purification plants, as a binder in dyeing fabric, in pickling, in baking powder, in fire extinguishers, and as astringents in medicine.
However, Dr Daley said women do have safe options where it comes on to tightening the vagina. First is to practice the Kegel exercises which strengthen the pelvic floor and prevent the vagina from losing its elasticity from the outset.
This is the same action one uses to stop urine. Daley explained that squeezing and holding for three seconds and releasing for another three seconds. This should be done for 15 minutes, twice per day.
Surgical options are also available for women who need it. A minor in-office procedure can be conducted to tighten the vagina, which is fairly simple, according to Daley.
More serious cases such as vaginal prolapse can occur where the uterus, rectum, bladder, urethra, small bowel, or the vagina can begin to fall out of their normal positions until they start protruding out of the vagina.
These require major surgery to be repaired.