Monday, July 17, 2006
Lime juice does not belong in your vagina
I attended a Grand Rounds Seminar on Friday presented by Dr. Sharon Hillier, a professor of OB/GYN and molecular genetics and biochemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. The talk was on microbicide development to prevent transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

Microbicides are the underdog of HIV research right now, however, trials are moving along quite successfully.

With an effective vaccine being many years away, microbicides for both vaginal and anal intercourse, are the best hope for thousands of women around the world that have little say about how and when they are going to have sex. Various microbicides are in the pipeline right now.

But you say, Faith, what about the lime juice?

Well, for quite a while, we humans have known that the ph of the vagina is about a 4 - a pretty acidic ph level. In order for HIV to survive, it needs to be in an environment at a more neutral ph - like in semen, which is about a 7.

So, to kill HIV we would need to raise the ph level. How would we do that? It seems pretty logical that more acidity would raise the ph levels in the vagina, thereby making it an inhospitable environment for HIV.

There is a problem however. Your vagina is just fine the way it is. If you add acidity to it, you are likely to get ulcerations, thereby making the vagina far more susceptible to HIV infection. Dilute the lime juice, you say? Sure, making the vagina less likely to ulcerate and the microbicidal properties ineffective.

By the way, just in case you haven't heard -- the spermicide, nonoxynol-9, not so safe either. It's a detergent and also tends to cause damage to the vaginal and rectal mucosa.

There are a few lessons here.

1) Just because it's natural doesn't necessarily mean it's good for you.

2) Safe and effective microbicides are just around the corner. In fact, there may be some available to go on the market in 2007.

3) Also, your vagina and rectum are marvelous little microenvironments that care for themselves properly most of the time. You don't really need to do anything to keep them functioning. Therefore, for the most part, unless your doctor says it's ok, don't put substances in your vagina or rectum that don't belong there.

For more information about microbicide research go to


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Blogger Uccellina said...

I think on Saturday I sunburned everything but my vagina.

Blogger MonkeyGurrrrrl said...

If Ucc had sunburned her va-jay-jay, I'd be seriously concerned.

I tried the new J-in-the-Box Acapulco Salad. It was okay. It came with to micro lime wedges (which curiously combines both your lime juice, and your microbicides.

Blogger Elizabeth McClung said...

Definately this month's winner for most arresting title to a blog - have to say though that the story of drinking margaritas or snorting lime out of the vagina did not emerge - drat! Very interesting stuff though - particularly about spermicides - have they run a spermacide HIV study similar to the Swedish study on condomn use?

Blogger Faith said...

Actually, Dr. Hillier did mention putting margarita mix in one's vagina several times but I thought, hmmm...that might confuse the actual message.

There are actually a bunch of N-9 studies. The best one is Phillips, David M., et al., 2000. "Nonoxynol-9 causes exfoliation of sheets of rectal epithelium," Contraception 62(3): 149–145

Blogger WineGrrl said...

That just sounds itchy!

Love, Andree

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