WOMEN are now applying tobacco powder and other tobacco related products on their private parts in the belief that it shrinks their genitals, increase sexual pleasure and raises the odds of getting pregnant.
By Michael Gwarisa
The practice of applying tobacco to the lady parts is now popular in most West African countries and has also spread to other African countries including Zimbabwe. Tobacco or “miracle recipe” as it is now called in West African countries “increases sexual pleasure tenfold” or “sends a man into the seventh heaven” and this belief is widely shared between women.
Speaking to HealthTimes, Director Family Health in the Ministry of Health and Child Care (MoHCC), Dr Benard Madzima said the inserting of objects of any kind inside the vagina exposes women to dire consequences.
Applying tobacco or inserting any other objects inside the vagina is dangerous. It’s a dangerous risk on not only infections but cancer as well. Women should not do it,” said Dr Madzima
According to scide.net, experts in female reproductive systems warned that it was myth that vaginal tobacco has therapeutic properties.
Abdoulaye Diop, a gynaecologist-obstetrician in Dakar Senegal believes the product could be giving users the sensation that their genitals are shrinking, due to the reflex retraction of the vaginal muscles when in contact with its chemical components.
“However, this feeling is transient and misleading, because the vaginal mucosa that is attacked will eventually develop changes that are the gateway to cancer.
“These products often create ulcers which, by scarring, shrink the vagina, make it hard and can go so far as to close it completely. It can even make the normal flow of menstruation impossible.”
The use of vaginal tobacco has also been linked to the rise in fatal birth complications in some cases. Aminata Seck, a midwife stationed in Sédhiou, says that she has seen complications during childbirth due to this use of tobacco.
“They had too great an increase in the rate of uterine contractions, which sometimes caused a decrease in oxygenation in the fetus, resulting in stillbirth or, in other cases, neonatal death,” she explains.
These anecdotes would seem to marry with the findings of a study on the impact of smoking on female genitals, published in January 2018 in the British journal Scientific Reports. The study found that smoking changes vaginal flora and that these changes put women who smoke at a high risk of vaginal infections.
“These risks should be higher in women who put tobacco directly in contact with their vaginal and cervical mucosa,” deduces Diop. “This area is very sensitive and attacking it with a product made of tobacco and soda is completely suicidal.”
This opinion is shared by Foumane, who believes that the link between tobacco use and cervical cancer is quite plausible. “Tobacco is indeed a well-documented carcinogen,” the gynaecology expert says. “The risk of cervical cancer seems to us all the