No, Don't Leap On That TikTok Trend: Kitty Drinks
Ah, TikTok: home of corn memes, dance crazes and now so-called ‘kitty drinks’. Shaken, stirred and sipped in the homes of Gen Z users all over the world, these dubious drinks will allegedly will help you have better vaginal health and ‘better tasting’ vaginal fluid. As with any TikTok health trend, it's wise to take a curious stance and examine the scientific fact behind the fad before you join the hashtag...
Before co-founding HANX, Dr Sarah Welsh worked in NHS gynaecology and obstetrics wards, so there’s no one better to ask for the truth behind the trend.
What is a Vaginal Health Drink?
Put simply, a vaginal health drink is a juice cleanses or drink recipes designed to ‘keep your pum pum fresh’. From pineapple and ginger juice to apple cider vinegar, these concoctions supposedly make your natural lubricant taste and smell 'better'. Nicknamed 'kitty drinks' or '🐱 drinks' to get around that pesky TikTok censorship policy, you'll often find them touted in your feed as a must-have for influencers to imbibe ahead of a hot date.
Do Kitty Drinks work?
Over to Dr Sarah to break down this juicy topic, starting with the ingredients most commonly used in these drinks:
“First things first: the ingredients in some of the drinks in the TikTok videos can have a positive effect on your vaginal and intimate health. There have been studies that show compounds in cranberries could help balance the vaginal pH level. The acidic property of cranberry can also help fight bacteria that cause infections, such as urinary tract infections (UTIs). However, it’s important to drink 100% cranberry juice, not the sweetened juices, and if you do have an infection, cranberries will not cure this. ”
Apple Cider Vinegar
“The acidic properties of apple cider vinegar mean some women drink or bathe in it if they are struggling with their vaginal pH and bacterial vaginosis (BV) However, looking at the research overall, there is no strong evidence to support the health benefits of apple cider vinegar.”
“Some believe that pineapple juice affects the taste of vaginal secretions. There is a certain amount of truth behind this: eating certain foods can affect the natural pH and smell of your bodily secretions, including your vaginal secretions. However, this is only one aspect of many (such as your general wellbeing), and the effects are over a long period of time. Therefore, eating or drinking certain foods right before sex, for example, will not make an immediate difference. That being said, pineapples are high in Vitamins A and C, and many minerals, so they support healthy immune and digestive systems.”
So, Should I Try Out Vaginal Health Drinks?
Not so fast. When scrolling through these videos, you’ll often see TikTok users drizzling honey or sugar syrups into their drinks - and that’s just the tip of the sugary iceberg. There are also a lot of naturally occurring sugars in fruit juice, which can be detrimental to your general health, as well as vaginal health, if you consume too much. Sipping on a viral kitty drink every day could lead to excess sugars in your diet and predispose you to vaginal thrush - the exact opposite of the intended effect.
In fact, Dr Sarah suggests taking a holistic view of your health, rather than focusing solely on your vagina.
“The health of your vagina is a reflection of your overall health and wellbeing. Your diet is a part of this, however, drinking these so-called “vaginal detox” drinks, is not going to make a huge difference in the long-term. What’s important is that you stay healthy in terms of intimate hygiene, diet, exercise, and sexual health.”
No, You Don’t Need To Detox Your Vagina
TikTok trends capture the imagination, with people excited to feel part of the ‘cool club’. However, when it comes to vaginal health, social media content often preys on stigma around our bodies. Vaginal odour and taste are frequently held up to impossible standards, with negative tropes about 'fishiness' contributing to angst and shame around our natural discharge and odours.
There’s a huge misconception that the vagina’s scent and taste should be romantically floral or artificially fresh - but that’s not realistic, or healthy. Every vagina has a unique eco-system of bacteria, known as the vaginal microbiome. When the natural pH of the vagina is disrupted, this can cause ‘bad’ bacteria to grow, which can develop into infections such as BV.
Ultimately, our number one most important piece of advice is this: your vagina is self-cleaning, so it’s important to give it space and avoid irritating it unnecessarily. That means:
- No scented perfumes, washes, or internal soaps should be used, as these can disrupt the vaginal balance meaning you are susceptible to an overgrowth of ‘bad’ bacteria and likely to get infections (such as bacterial vaginosis).
- Wearing natural fabric underwear, such as undyed cotton or bamboo can also reduce moisture and irritation, which helps prevent infections such as thrush.
- Staying healthy in general also helps maintain a healthy discharge, such as ensuring you exercise, drink plenty of water, eat healthily, and keep stress to a minimum.
- Make sure you use condoms with new sexual partners or if there is a risk of sexually transmitted infections.
- If you have any concerns with your vaginal health or discharge, make sure you speak with your doctor or sexual health clinic.
- Keep up with us on TikTok as we tackle UTIs, reveal our kinks and test the durability of our condoms.