African women risk STDs, death, trying to wash back virginity with Alum stone

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In Cameroon, and parts of Nigeria France 24 reports that women are willing to risk anything for a seemingly tighter vagina, or regaining their virginity. Alum stone, an astringent used in cosmetics that some African women hope will return their vagina to its original pre sex state. They grind the alum stone, mix it with water and other times lime to wash their vagina. Some believe that it tightens their vaginal opening.

The truth how ever is that use of alum stone can kill. The chemicals from the ground stone when used repeatedly break down the vaginal walls and make women more susceptible to Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Use of the “virginity stone” is most common about muslim, and Hausa women, or communities where women face scrutiny, and pressure to stay virgins until marriage.

A doctor who worked in Cameroon in 2010 had this to say about the Alum stone, and how its affects on the vaginas of the women he has treated:

In general, women should not put any products in their vaginas, since vaginas have a self-cleaning mechanism. Alum stone destroys the vaginal flora that helps protect women from sexually transmitted diseases. Moreover, because the stone’s powder has the consistency of sand, it inevitably provokes irritations, which can lead to serious cases of vaginitis. Finally, if a woman uses alum stone regularly, it will cause the vagina walls to become rigid, and they can then tear when they give birth. This technique should absolutely not be used.

Source: France 24

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