An OB-GYN Details the Dangers of Kourtney Kardashian-Barker's Lemme Purr Gummies
Dr. Rebecca Nelken unpacks the trend of “improving” your vulva’s smell and taste.
On a quest to provide femmes with the sexual wellness they deserve, Kourtney Kardashian-Barker released a new product from her wellness brand lemme.purr gummies, aimed for vaginal health and support. According to vaginal health brand Evvy‘s board-certified OB-GYN and female pelvic surgeon Dr. Rebecca Nelken, Kardashian-Barker has the right idea but may be causing more harm than good.
lemme purr hit the market at the top of 2023 featuring a new commercial with Kardashian-Barker surrounded by cats — very on brand for the item. The product claims to support your vaginal wellness with A1 ” taste, odor and freshness, complete with pineapple extract for added sweetness,” via clinically-studied probiotics.
However, Dr. Nelken revealed the product operates through a loophole that femmes could miss if not thoroughly reading the products and research. Of course, we’ve interviewed Dr. Nelken to give you the quick rundown.
Here’s the tea on lemme purr and vaginal wellness, from an OB-GYN.
1. What “should” a vulva smell and taste like?
There is no should. Each person’s vagina will smell a little different. The smell and taste of a vulva will be affected by the vaginal discharge as well as any sweat and bacteria present on the skin.
Healthy vaginal discharge, in menstruating people, typically has an acidic pH of around 4-4.5 so it will have an acidic taste. The smell and taste can change based on the time of the cycle and will also be different after menopause and before menarche. Smell and taste can also be affected by diet and meds, especially antibiotics or hormonal meds, STDs, or the presence of semen and even stress. There have even been shown to be regional variations.
2. What are the dangers of using these supplements without a doctor’s prescription?
Kardashian is right in saying that vaginal health is not talked about enough, and I applaud her for wanting to engage in the conversation. But we must be careful not to pathologize normal vaginas.
These gummies are marketed to “target vaginal microbiome health and pH levels to support freshness and odor.” A healthy vagina smells exactly as it is meant to and does not require “support.” A change in your normal vaginal discharge color, volume or smell could be a sign of an underlying dysbiosis [imbalance], infection or even worse. The danger would be in using these to treat something without actually getting checked or tested.
The probiotic used in this gummy, SNZ 1969, has been studied for gut health, but I have not seen any data to support its use for vaginal health.
3. What’s the vaginal microbiome and how do supplements like these affect it?
The Microbiome is the vagina’s ecosystem. It is made up of healthy bacteria dominated by lactobacilli which produce lactic acid. This is why the pH of a healthy menstrual-age vagina is acidic. This can vary from person to person, and even within the same person depending on where they are in their menstrual cycle.
4. Are any vaginal supplements like these truly “safe?”
Lactobacillus probiotics are generally regarded as safe. There is promising data to support the use of certain probiotic strains (L Crispatus) for prevention of BV in people who are predisposed to frequent infections, and even as adjunctive treatment of BV, used in combination with antibiotics. That said, there are still many unanswered questions such as what is the best strain and is it better to administer these orally or vaginally. Larger trials are still needed to answer these questions.