It may work, but it’s not always safe to do (Picture: Getty Images)
Another day, another TikTok trend that experts advise against.
This time around it’s ‘splinting’, which became popular after TikToker @ambrosialicewf posted a video where she explains the technique.
In the video she asks people to duet with reasons they’re grateful to have a vagina, before saying: ‘I’ll go first. You know when you’re on the toilet and you’re struggling to go for a P-O-O?’ She then points her thumb to the camera, saying ‘But then you’re just like [push thumb forward] and then it’s fine.’
After people questioned what she meant, she explained that she puts her thumb into her vagina, then pushes towards the back of the vaginal wall.
Alice said she’d hear a ‘pop’ before her constipation was relieved. And that’s splinting.
Doctors and vaginal health experts, however, are saying that it’s not wise to start splinting every time you use the loo.
Stephanie Taylor, Managing Director of Kegel8 says: ‘I’d recommend women proceed with caution before inserting anything up their vaginas to relieve themselves as getting bacteria from your faeces in the vagina is not pleasant and could result in bacterial vaginosis.
‘If you are to try this technique, ensure hands are freshly washed before inserting, as unclean hands can spread bacteria and upset the natural flora. Secondly, ensure that your thumb is lubricated, as any type of penetration without it can cause friction and irritation to the vaginal walls.’
It’s not just vaginal health that may be affected by the insertion of a dirty finger, either. Dr Shree Datta gynaecologist for intimate wellbeing brand INTIMINA claims that persistent constipation may be a sign of something more sinister, and this technique is just a sticking plaster.
Dr Datta tells Metro.co.uk: ‘It can be useful if you feel that you have not completely emptied your rectum after a bowel movement. Constipation can cause vaginal wall weakness and prolapse – specifically a rectocele (a herniation of the front wall of the rectum into the back wall of the vagina) – as can being overweight or having a long-standing cough.
‘Childbirth and heavy lifting can also have an impact on the strength of your pelvic floor muscles and vaginal walls.
‘Whilst digitisation (using your finger) is a potentially short-term solution, treating constipation is key as this may otherwise make the pelvic floor and vaginal wall muscles weaker in the longterm.’
Dr Datta advises speaking to a gynaecologist and surgeon to treat any pelvic floor issues which may be causing your constipation.
She adds: ‘This could require MRI imaging, along with physiotherapy, treatment of constipation and surgery. In some cases, you may also be assessed for a pessary. It’s worth consulting your doctor as you may develop other symptoms of prolapse, including the sensation of a lump coming out of your vagina, or urinary incontinence.’
Anything different in your toilet habits, from regular constipation to an increased need to go (or if your stool looks different to normal) should be checked out by a doctor.
In the meantime, eating more fibre and drinking plenty of water can go some way to alleviating symptoms.
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