Your patients might be using vaginal gummies thanks to Kourtney Kardashian

By Lisa Marie Basile | Fact-checked by Barbara Bekiesz
Published February 28, 2023

Key Takeaways

  • Reality star Kourtney Kardashian's new supplement, Purr, says it was designed to support vaginal health, but limited science supports its claims.

  • The vagina is self-cleaning and doesn’t require special supplements, according to some experts.

  • Products like Purr may be sending harmful messages about body image.

A new gummy claiming to support vaginal health has hit the market, brought to buyers by Lemme, a brand headed up by Kourtney Kardashian of Keeping Up With The Kardashians fame. Lemme is, as Kardashian says, “a new line of vitamin and botanical supplements I've created to become a divine part of your everyday life.”[]

Given Kardashian’s 214 million followers, there’s a good chance that your patients may see advertisements for her brand—and wonder if it’s for them. 

The product, Purr, aims to support pH levels, vaginal health, vaginal freshness, vaginal microflora, and vaginal odor. Its active ingredients are 1 billion CFUs of Bacillus coagulans SNZ 1969 (B. coagulans SNZ 1969)—a spore-forming and highly resilient bacteria—along with 20 mg ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and 100 mg ananas comosus (pineapple powder).[]

A closer look at Purr’s ingredients

B. coagulans SNZ 1969 is an FDA-GRAS proprietary strain developed by Sanzyme Biologics. According to the National Library of Medicine, B. coagulans is generally used to help patients with constipation or irritable bowel syndrome, although “there is no good scientific evidence” for its use for other conditions such as diarrhea or gas.[]

Kimberly Langdon, MD, who specializes in gynecologic diseases, says, “There are few studies to suggest probiotics can help vaginal health, except perhaps in the case of bacterial vaginosis (BV).”

For example, researchers writing in Reproductive Health[] found that probiotics may be an adjuvant treatment to other therapies, like antibiotics, for BV. However, the researchers stated that more research is critical. In another study[], those with BV who took both metronidazole along with B. coagulans SNZ 1969 did show improvement (at 86.6%) over those who just took metronidazole. 

A word of warning is in order if your patients are already taking probiotics for vaginal health or other reasons: Langdon suggests physicians “make sure [patients] can withstand the stomach acid.” 

What about vitamin C? There are some associated health benefits for vaginal health in certain cases. For example, there’s evidence that 250 mg (much higher than the 20 mg included in Purr) of vitamin C tablets, vaginally placed, may be associated with improved vaginal microflora. However, it’s not tolerated by every patient and may lead to some side effects.[]

Daria Seelin, MBA, NBC-HWC, IAHC, offered her opinion on Purr's low doses of ingredients. Seelin is a board-certified health and wellness coach, with a concentration in integrative nutrition and hormone health who also specializes in hormones and women’s health. The Purr gummies’ low dosage of both vitamin C and pineapple powder aren't likely to make much of an impact, she believes.

Her suggestion? Remind patients looking to support their vaginal health to eat vitamin C–whole rich foods, like berries and bell peppers. In fact, research has shown that a healthy diet can benefit vaginal microflora, whereas a poor diet can negatively affect it.[]

Langdon is also not sure patients need to take vitamins specifically to support their vaginal health. “Nothing is out about vitamins except to say that most people could use the usual suspects—such as vitamin D, C, B complex, zinc,” she says.  

As for pineapple to enhance vaginal taste or odor, a Google search will tell you that this is a widespread and persistent myth. There’s no real science to back this up.[] 

The problem with Purr and products like it

The thing is, as Seelin says, “Nature is very smart, and it actually doesn't need any special tools to improve what's healthy and functioning. Lots of studies show that the vagina produces mucus that helps to wash out any potentially harmful organisms and keep the balance of the good ones. It also controls [its own] pH levels.” 

Plenty of products promise to improve vaginal odor, but vaginal odor[] is generally very normal.[] And it’s different in every human, owing largely to the presence of healthy, necessary bacteria and sweat. Seelin says that even some of the products promising to do away with odor can end up contributing to it by disturbing the vagina’s natural pH level. 

“A healthy vagina shouldn't have an odor besides its own special and unique smell,” Seelin explains. The important point, she says, is for patients to understand that living an unhealthy lifestyle—with poor nutrition, poor sleep, and stress—can cause health issues that affect the vagina.

"A gummy likely won’t fix those deeper lifestyle issues."

Daria Seelin, MBA, NBC-HWC, IAHC

Some experts believe there is a societal preoccupation with vaginal cleanliness that is rooted in misogyny.

People with vaginas are aware of these attitudes, according to Lisa Lawless, Ph.D., a psychotherapist specializing in clinical psychology, relationships, sexual health, and nutrition; she is the founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Science & Art in Sexuality. People often struggle with worries about their bodies’ being good enough, she says.

“Marketing these products can reinforce harmful patriarchal attitudes by suggesting that individuals need to change the taste or smell of their genitals to be desirable,” she states. “Women and others with vulvas often struggle with body image issues related to their genitals due to societal influences rooted in patriarchal and misogynistic messages. Most everything is presented in terms of appealing to heterosexual men.” 

She suggests that physicians have an open and honest chat with patients about products like Purr, exploring both their ingredients’ efficacy and their messaging. “Healthcare providers should provide realistic, fact-based practical tips for self-care and hygiene on ways to maintain a healthy balance of vaginal bacteria without resorting to harmful or unnecessary products,” she says. “Essentially, by dispelling myths and marketing hype, we can help with keeping things real.”

While Purr likely won’t harm a patient, Seelin doesn’t think it’s helpful, either. “I would say that Purr is another product that doesn't bring as much benefit as it claims to. It shows you a beautiful picture and offers beautiful words, but in reality, it's something nature has already managed.”

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