Of all the ways to cope with period pains and discomfort, vacuuming your vagina is perhaps one of the worst things you could do.
Until recently, I was blissfully unaware of the practice of menstrual extraction (ME), a method by which a woman attempts to end her period early by, erm, literally hoovering it out.
Although you might assume people would realise this would be a terrible idea, there are apparently some women who need advising against it.
An unnamed nurse from America has tweeted about the dangers of vacuuming your vagina, warning two women had been admitted to hospital in the space of a week after injuring themselves in this way.
According to the nurse’s tweet, this bizarre method could lead to women ‘sucking out a lot more than blood’:
Ladies…please stop using your vacuum hose to end your period early. You’re gonna wind up sucking out a lot more than blood! There were 2 cases of this so far this week, and both women had to be admitted. Just…STOP!
The nurse added how the women she was referring to ‘used the suction hose to suck out their periods hoping to end them early’ but ended up sending themselves into shock.
The tweet in question quickly went viral, with people expressing shock and horror that such an idea would even cross somebody’s mind.
In my 32 years in this life, i only just heard that some women use "vacuum hose" to "suck out their periods" so as to shorten the length of their menstrual flow 😭😭
So i looked it up. Alas, it has been a thing. Since 1971 😟
— Dr Kelechi Okoro // The Health🔌 (@healthertainer) June 7, 2019
Periods, of course, can be extremely painful, and menstrual health problems are not always taken as seriously as other complaints.
Many women suffer severe dysmenorrhae (menstruation pain) and menorrhagia (heavy blood flow), which lead to them longing for their periods to just be over and done with.
It is perhaps unsurprising how some women would be tempted to attempt to end their periods early, with little thought in the moment as to the further difficulties this would cause.
However, this is not the answer and women with menstrual problems should always seek out medical help to figure out safe solutions.
WHY WOULD YOU PUT A VACUUM HOSE UP YOUR VAGINA TO STOP YOUR PERIOD EARLY?! WHY. WHO TOLD YOU THAT WOULD WORK?
— Arya Stark stan account (@In_A_YamChele) June 5, 2019
ME was used in America in the 1970s as a means of performing at-home abortions before Roe v Wade brought about the right to access safe and legal abortions.
As reported by Earlyabortion.com, an ME device known as a Del-Em was adapted by American feminist activists Carol Downer and Lorraine Rothman in 1971 as a way of shortening a woman’s period or ending an early stage pregnancy.
The Del-Em was made up of a cannula (a thin tube), with a syringe connected to a container with two tubes and worked by creating a ‘vacuum’.
The Del-Em largely fell into obscurity after the introduction of greater reproductive rights. However, according to a 2016 report in Mic, this practice has made a resurgence in recent years, with women using it as a means of sucking out period blood.
I know we all hate having periods cos they can be a bother but using a vacuum in your vagina to end your period isn’t how to go about it🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️🤦🏾♀️….it’s usually 3-7days(if it’s more, then , that’s usually abnormal so get it checked out)!!
— Jem (@Angeley_) June 6, 2019
According to a report by The Sun, it is thought the women who are hoovering their vaginas have confused the idea of creating a vacuum with using a vacuum cleaner.
Obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Shazia Malik told The Sun how women who do this to themselves run the risk of ‘vaginal laceration, damage to the cervix and life-threatening infection from the germs on the hose’.
Women who are suffering from unusually lengthy or painful periods should always consult their GP, and should never resort to taking these sort of risks.
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.