Women's Health

Dr. Manny: 'Crystal powers' of Gwyneth Paltrow's jade eggs is fake science news

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 18, 2011.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles September 18, 2011.  (Reuters)

Dear Ms. Paltrow, I hate to burst your Goop bubble, but the idea of vaginal weightlifting is nothing new. In fact, we recently covered jade eggs through the lens of a Tantric Yoga program in Thailand that employs the practice under the guidance of teachers who have more than 30 years of experience. We explored the safe way in which women are taught to lift the 1- to 3.5-ounce weights with their vaginal muscles to strengthen the pelvic floor and aid several health issues like incontinence, post-birth rehabilitation and uterine prolapse.

Some women may suffer a uterine prolapse after a vaginal delivery, wherein the muscles that support the uterus become lax, and the uterus and cervix protrude through the vagina. This condition can lead to uterine leakage, painful intercourse, constipation and even frequent urinary infections. Kegel exercises are often advised as part of a non-surgical method to help strengthen the pelvic floor to prevent such an injury and help with recovery. A device like a jade egg could help in this situation, but only under the guidance of a physician.

Paltrow’s website flaunts jade eggs as a way to “harness the power of energy work, crystal healing,” and that, my friends, is what I’m going to refer to as fake science news. There’s no scientific proof that simply because jade eggs are made using gems that hormonal balance is restored to the uterus once they’re used, but admitting that wouldn’t make for good advertising on the Goop website. The website is hawking Shiva Rose’s Rose Quartz & Jade Eggs for $55-66, and includes a Q&A with Shiva, where she raves about the gems’ “incredible clearing, cleansing powers.”

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Among the benefits listed are: sexual energy, increased orgasm, balancing the cycle, stimulating key reflexology around vaginal walls, tightening and toning, prevented uterine prolapse, increase in control of the whole perineum bladder, developed and clear chi pathways in the body, intensified feminine energy and invigorated life force. Some of those physical benefits are true, but then Shiva goes on to  claim that “jade creates kidney strength— it’s known as jing in Chinese energy, and it’s all about sexual potency and even beauty— if your hormones are balanced, your skill will look better.”

Look, nobody has to stick a jade egg up their vagina to get clear skin. I am all for ancient medicine and I love the benefits of yoga, but just because a jade egg is made of a gem does not mean you become the ultimate Zen master.

Navigating the world of health is complicated enough for a patient, and adding celebrity endorsements usually just brings more confusion. I would even go so far as to say that, in some cases, the unsolicited advice of unqualified, often paid-for endorsement of a product by a celebrity can endanger a patient’s life. A 2012 class-action lawsuit against reality TV stars Khloe and Kim Kardashian is just one other example of what can happen when celebrities plug medically unsound products that don’t do what their endorsers say they will.

Indeed, Paltrow’s endorsement of the jade egg is not so different from another scientific hoax she was hawking not too long ago: vaginal steaming. Now, I’m always critical of celebrities who go out on a limb for products they simply do not understand, and Paltrow is a repeat offender.

Rather than blindly follow the inexpert celebrities they admire, I would encourage our readers interested in purchasing a jade egg for medical reasons to consult their physician for a full medical workup to address any issues they may be having before attempting an at-home remedy.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's senior managing health editor. He also serves as chairman of the department of obstetrics/gynecology and reproductive science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey. For more information on Dr. Manny's work, visit AskDrManny.com.