According to Goddess Detox, the company that sells the “goddess vaginal detox pearls,” the product, described as "all-natural herbal vaginal suppositories," are meant to "promote overall womb and vaginal health".
In addition to the claims of improved overall vaginal health, the company also claims that the pearls have helped more than "10,000 women with painful menstrual cramping, detoxing an ex-lover, smelly odour, dryness," getting "back their menstrual cycle after getting off birth control" and "overall vaginal reconnection".
However, according to a court filing made in Broward County, Florida, on Friday, the company’s claims on its website are "false, deceptive and misleading because the product is not safe and because the product cannot provide the claimed benefits".
According to the class action suit, the false claims include the product’s ability to treat infertility, despite not being FDA-approved, and of being safe, as the pearls contain "at least one ingredient that has been recognised as toxic".
The lawsuit also alleges that the product is marketed and advertised as “providing solutions to problems that do not exist”.
According to Dr Gunter, who discussed the pearls in an interview with the CBC, the product, which she described as smelling like “mothballs,” is harmful because the vagina does not need to be detoxed - as it is self-cleaning.
"I think there's a lot of this sort of false idea about what the normal vagina should be like," said Dr Gunter. "You don't need to detox… anything at all. There's nothing in your reproductive tract that needs to be detoxed. Your whole body, you've got liver and kidneys - they take care of that."
The gynaecologist continued: "We know that just douching with water changes your ecosystem enough that it would increase your risk of getting HIV if you’re exposed. That’s just with water."
Dr Gunter refuted the company’s claims that the vagina is "affected by the stress of the world," as well, explaining: "You don't get ill in the way that they're describing from your vagina."
According to Dr Gunter, the most harmful claim made by the product is that it can detox “ex-partners” - which she called “very predatory”.
"I think that's very predatory," she said. "The idea that… there is any kind of remnant in your vagina from sexual trauma is simply not true."
On the Goddess Detox website, a disclaimer reads: “We can not and do not make guarantees on curing any disease or ailment.”
The lawsuit against the company comes after the $33 detox pearls, which are instructed to be inserted into the vaginal canal for up to 48 hours, were banned in Canada last year.
The Independent has contacted Goddess Detox for comment.