Katrina Clarke | March 14 | CBC Life
If a Kansas chiropractor has his way, you could soon seal your labia shut.
Mensez is an in-the-works product that looks like a tube of lipstick and is applied to the labia minora. According to the Mensez website, the amino acids and natural oils in the formula would temporarily seal the labia shut, preventing menstrual blood from leaking out until the seal breaks due to contact with urine or soap.
It’s not yet on the market, but women’s and sexual health experts are already blasting it.
“My very first reaction was it reminded me of female genital cutting,” said Lyba Spring, a sexual health educator in Toronto, explaining that in some cases of female genital cutting, the labia are sewn together. While Mensez is a temporary sealant, the thought of sealing the labia disturbed her.
Lyba said the product could potentially harm women and that she suspects the creator doesn’t understand how women’s bodies work.
Dr. Jen Gunter, a Canadian-trained obstetrician-gynecologist in San Francisco, also criticized Mensez last month in a blog post titled “Gluing your labia shut during your period is a bad idea.”
“This dude wants us to believe he has invented a miracle skin sealant that is magically reversible with urine, but not blood or sweat and can withstand a significant amount of friction,” Gunter wrote. “Ha ha ha ha. There is no Post-it Note labial glue.”
Gunter also raised concerns about the product causing abrasions, which could result in labial adhesion, or fused labia, requiring surgery to separate. She also questioned if a “perfect seal” would be possible, pointing out that not every woman’s labia covers their internal bits. Additionally, it could be extremely painful if a woman sat down and the adhesive prevented the skin from stretching, she said.
But Dr. Dan Dopps, the man behind Mensez, defends his concept.
“Mensez lipstick will help make periods invisible for those women that want a better solution. No more inserting tampon(s),” he wrote in an email for this story.
In response to Gunter’s concerns, he said Mensez is “not likely” to cause abrasions or micro cuts. Menzez “is not a glue” but an adhesive that enhances natural attraction between mucus membranes to form a seal, he said. “It will seal tightly enough to contain the blood, perspiration and secretions. None of which will dissolve the seal and there should not be any sensation of pulling or stretching to the woman with her normal movements and activities.”
Dopps said no gynecologist has worked directly with the product to date, but he plans to involve gynecologists later in the development process.
Some health experts, including Spring, question if Mensez might be a joke, but Dopps has a patent and said he is confident the product will meet FDA regulations and pass clinical trials.
Spring doubts that.
“It’ll never make it to market. Are you kidding me?” she said.
Spring acknowledges that there’s sometimes immediate, unwarranted rejection of new menstrual hygiene products due to an ick factor – for instance, some women still feel uncomfortable using tampons or menstrual cups – but the concern about using Mensez is not unwarranted, she said.
“It’s clearly potentially damaging to women’s bodies,” she said.
Dopps disagrees, calling Mensez “elegant” and insisting his work is innovative.
“Gynocologist (sic) are trained to think inside of their little box and therefor they did not develop this idea,” he said. “But everyone knows that innovation comes from thinking outside of the box.”