Study proposal: The Effects of Mud Wrestling on the Female Urogenital Tract
May 24, 2007 2:02 PM   Subscribe

How do women who mud wrestle or take regular mud baths (esp. naked, say at a spa) avoid getting mud in their, er, orifices—or do they avoid it?

Would tampons be useful in preventing such an occurrence? Or is that even necessary?

And if mud is allowed into the vagina or anus, does that lead to an increased incidence of infection (whether by yeast or bacteria)? How would one go about (or, ladies, how have you gone about) preventing such resultant infections? And do spas have problems with the transmission of such infections in their mud baths?

I've found an abstract from a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association that found a greater incidence of pustular follicular dermatitis outbreaks among mud-wrestling college students (no joke) at the University of Washington in Seattle—but that doesn't speak to the question of vaginal, anal or urethral irritation stemming from prolonged mud exposure.

(And yes, this is a serious question, I promise—the topic came up during a conversation I was party to a while back about, well, vaginal irritation/infections. Fun stuff, huh?)
posted by limeonaire to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Vulvas and buttocks help.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:21 PM on May 24, 2007

Don't know about wrestling, but the one time I took a mud bath (at a spa), it was not a problem. Those areas of the body are not like ears - unless your anatomy is very unusual, they are not wide open and unprotected by flaps or sphincters
posted by rtha at 2:27 PM on May 24, 2007

Response by poster: [[nods]] I thought of that. But they couldn't keep everything out...I wouldn't figure. I know they don't in, for instance, the swimming pool or bath.
posted by limeonaire at 2:27 PM on May 24, 2007

Yeah, it's just a lovely or scary male fantasy or nightmare that vaginas are just wide open and available to all entrants. You pretty much have to push to get anything in there, under normal physical circumstances.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:29 PM on May 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

I, uh...

You could ask the same question about the water at the beach.

You wouldn't, though, because it would be silly. It doesn't just float in there, and...

No, a tampon wouldn't seal anything off.

On preview:

"I know they don't in, for instance, the swimming pool or bath."


Are you thinking vaginas fill up with water in the tub? I am thoroughly confused.

(And sort of depressed about general knowledge of female anatomy, having just tried to find something useful via a Google image search, and having hit on a lot of results for Britney Spears' "vagina.")
posted by kmennie at 2:30 PM on May 24, 2007

Wait, what? I've been in many a swimming pool and I take a bath daily instead of a shower. I have a vagina. Water doesn't get in there unless I, uh, put it in there. And once I put something there, it doesn't float freely on up to my cervix, continuing onward til my future children could be born spitting it out.

The vagina's quite muscular (RRR!), and in the event something enters the lower part of it, I have to think muscles and secretions will normally prevent further travel, and would probably, in fact, eventually send it back out.

Wow, I'm talking about my vagina on the 'net again. Hi, Mom!
posted by houseofdanie at 2:34 PM on May 24, 2007 [10 favorites]

Oh, and the vagina and the urethra are TWO SEPARATE holes. Just pointing it out 'cause I've heard of people, grown-up adult people, who had no idea.
posted by houseofdanie at 2:38 PM on May 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: For the record, I am female, and do have, you know, knowledge of my own anatomy. It's been my experience that in the tub or swimming pool, some (perhaps not tons of it, but some) water can work its way into the lower part of the vagina or anus—and thus I'm wondering what happens when mud is substituted in that equation.
posted by limeonaire at 2:38 PM on May 24, 2007

Well, I think it has a lot to do with what's in the mud. Sterile clay would probably not hurt a thing.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 2:42 PM on May 24, 2007

I am female, and do have, you know, knowledge of my own anatomy

But not of tampons? Curious.
posted by kmennie at 2:49 PM on May 24, 2007

Response by poster: But not of tampons? Curious.

[[shrugs]] It was just a thought. I guess mud sex would be the only instance where mud might get forced that far in—in which case tampons wouldn't be of much use.
posted by limeonaire at 2:51 PM on May 24, 2007

Or if you went down a high waterslide and landed in mud.... that could force it in...
posted by wyzewoman at 3:09 PM on May 24, 2007

I don't have a vagina, nor have I experimentally immersed one in mud. But...

Mud is generally a lot more viscous, heavier, denser, etc, than water. So if only a tiny bit of water could seep in while swimming (actively moving around while immersed in water), I'd imagine it's a lot less likely that mud would seep in while just laying in mud. I guess mud might get between the labia... but that would get rinsed/washed away in the shower after the mud bath.
posted by CKmtl at 3:13 PM on May 24, 2007

I have done one mud "bath". It was about 3 to 6 inches of mud that you could sit in if you wanted to, but the idea seemed to be that you would spread it on yourself and sit on one of the provided lawn chairs. There was a shower for cleaning off before leaving the area. Swimsuits were required, but I don't think mud entering any orifices would have been a problem even without the swimsuit, and would have been taken care of fine in the showering process.
posted by yohko at 3:36 PM on May 24, 2007

I think another issue here is the perception of the vagina as a "hole". It is not a cavern in which things become lodged unintentionally. It is a potential space. So, unless that mud gets hard and pointy, it will have a hard time forcing itself in there.
posted by nursegracer at 4:04 PM on May 24, 2007

some (perhaps not tons of it, but some) water can work its way into the lower part of the vagina or anus

Lower part of the anus? Really? How the hell did that happen, pray tell?
posted by mhuckaba at 4:05 PM on May 24, 2007

I think it could cause yeast infections - bathing suits wet with regular old water increase a woman's risk, and I could imagine whatever sort of bottoms one wears while mud wrestling could be filled with mud (like what happens at the beach with sand when you're a kid) Also, the mud may introduce microbes that will compete with/alter your normal flora, which could lead to infections. It's probably not a big deal if you shower/change into dry clothes afterwards.
posted by fermezporte at 4:36 PM on May 24, 2007

I love me a good mudbath. I've never gotten mud anywhere that a good shower couldn't remove.

I guess mud sex would be the only instance where mud might get forced that far in

Mud sex, at least in the mudbaths I've been in, would be, um, difficult. The mud really glops onto to you and weighs you down, making anything more than wiggling your toes hard to do without assistance. Maybe the mud they use for mud wrestling would be a more cooperative consistency, but that's outside my personal experience. Besides, the nice ladies who help you in and out of the mudbath probably wouldn't approve.
posted by ambrosia at 5:10 PM on May 24, 2007

Maybe a stripper or someone with a similar profession could help answer this question - I seem to remember some who deliberately use props such as whipped cream, chocolate syrup and the like (I think there was an HBO "Real Sex" episode where one girl made her girl parts into a sundae with candy) to entice patrons to that part of their anatomy. Same with not so appetizing but other visually stimulating liquids...
posted by Carnage Asada at 6:02 PM on May 24, 2007

Come on, people, more of you have experimented sexually than are letting on. Stuff that's put up there works its way out. I mean, take a turkey baster and jam yourself with mud and it's going to be messy for some time, but rolling around in the mud isn't going to cause any lasting issues.
posted by iguanapolitico at 6:27 PM on May 24, 2007

It seems to me there are 3 possibilities here...irritation, excoriation or infection.

Constituent properties in said mud may cause vulval irritation (ie. skin) if you have an allergy perhaps and are immersed in it for a long time; otherwise the mud may act as a drying agent to the body's natural oils, again most likely dependent on the time/frequency of immersion. So maybe dermatitis or dryness and itching -- normal showering and subsequent avoidance of mud should limit any problems.

Excoriation of vulval skin might possibly happen if the mud is particuarly gritty, ie. the particles are large enough that they could potentially lightly lacerate the skin --- seems highly improbable unless you are continually moving about but even then, you would need to be kind of scraping your nether regions over the base of the tank or something. If you do calisthenics in mud watch out for grit rash.

I'm not knowledgeable about mud culture (ha!) but it partly depends on how 'clean' was the mud to start with and what temperature is it kept at?? If we are talking swamp mud held at 37 degrees celcius then yes, immersion for any significant amount of time might (possibly) predispose someone to getting a urinary tract infection.....big maybe though.

Normal hygeine being maintained and mud immersion not occurring more than, you know, now and then, I can't believe at all that any vaginal problems could be precipitated whatsoever unless, as said above, mud was somehow forced into the potential space.

On that last note, and to follow on from what some have intimated above, if I was a girl and I liked to water ski without wearing wetsuit pants, I sure as hell would wear a pad and not rely on porous swimming costume material to prevent water being forced into places where it was never wanted.
posted by peacay at 11:46 PM on May 24, 2007

the word "tampon" itself comes from the mud ritual of a she-bear preparing to hibernate. she instinctively scoops up a pawful of mud and stuffs it into her orifice. in the next couple of days it hardens into a dried plug "tampion" which prevents ant colonies from setting up shop in there during the long winter.
posted by bruce at 1:43 AM on May 25, 2007 [3 favorites]

"For the record, I am female, and do have, you know, knowledge of my own anatomy. It's been my experience that in the tub or swimming pool, some (perhaps not tons of it, but some) water can work its way into the lower part of the vagina or anus—and thus I'm wondering what happens when mud is substituted in that equation."

I suppose those who are still gaped from hardcore double-penetrative sex, or still engaged with speculum, should avoid mud baths and wrestling, yes.
posted by klangklangston at 6:49 AM on May 25, 2007

Note to Bruce— No, that's total bullshit. Check the OED: Tampon comes Frankish "tapon," which is a "piece of rag to stop a hole," which is related to earlier forms tœpa and zapfo, both meaning stopper.
posted by klangklangston at 6:54 AM on May 25, 2007

I think both words (tampon, tampion) might come from "tapon."

Any foreign substance getting into any opening (including wounds) offers the potential for infection. IANAMWNMBF (I am not a mud wrestler nor mud bath frequenter), but I'd hope that some semblance of clean mud were used (especially in spas; we've all seen the pedicure 20/20 horror stories). But we women are pretty self-cleaning, you know; douching is a luxury, not a necessity. We clean ourselves up naturally every month. (At least, I do.)

And the concern of a little bit of ocean, lake, or bath water entering a female orifice flies so nowhere near my radar that I can't believe anybody is worried about that. But that's not what the OP asked, so, never mind.
posted by iguanapolitico at 9:55 AM on May 25, 2007

Ok Ok...I work on mudflats and occasionally this work requires me to sit on/in in the mud, in my bathing suit, for extended periods of time. This isn't special sterile mud, but rather filled with all sorts of particulate organic matter.

I have never had any problems with a) mud getting where it shouldn't b) any sort of infections.
posted by nekton at 6:57 PM on May 25, 2007

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