Woman grows potato in vagina in ill-advised contraception attempt

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Apr 25, 2002

Shocked medical staff in a clinic in the central Colombian town of Honda have discovered a potato growing inside a patient’s vagina, local media reported on Wednesday.

The bizarre phenomenon was discovered when doctors attended a 22-year-old woman complaining of abdominal pains this week.

The embarrassed young woman explained that she had been advised by her mother to insert a potato into her vagina as a means of avoiding unwanted pregnancy

“My mom told me that if I didn’t want to get pregnant, I should put a potato up there, and I believed her.” said the unnamed patient.

After leaving the potato in place for around 2 weeks she began to experience intense pain in her lower abdomen. The potato had germinated, and grown roots inside the lady’s private parts.

When the nurse went to examine the patient, she originally thought she had been the target of a practical joke, as she found roots emerging from the young woman's vagina.

The offending root vegetable was removed without need for surgery, and there should be no lasting physical effects on the young woman.

Carolina Rojas, the attending nurse, pointed the finger of blame at the woman's mother for giving her daughter such bad advice in terms of contraception methods available.

A recent campaign by Bienestar Familiar (ICBF) aimed at reducing the high levels of teenage pregnancy in Colombia stated that young people’s general rejection of conventional contraception methods, such as condoms and contraceptive pills, coupled with a macho society which often saw girls pressured into having unsafe sex, contributed to a high level of unwanted teenage pregnancies.

The fact that a 22 year old women was no naïve as to believe that a potato was an appropriate and safe method of contraception shows a concerning lack of education for young people as to the options available for them when they become sexually active.

Sexual education became obligatory across Colombia in the 1990s in the hope that young people would discuss any quieries or concerns and have a safe place to discuss what was perceived as a social taboo – talking about sex.

However, parents, shocked by the content of the classes protested against them and created groups such as the “Red Families” urging other parents to denounce the lessons in which teachers were accused of encouraging homosexuality.

Furthermore, according to the Ministry of Education and sociologist María Eugenia Rosselli, “you cannot ask a young person to freely discuss sex with their parents,” creating a void of information and high levels of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.