Is it a real STD? Blue Waffle Disease Myth v Reality

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Yan Krukov / Pexels

Oh the joys of the internet, for any carefully curated Pinterest board meant to bring us joy, an equally alarming urban legend lurks just a few clicks away. One of the most persistent viral photos that has panicked people in the middle of the night is an image that supposedly shows a labia that has turned blue due to the dreaded Blue Waffle Disease. If you have never heard of this supposed illness then consider yourself lucky because it likely means you have been spared the disturbing virus picture that accompanies its description.

As reported by Healthline, around 2010 graphic images of labia with lesions, pus and a blue discoloration made the rounds on the Internet, alongside claims that the culprit was a sexually transmitted disease (STD) known as Blue Waffle Disease (“Waffle ( “” Is a slang term for vagina, hence the name. According to the unsubstantiated claims shared alongside the photo, Blue Waffle Disease affects women who have multiple sexual partners or who do not practice good hygiene. As you may have guessed, is absolute none of these claims are true, and moreover, doctors have since fully debunked the existence of Blue Waffle Disease.

While there are STDs that can cause lesions on the labia and other problems in the vaginal area, there is no known condition – STDs or others – that will turn your labia blue. In addition, sexually transmitted diseases almost always affect women and men indiscriminately, so the notion that sexually transmitted infections only target women with multiple sexual partners is more than a bit sexist. As with so many urban legends out there before, no one is sure who is responsible for the Blue Waffle Disease rumors, but if the picture still puzzles you, here’s what doctors need to know about it have a say about this made-up sexually transmitted disease and how you can protect yourself from real sexually transmitted diseases.

What Do Doctors Say About Blue Waffle Disease?

Since the photo went viral, doctors have done their best to allay the concerns of people with blue waffle disease. In 2017 the Internal Medicine Annals Website shared a speech by GP Anita Ravi, MD exposing the existence of the rumored STD. “It’s a well-known, elaborate internet hoax with someone who has extensive, beautiful Photoshop skills,” she said. However, she went on to say that the discussion of the fake STD actually helped her initiate dialogue with patients who might otherwise have been embarrassed to ask her questions about their sexual health.

According to Ravi, the Blue Waffle hoax inadvertently opened eyes to a new way to start productive conversations with patients about taboo health problems. While it’s not real, Blue Waffle Disease is an indication of how many of us are researching health issues these days – by turning our attention to the internet. And while the internet can sometimes be a starting point to help people speak to their doctors about potential health problems, it’s too often a source of misinformation. For Ravi, self-education about this fake STD actually made it easier to talk about real STDs and other issues that people might otherwise find too embarrassing to discuss.

The moral of the story is, if you ever read about an alarming new disease on the internet, ask your doctor about it. Chances are they can give you the facts, and your internet fears can even lead to a more productive conversation about your health in the long run.

Are Any Symptoms Of Blue Waffle Disease For Real?

Here is some good news for you: There is no known disease that turns your genital area blue. However, the other symptoms of Blue Waffle Disease are linked to real STIs and STDs. If you experience any of the following symptoms in your vaginal area, it is always good to see a doctor:

  • Pain
  • itching
  • increased or abnormal vaginal discharge
  • scab
  • a burning sensation when urinating
  • Bumps
  • Wounds

These could be symptoms of an STD such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, genital herpes, or they could indicate a non-sexually transmitted problem that needs immediate attention.

Even something as common as a yeast infection can cause discomfort and redness. So, if you feel that something is wrong with your vaginal health, it can never hurt to speak to your doctor or gynecologist about your concerns.

How can you protect yourself from STIs and STDs?

Blue Waffle disease isn’t real, but an estimated 20 million new cases of STIs and STDs are reported each year, according to the CDC. The best way to protect yourself is to practice safe sex, and if you have teenagers it is a good idea to start an open dialogue with them about the importance of safe sex practices as well. As with most subjects, knowledge is power, but there is still a general lack of sex education in schools.

The CDC reports that sexually transmitted diseases and sexually transmitted diseases affect young people between the ages of 15 and 24 years of age disproportionately (roughly half of all new cases reported in a single year affect people within this age group). Here are the best ways to protect yourself against STDs and STDs:

  • Always practice safe sex (use a condom, rubber dam, or other approved device).
  • Remind your teenagers that while birth control pills prevent pregnancy, they don’t protect them from STDS.
  • Get regular STD screenings and pap smears to spot problems early.
  • Get the HPV vaccine early.

It is important to keep an eye on your sexual health, and while you are not at risk of developing Blue Waffle Disease, it is still important to be aware of any changes in your vaginal health. And finally, Blue Waffle Disease is meant to serve as a reminder that no matter how strange you find your health question to your doctor, he’s definitely heard something stranger – so ask away!



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