Blue waffle?

Originally Published: March 15, 2013
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(1)

Dear Alice,

I am an undergraduate student who teaches health workshops at a public school. My workshop topic this year is pregnancy prevention. So far, this question has come up many times:Is blue waffle real? Can you set the record straight for me?

Thanks!

(2)

Dear Alice,

I have often heard my friends talking about this so-called disease "Blue Waffle." Is it even a real disease? I have researched it on the web and all that comes up is the familiar "It causes a blue colour of the vagina and possible lessions."

Dear Readers,

“Blue waffle,” or “blue waffle disease,” is many things, but real is not one of them. It is an urban legend, a myth, a tall tale, a rumor, a hoax, etc. about a fictional sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you do an image search, you’ll find (fake) pictures of blue waffle on the Internet. The blue refers to one of the alleged symptoms, which Reader #2 pointed out, and waffle is slang for vagina. Other supposed symptoms of blue waffle vary depending on the source and so does how it’s spread, all of the details changing over time like a giant game of telephone. One reason the blue waffle myth may have spread so quickly is because of the fear and confusion surrounding STIs and sexual health.

Symptoms associated with the imaginary blue waffle are reminiscent to symptoms of existing conditions or STIs. For example, a red or irritated vagina or vulva, smelly discharge, and itching or burning could all be signs of bacterial vaginosis (or vaginitis). Sores and lesions? Now it sounds more like herpes. Why blue? Perhaps this can be explained by the darker color of the clitoris and inner lips when increased blood flow due to arousal occurs in some women. Or perhaps a darker bluish color could be caused by a yeast infection or chronic irritation of the vulva, known as Lichen simplex

One common variation on the blue waffle myth is that it is an STI that passes exclusively from females to males and can be caused by improper hygiene. Perhaps this seems somewhat indicative of our society’s tendency to blame, objectify, and vilify women.

To learn more about STIs that do exist, check out the Go Ask Alice! Sexual and Reproductive Health archives. If you’re a Columbia student, check out this sexual health map for information on where to get condoms (both male and female) and other safer sex supplies on the Morningside campus. You can also make an appointment with your medical provider at Medical Services using Open Communicator or by calling 212-854-2284. If you’re on the Medical Center campus, the Center for Student Wellness carries a variety of safer sex supplies including male and female condoms and both water-and silicone-based lubricant. You can also make an appointment with Student Health by calling 212-305-3400.

We hope this answer clears things up for the both of you! Please pass this information on to your students and friends.

Alice