Jen Gunter

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Jen Gunter
Woman with mid-length dark curly hair looks off to the right
Jennifer Gunter at CSICon 2018
Jennifer Gunter

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Other namesDr. Jen
OccupationGynecologist, author, columnist
Years active1996–present

Jennifer Gunter is a Canadian-American gynecologist, a New York Times columnist covering women’s health, an author, and a specialist in chronic pain medicine and vulvovaginal disorders.[1][2]

Early life and education[edit]

Gunter was born in Winnipeg, Canada.[3]

A positive experience at the hospital when she was eleven and had a skateboard accident motivated her to decide on a career in health care: declining sedation, she watched the hospital staff perform an angiogram on her ruptured spleen as they explained the procedure to her.[4]

From 1984 to 1986, Gunter studied at the University of Winnipeg until being accepted into medical school in 1986. In 1990, Gunter graduated from the University of Manitoba College of Medicine.[5] From 1990 to 1995, she completed obstetrics and gynecology training at the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. In 1995, Gunter moved to the United States for a fellowship in infectious diseases and women's health at the University of Kansas Medical Center where she also developed an interest in the area of pain management.[1][6][7]



From 1996 to 2001, Gunter worked at the University of Kansas Medical Center for an additional five years after the one year fellowship ended.[8]

In 2001, Gunter worked as a lecturer at the University of Colorado Hospital in Denver, Colorado. During this time the miscarriage of one of Gunter's sons in a triplet pregnancy she described as traumatic made her decide to shift her work away from the field of obstetrics. Instead she focused on gynecology, specializing in vaginal and vulval conditions.[8]

Gunter has practiced medicine since 1996.[1] Gunter works as an OB/GYN and a pain medicine physician. Her approach is based on evidence-based medicine integrated with a focus on empathy and the patient experience, which Gunter said she learned from the University of Western Ontario, and the adjacency to McMaster University Medical School, which is a center of evidence-based medicine.[9]

Since 2006, she has been at The Permanente Medical Group of Kaiser Permanente in Northern California.[1][10] At Kaiser, Gunter manages a health clinic for women in the Chronic Pelvic Pain & Vulvo-Vaginal Disorders division.[11][12]


Around 2004, Gunter delivered triplets prematurely: one was born at just 22 weeks and did not survive and the other two were born at 26 weeks. The lack of publicly available, medically sound information about the particular needs of premature babies motivated her to write a book entitled, The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies — from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond.[13][14]

Since 2011, Gunter has written a blog that has reached 15 million views and has generated controversies in the mainstream media.[4][6][13] Gunter has been critical of dubious health claims made by celebrities and the careless way that media outlets report on matters such as reproductive health and vaccination.[3] She advocates for more responsible health coverage by the news media, less weight given to health advice by celebrities and for doctors to communicate better with their patients.[6]

In June 2019, The Lancet published an opinion piece by Gunter calling for "a better medical internet" by having more medical experts involved in disseminating adequate medical information to the public. "It is simply not acceptable to me that quality research that can save lives and reduce suffering could be undone by a medical conspiracy theorist or a celebrity looking to sell supplements."[6][15]

Gunter writes two regular columns on women’s health at The New York Times: a monthly column called "The Cycle" and a weekly column called "You Asked".[16]

Gunter is known by the nickname "Twitter's Resident Gynecologist", and has used Twitter to share information about pain management and to debunk myths about women's health.[17] As of 2019, her Twitter account reaches over 200,000 followers.[18]

The Vagina Bible[edit]

In 2019, Gunter's second book, The Vagina Bible, was published.[2] The book presents medical information about female reproductive anatomy and corrects common myths. Writing the book is a reaction to what she sees as a large amount of dangerous false information on the web about female health.[12][19][20][21] The book includes a section focusing on trans men and women.[7] The title reached #1 on the list of Canadian nonfiction bestsellers, according to the Retail Council of Canada.[22]

During promotion of the book, there was controversy when the publisher's Twitter advertisements were blocked for use of inappropriate language (presumably the word vagina). The ads were only allowed to run after a large online conversation developed.[23][24] In a 2019 review, doctor Harriet Hall states that "Dr. Jen Gunter has done women everywhere a great service by writing" this book. Hall calls Gunter the perfect person to write this with her years in medicine and gynecology as well as being a "gifted communicator". Hall calls The Vagina Bible a "owner's manual for the vagina ... I wish every girl and woman everywhere had a copy of this book."[25]

Gunter has said she is working on her next book, which will be called The Menopause Manifesto.[8]

Popular culture[edit]

As a doctor, Gunter has spoken out on a variety of topics affecting women's health, including abortion,[12] the HPV vaccine, and the use of fetal tissue in research.[13] Gunter corrects misconceptions about women's health through her books, newspaper column and online discussions.[20][26]

In 2015, Gunter's blog post critical over an article in the Toronto Star which mischaracterized the safety of Gardasil, a HPV vaccine, resulted in an apology by Toronto Star.[27][28][29][30] There was additional discussion and scrutiny over the coverage of vaccine safety in the mainstream press.[31][32][33][34]


Gunter is a long-time critic of products sold by Goop, the company owned by actress Gwyneth Paltrow.[12][19][26][35]

Her criticism of one of Goop's products, a jade egg meant to be inserted in one's vagina, came to the attention of a wider audience when her blog post of January 17, 2017, was picked up by a tabloid newspaper.[10] Additional posts elicited a written response from Goop directly responding to Gunter's criticism.[26][36][37] Goop also eventually paid consumer protection fines and refunded the cost of vaginal eggs to customers who purchased them.[8][26][38]

This exchange provoked an intervention by Timothy Caulfield, a Canada research chair in health law and policy at the University of Alberta, who supported Gunter's position. Caulfield stated that, "studies have consistently found, for example, that celebrities can have a measurable and less-than-ideal impact on everything from cancer screening to smoking to the food that we eat."[39]

In October 2018, Gunter and archeologist Sarah Parcak published a study to investigate whether or not jade eggs were used vaginally in ancient China, as Goop's marketing claims they were. A review of the description of 5,000 artifacts available in major databases of Chinese archeology found no mention of such an object.[26][40]


In June 2019, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation announced the 10-part docuseries called Jensplaining would be airing on their free streaming network called CBC Gem in August 2019.[41] The series will be ten episodes, with the first three covering menstruation, wellness, and vaccines.[12][42][43]


In February 2021, Vagisil released a new line of products called OMV!, aimed at teenagers, which include scented wipes, cleansers and anti itch creams for vaginas and vulvas. Gunter expressed her discontent with the company's advertising suggesting that something needed to be fixed with teens' vaginas. She states that vulvas and vaginas take care of themselves and explains that even wipes can be irritating and cause inflammation. Vagisil has responded to criticism of their new line by stating that their products are safe for external use and have been tested by independent dermatologists and gynecologists.[44]

Personal life[edit]

Gunter has been married twice.[8] Gunter is divorced from her second husband.[45] Gunter and her twin sons have lived in Northern California since 2005.[8] The third son of what would have been triplets miscarried at 22 weeks.[46]

Gunter has spoken about her struggles with a lifelong binge eating disorder and said she has considered writing a book about weight loss.[13]


Selected works and publications[edit]


  • Gunter, M.D., Jennifer (2010). The Preemie Primer: A Complete Guide for Parents of Premature Babies—from Birth through the Toddler Years and Beyond. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press. ISBN 9780738214146. OCLC 688506407.
  • Gunter, Dr. Jen (2019). The Vagina Bible: The Vulva and the Vagina—Separating the Myth from the Medicine. Toronto: Random House Canada. ISBN 9780735277373. OCLC 1109801780.

Selected articles[edit]

Selected journals[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Jennifer Gunter, MD; Obstetrics and Gynecology, San Francisco Medical Center". The Permanente Medical Group. 25 October 2019.
  2. ^ a b Wiseman, Eva (8 September 2019). "Jennifer Gunter: 'Women are being told lies about their bodies'". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b Adam, Aalia (8 September 2019). "'Keep coffee out of your rectum, quit steaming your vagina': Q&A with Dr. Jen Gunter". Global News.
  4. ^ a b Girvan, Chloe E. (13 July 2018). "Debunking the scientifically inaccurate: Dr. Jen Gunter is on a mission for women's health". iPolitics.
  5. ^ Mayes, Alison (22 February 2019). "News From Alumni: Gynecologist Gunter on bogus health claims: 'Somebody has to take a stand'". UM Today. University of Manitoba.
  6. ^ a b c d Topol, Eric J. (26 August 2019). "Dr Jen Gunter Is a Trailblazer for Truth (and the Vagina)". Medscape. pp. 1–4.
  7. ^ a b Marcotte, Amanda (27 August 2019). "Dr. Jen Gunter is on a crusade to save your vagina". Salon.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Haulshak, Maureen (17 July 2019). "Badass OB-GYN Dr. Jen Gunter has no time for your pseudoscience nonsense". Today's Parent.
  9. ^ Topol, Eric J. (26 August 2019). "Dr Jen Gunter Is a Trailblazer for Truth (and the Vagina)". Medscape.
  10. ^ a b Phillips, Kristine (22 January 2017). "No, Gwyneth Paltrow, women should not put jade eggs in their vaginas, gynecologist says". The Washington Post.
  11. ^ "Faculty". Kaiser Permanente Undergraduate & Graduate Medical Education Northern California. The Permanente Medical Group. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  12. ^ a b c d e O'Leary, Lizzie (27 August 2019). "For So Long, Women Have Been Marginalized by Medicine". The Atlantic.
  13. ^ a b c d Keshavan, Meghana (4 August 2017). "Armed with science (and snark), a gynecologist takes on Trump, Goop, and all manner of bizarre health trends". STAT.
  14. ^ Gunter, Jennifer (7 July 2017). "Mother of 3, parent of 2. Reflections on the saddest sorority". Jen Gunter.
  15. ^ Gunter, Jen (June 2019). "Medical misinformation and the internet: a call to arms". The Lancet. 393 (10188): 2294–2295. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(19)31206-1. ISSN 0140-6736. OCLC 8164688620. PMID 31180024.
  16. ^ "Style: The Cycle". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  17. ^ "Social Media Guide" (PDF). ACOG Today. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: 5, 9, 11. November 2012.
  18. ^ Lytton, Charlotte (9 September 2019). "Dr Jen Gunter, the 'vaginal antichrist', on her mission to bring down Goop". The Telegraph.
  19. ^ a b Belluz, Julia (14 August 2019). "The Vagina Bible: This feminist gynecologist wants you to know your body and fight the patriarchy". Vox.
  20. ^ a b Girvan, Chloe (22 August 2019). "Canadian-born gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter tells it like it is in The Vagina Bible". The Toronto Star.
  21. ^ Somos, Christy (3 September 2019). "'Vagina Bible' aims to dispel myths and misinformation about genital health". CTV News.
  22. ^ "Booknet Canada: Independent Bestseller List, Overall Bestsellers (August 26-September 1, 2019)" (PDF). Retail Council of Canada. The Vagina Bible Gunter, Jen 9780735277373 Random House of Canada; 26.95
  23. ^ Ritschel, Chelsea (29 August 2019). "Gynaecologist calls out Twitter for banning book adverts over the use of the word "vagina"". The Independent.
  24. ^ Wodinsky, Shoshana (27 August 2019). "Twitter's Ad Network Is Waging a War Against Anatomy". Adweek.
  25. ^ Hall, Harriett (2019). "An Owner's Manual for the Vagina". Skeptical Inquirer. Center for Inquiry. 43 (6): 60–61.
  26. ^ a b c d e Oatman, Maddie (23 August 2019). "Dr. Jen Gunter Wants to Protect Your Vagina From Gwyneth Paltrow". Mother Jones.
  27. ^ Bruser, David; McLean, Jesse (5 February 2015). "A wonder drug's dark side". Toronto Star.
  28. ^ Gunter, Jen (5 February 2015). "Toronto Star claims HPV vaccine unsafe. Science says the Toronto Star is wrong". Jen Gunter.
  29. ^ Mallick, Heather (6 February 2015). "Vaccine debate is one we shouldn't even be having: Mallick". Toronto Star.
  30. ^ Young, Leslie (11 February 2015). "'We failed' in presentation of HPV vaccine story, Star publisher says". Global News.
  31. ^ Kay, Jonathan (12 February 2015). "Dropping science: The Toronto Star's scandalously bad article on HPV vaccines illustrates a larger problem with Canadian newsrooms". The Walrus.
  32. ^ Hiltzik, Michael (13 February 201). "How a major newspaper bungled a vaccine story, then smeared its critics". Los Angeles Times.
  33. ^ Gorski, David (16 February 2015). "How not to report about vaccine safety issues, Toronto Star edition". Science-Based Medicine.
  34. ^ Girardi, Stephanie (25 February 2015). "Unpublishing". Ryerson Review of Journalism.
  35. ^ McKnight, Zoe (18 July 2017). "This Canadian doctor is going head-to-head with Gwyneth Paltrow over Goop". Toronto Star.
  36. ^ Shea, Courtney (25 July 2017). "Who is Dr. Jen Gunter, and why is she on Gwyneth Paltrow's bad side?". Chatelaine. Rogers Digital Media.
  37. ^ Gundry, Stephen; Romm, Aviva (12 July 2017). "Uncensored: A word from our doctors". Goop.
  38. ^ Rosman, Katherine (29 July 2017). "A Doctor Gives Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop an Examination". The New York Times.
  39. ^ Caulfield, Timothy (14 July 2017). "Sorry, Gwyneth Paltrow. Science will always beat goopy junk". The Globe and Mail.
  40. ^ Gunter, Jennifer; Parcak, Sarah (25 October 2018). "Vaginal Jade Eggs: Ancient Chinese Practice or Modern Marketing Myth?". Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery. 25 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1097/SPV.0000000000000643. PMID 30365448.
  41. ^ Hawke, Teaghan (12 June 2019). "New CBC Original Docseries Jensplaining, Hosted by "Twitter's Resident Gynecologist" Dr. Jen Gunter Launches August 23 on CBC Gem" (Press release).
  42. ^ Wilner, Norman (13 June 2019). "Canadian anti-Goop doctor Jen Gunter is getting a web series". NOW Magazine.
  43. ^ Szklarski, Cassandra (22 August 2019). "Jen Gunter vs. the modern snake oil salesmen". Toronto Star.
  44. ^ Holohan, Meghan (February 8, 2021). "Vagisil responds to backlash from doctors over teen 'cleansing' products". Today. Archived from the original on February 9, 2021. Retrieved February 11, 2021.
  45. ^ Butler, Peggy (2012). "My Interview with Dr. Jennifer Gunter". Success & Chocolate. As of 2012, Gunter was divorced
  46. ^ Hesse, Monica (2 November 2019). "What every member of Congress should know about vaginas". The Washington Post. Retrieved 8 November 2019.
  47. ^ "Diplomates". American Board of Pain Medicine. Retrieved 26 October 2019. Jennifer Gunter, MD; Last Test Date: 04/27/2012; Cert Program Expiration Date: 12/31/2023
  48. ^ "ACOG Physician Lookup". American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Retrieved 26 October 2017. Gunter, Jennifer; San Francisco CA (415); F (Fellow)
  49. ^ "The Royal College Directory: Jen Gunter". Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Retrieved 26 October 2017. Gunter, Jennifer; Fellow, 04 Aug 1995; FRCSC; San Francisco, California, United States; Obstetrics and Gynecology, 30 Jun 1995

External links[edit]