Oh boy….if you haven’t heard of this phenomenon, you DID read that correctly, there are people out there who are steaming their vaginas. Can you guess which famous celebrity brought this process so much attention? I’ll give you three clues: she is an actress, has created a wildly successful candle called “This Smells Like My Vagina”, and is the founder of a lifestyle brand called Goop. Bonus! She also has a Netflix show called The Goop Lab from her lifestyle brand.
NOTE: This piece isn’t about Gwen. It’s about vaginal steaming, but we have her and other celebrities, like Chrissy Tiegen, to thank for bringing it to popularity. So I think it’s important to explore the facts of this phenomenon.
What is vaginal steaming?
Vaginal steaming is a natural remedy that claims to cleanse the vaginal area exterior and interior, as well as the uterus, helps to regulate your menstruation, and ease those nasty period symptoms: cramping and bloating.
Is vaginal steaming safe?
If you look just at the benefits of steaming alone, I can get behind this. Heat helps to increase blood flow, especially moist heat, it promotes muscle relaxation and temporarily adds hydration to the area as well. However, I do not see an internal benefit to vaginal steaming. It does not help the internal structures such as your vaginal canal, cervix, or uterus. Furthermore, there is a definite, and HUGE risk of potential injury from vaginal steaming.
What does steaming your VAG do?
There are pros and cons to steaming your sensitive bits.
PROS: Increases blood flow to the area, especially the moist heat. Promotes muscle relaxation. Adds temporary hydration to the area as well.
CONS: Herbs can put you at risk for infection. Potential for overheating and burning sensitive tissue regions. The position demand either squatting, or a chair, can place a high demand on your body, and exacerbate pelvic floor concerns.
THE STEAMING PROCESS
- You will get a combination of herbs, based on your affliction or aim for the treatment.
- Steep these herbs in heated water for a set amount of time.
- Then somehow hover over (via squatting or sitting on a chair with a hole in the middle) and allow the steam to waft up right into your lady bits.
- Keep a towel wrapped around your waist to keep the steam in.
As you can imagine there are spas that offer this service, or you can do it at home. On spa websites and certain lifestyle blogs, you will see claims that steaming your va-jay-jay with herbs can help to detoxify, reduce fatigue, decrease menstrual symptoms, treat headaches, help hemorrhoid, aid in healing after child birth, or even boost fertility! That is quite a list of benefits. Usually when I see something that extensive and wide reaching, I am feeling skeptical to say the least. Are you?
GOOD IDEA? or BAD IDEA?
First, there is no gold standard research to support this treatment. I know, I know, not everything NEEDS research behind it to say let’s do this, or it works for me, so let’s move to the second point.
If you look just at the benefits of steaming by themselves, anyone can get behind this. Heat helps to increase blood flow, especially moist heat, it promotes muscle relaxation, and will temporarily add hydration to the area as well. Remember, ONLY looking at these factors vaginal steaming could help with muscle tension due to childbirth or menstrual cramps, and how it can help with adding moisture to that area if you are breastfeeding or experiencing vaginal atrophy.
Here is the big but, I do not see an internal benefit to vaginal steaming. It does not help the internal structures; such as your vaginal canal, cervix, or uterus. Furthermore, there is a definite, and HUGE risk of potential injury from vaginal steaming.
REASONS FOR CONCERNS
- Sending hot steam, with herbs in it, directly towards your vagina is the first concern. You may have unknown sensitivities to these herbs, or one could easily make the steam too hot for these sensitive tissue areas.
- Squatting is the next cause for concern for many people, and the other choice of sitting on a chair with a hole in it can actually cause more pelvic congestion, because you are causing downward movement of the pelvic organs.
- Finally, this is a gravity dependent position, which causes increased blood flow to the rectum, perineum, and vagina. This will actually increase hemorrhoid symptoms, negatively affect healing following delivery, and in many cases can increase your pain.
MY RECOMMENDATION: 👎 Unfortunately, NOT on board.
WELL, HOW SHOULD I DETOX THEN?
I can however get behind sitz baths. A sitz bath is usually slightly warm water with epsom salts and just enough water to submerge your vagina. Epsom salts will also not damage your natural pH balance in your vaginal area, which is important to keep our lady bits healthy! You can find a couple wonderful, USP grade quality, versions conveniently on Amazon.
SOLIMA EPSON SALT SOAK – 3ct 8lb bags – $20.42 +free shipping for Amazon Prime members
EPSOAK EVERYDAY EPSOM SALT – 19lb bulk bag – $26.99 +free shipping for Amazon Prime members
If you are looking for products to help with relief, check out my moisturizing article to find products that will treat your specific concerns the best. These treatment options all have a great deal of research behind them for all of the above mentioned concerns.
While I am appreciative to Gwen for bringing these things to the conversation, as vaginal healthcare has not been mainstream L-I-T-E-R-A-L-L-Y ever. And even for promoting holistic at-home options for vulva care, which we can all use at times, admit it! Yet, I have to admit…vaginal steaming is not one of my favorite suggestions of hers.
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