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Vaginal Steaming: Effective or Stupid?

The vagina goes through a lot. Between menstruation, childbirth, and sex, it can be challenging to keep your vagina comfortable. One method you may consider is vaginal steaming.

What is vaginal steaming?

Vaginal steaming is an alternative health treatment. It typically involves a woman squatting over steaming water, which may contain a variety of herbs such as rosemary, wormwood, and basil. It’s a remedy that’s been around for a long time, and it’s said to help cleanse the vagina and uterus, ease PMS symptoms, and regulate menstruation. Women in Africa, South America, and Asia have used vaginal steaming for decades, and it’s recently become a trend with women in the western world, especially since celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chrissy Teigen have recently popularized vaginal steaming.

You can often find vaginal steaming offered as a service at some upscale spas. You may find it listed as yoni steaming or V-steaming.

Potential benefits of vaginal steaming

While there is no empirical evidence to back up any perceived vaginal steaming benefits, the process is rather simple: You are offered to sit or squat over a container of steamy water that’s infused with herbs. Some herbs often used for vagina steaming include:

  • Mugwort
  • Chamomile
  • Wormwood
  • Calendula
  • Basil
  • Oregano

Vagina steaming is used as a natural, noninvasive remedy to clean the vagina, uterus, and other parts of your reproductive system. It supposedly helps relieve symptoms associated with PMS and other times of hormone instability

While there is no empirical evidence to back up any perceived vaginal steaming benefits, the process is rather simple: You are offered to sit or squat over a container of steamy water that’s infused with herbs.

It’s important to understand that there is no scientific evidence to back up the purported benefits of steaming the vagina. 

Risks of vaginal steaming

Just as there isn’t any scientific research to back up any claimed benefits of vaginal steaming, there also isn’t any research to prove whether or not it’s safe. 

The vagina isn’t really meant to be steam-cleaned. Remember that bacteria grow in overheated environments, so steaming it is going to raise its temperature and could, therefore, encourage bacteria growth, leading to a possible infection.

Furthermore, vaginal skin is delicate and sensitive. Squatting over a container of steaming herbal water puts you at risk of burns or scalding.

The vagina isn’t really meant to be steam-cleaned. Remember that bacteria grow in overheated environments, so steaming it is going to raise its temperature and could, therefore, encourage bacteria growth, leading to a possible infection.

There also aren’t any accepted medical guidelines for how to implement a vaginal steaming session, so if you choose to do it on your own, you have to decide which herbs to use and how often to do it. 

Since there isn’t any evidence to support whether vaginal steaming is effective or not, its long-term effects on women or even an unborn baby are unknown.

Is vaginal steaming effective?

There is no valid research out there to know whether or not vaginal steaming is truly effective. Women who have tried it may speak of its benefits, but this varies from person to person and is only based on individual experiences and anecdotal evidence, not scientific evidence.

Furthermore, it’s unclear how steaming herbs are supposed to access the interior of your vagina.

While it might help increase blood flow to your vagina, since you’re applying warm steam to it, you may get the same effect from taking a warm bath.

What you need to know before undergoing vaginal steaming

Many spas have a special seat for this procedure, or you can also do it at home, but many doctors don’t recommend it, as there’s a risk of burning yourself. Burns on your vagina are hard to treat and can be difficult to heal. 

Proven ways to maintain feminine hygiene

Before you decide whether or not to try vaginal steaming, remember that the vagina is naturally designed to clean itself. Although the term “vagina” is often used to describe the female sexual anatomy collectively, your vagina is, strictly speaking, the actual canal inside your body. It naturally cleans itself with secretions and discharge and maintains a correct pH, which is naturally acidic. While you don’t need to wash your vagina, you do need to wash your vulva, which refers to areas outside your vagina, including your clitoris, clitoral hood, and inner and outer labia.

Before you decide whether or not to try vaginal steaming, remember that the vagina is naturally designed to clean itself.

To clean your vulva, use warm water and a washcloth or your hands. Soap isn’t actually necessary, although if you want, you can use one that’s odorless and colorless.

This is really all that’s needed to keep your pubic area clean. Things like sprays, feminine washes, and other scented products aren’t necessary to make your vagina smell better. It’s best to leave it smelling natural.

The takeaway

While some women really like vaginal steaming and feel it helps them relieve symptoms associated with periods, childbirth, or other feminine discomforts, there truly is no scientific evidence proving its effectiveness.

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/sexual-health/keeping-your-vagina-clean-and-healthy/

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