Is vaginal steaming good for you?

We present a gynaecologist’s take on the claims therapists make while selling you vaginal steaming.

Myupchar October 21, 2019 16:04:49 IST
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Is vaginal steaming good for you?
  • Yoni steaming, also known as vaginal steaming, is an alternative therapy that directs steam from a hot herbal tea mixture onto the vaginal area

  • The benefits of yoni steaming are still being debated as there is no science to support this practice

  • Even if these herbs had any properties to treat infertility and hormonal imbalance, which is highly arguable, the fact that the steam doesn't even reach the uterus, negates these claims

You might have heard about how great steaming can be for your hair, skin, and even to treat a cold. But have you ever heard of vaginal steaming?

Yes! Yoni steaming, also known as vaginal steaming, is an alternative therapy that directs steam from a hot herbal tea mixture onto the vaginal area. The benefits of yoni steaming are still being debated as there is no science to support this practice.

Is vaginal steaming good for you

Representational image. Image by Mari Ana from Pixabay

Of course, fads come and go. Some of them may have a lasting (ill)effect on the body - and some may have no effect at all, even though you shell out thousands for them.

We present a gynaecologist’s take on the claims therapists make while selling you vaginal steaming.

Tall claims?

Keli Garza, the owner of Steamy Chick, the largest distributor of vaginal steam supplies in the US, has gone on record to say that she wants to turn vaginal steaming into an alternative medicine field called peri-steam hydrotherapy.

According to her, vaginal steaming has benefits such as regulating the menstrual cycle; significantly reducing the pain, bloating and exhaustion associated with menstruation; alleviating the symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS); reducing dark purple or brown blood at the onset or end of menses; speeding up vaginal healing for new moms; relieving chronic vaginal/yeast infections; helping to maintain healthy odour; and easing the symptoms of menopause including dryness or pain during intercourse.

Rosita Arvigo, another advocate of vaginal steaming, says it can even cure infertility in some cases.

The idea of vaginal steaming has its basis in Mayan medicine, which dates back to around 250 AD. Experts say it is a blend of religion and science.

Therapists use herbs like basil, oregano, calendula, rosemary, chamomile, damiana, yarrow, raspberry leaf, motherwort, peony, witch hazel, rose and juniper, mugwort and wormwood for vaginal steaming, purportedly to support better vaginal health, toning the skin and reducing vaginal odours.

Gynaecologist speaks

“It’s total BS,” says Dr Archana Nirula, senior medical officer at myupchar.com and a gynaecologist with 25 years of experience.

“Vaginal steaming has its roots in a cultural practice. It was used to ‘cleanse’ or ‘purify’ a woman after a miscarriage or abortion because they thought menstrual blood was dirty. The practice has absolutely no foundation in medical science,” Dr Nirula said.

Dr Nirula shared two reasons for why claims about the efficacy of vaginal steaming are almost laughable: one, the vaginal opening is too small for any of the steamy herbs to reach the uterus; and two, fungus and bacteria love hot and humid conditions.

“Even if these herbs had any properties to treat infertility and hormonal imbalance, which is highly arguable, the fact that the steam doesn’t even reach the uterus, negates these claims,” Dr Nirula said.

“Another thing they (people offering vaginal steaming) often say is that vaginal steaming removes the vagina smell, but what they are doing is disturbing the natural vaginal flora - the microorganisms that maintain the balance. This increases the chances of yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis,” Dr Nirula explained.

Add to this the fact that globally people have reported cases of burns (even second-degree burns) as a result of vaginal steaming. That vaginal steaming therapists claim these people weren’t doing it right, doesn’t absolve them in our book.

Disclaimer: myUpchar doesn’t support or promote vaginal steaming. Please do not try it at home.

 

Health articles in Firstpost are written by myUpchar.com, India’s first and biggest resource for verified medical information. At myUpchar, researchers and journalists work with doctors to bring you information on all things health. For more information, read our article on Vagina and Vaginal Health.

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