Women health

What Is Vaginal Steaming? Benefits & Disadvantages

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Vaginal steaming sometimes shortened to V-steaming or at times known as yoni steaming is an ancient health practice for keeping the vagina clean and healthy. 

This procedure has been used in ancient medicine for long but has re-emerged in recent times in most spas. Contrary to common belief, there is no scientific evidence to support the benefits of vaginal steaming.

Unlike other parts of the body, the vagina does not require cleaning. In the past, other practices such as douching have been discouraged.

Your vagina is designed to host an array of different bacteria. Cleansing through douching or steaming can alter the normal balance which might increase the risk of vaginal infections. A gynecologist will rarely recommend this procedure.

This topic offers an insight into:

  • The meaning of vaginal steaming
  • How to do the steaming at home
  • Benefits, advantages, and disadvantages of the procedure

What is vaginal steaming?

V-steaming also known as yoni steaming is an old health practice. It involves a woman squatting or sitting over steaming water containing herbs such as mugwort, rosemary, wormwood, and basil. It is considered as a way of detoxing the vagina.

V-steaming has been practiced in Africa, Asia, and in Central America. In the western world, it has been practiced as an alternative health practice. It is often described in spas as an ancient Korean treatment for reproductive organs ailment among other benefits.

Advocates of vaginal steaming claim that it helps balance female hormones, cleanse and revitalizes the uterus. The practice is also believed to reduce the discomfort, bloating and tiredness associated with menstruation.

Some believe it can regulate irregular menstrual cycles, treat vaginal yeast infection, decrease the volume of menstrual flow, increase fertility, relieve the symptoms of menopause and speed up after birth healing process among other benefits.

There is, however, no empirical evidence supporting most of the claims involving vaginal steaming.  In a paper for Culture, Health & Sexuality, Vandenberg and Braun argue that rhetoric of the practice mirrors sexist western discourse about the supposed inherent dirtiness of the female body.

According to them, the claims that V-steaming improves fertility and sexually pleasure continues the view that the female body primarily exists for male sexual pleasure and childbearing.

Vaginal steam bath herbs

Vaginal detox or steaming increase blood circulation to the pelvis. It is believed to bring more oxygen to this part of the body thus relaxing the pelvic floor muscles.

Traditional Chinese medicine notes that it helps ease the symptoms of coldness and stagnation in the body.

Herbs are an integral part of vaginal steaming. Here are some of the most effective herbs used in vagina steaming:

  1. Lavender is a relaxing herb that calms the body and mind. Apart from nourishing the nervous system, it is an antiseptic to the vaginal tissues. It is also antispasmodic, thus aids in healthy uterine functions.
  2. Mugwort
  3. Marigold can be used to induce perspiration, and cleansing vaginal tissues. It is effective in healing wounds and preventing infections. It should however not be used for an open wound.
  4. Rose petals are gentle and astringent to the vaginal tissues, rose petals are considered relaxing and uplifting herb.
  5. Rosemary increase blood circulation to the reproductive organs. This herb is antiseptic and also aid in clearing out old fluids
  6. Oregano can be used to bring menses. Most effective when used before period. This herb is known for its antiseptic, stimulating and strengthening qualities. It can also be used to prevent vaginal infections.
  7. Basil to be used after menstruation can help reduce pain and cramps that often accompany menstrual flow.

How to do vaginal steaming at home

If you have to do the steaming, it should be done a few days before and after period. You should also not do it when pregnant.  Normally the steaming should only last for about 30 minutes.

Be very careful during the process, avoid placing the steam too close to the skin to minimize the risk of burn.

Here is how to do vaginal steaming at home:

  1. Ensure you have a chair, herbs, blanket and a bucket or basin of water
  2. Now boil a gallon of water mixed with a cup or two of some of the herbs listed above
  3. Ensure the water is not very hot by, you can test by placing your elbow in the water, remember the skin on your genital is very sensitive you risk serious burns when the water is very hot
  4. Now sit over the mixture and cover your entire half with the blanket.
  5. Maintain this position for 25 to 30 minutes
  6. Pat your genitals dry with a clean towel and apply Aloe Vera gel. This process should only be done at most twice a year.

Benefits of vaginal steaming

Vaginal detox involves the use of steam and other herbs to clean the vagina. Those who practice this process believe that it may help treat the following conditions:

  • Painful or irregular periods
  • Vaginal yeast infection and vaginal itching
  • Vaginal cyst
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Painful hemorrhoids or piles
  • Infertility
  • Hysterectomies and laparoscopies recovery
  • Relieving emotional stress and anxiety

Disadvantages of vaginal steaming

Just like other alternative health practice, vaginal steaming is not for everybody. Specialist warns that women with the following conditions should not do vagi-steaming:

  • Those with vaginal infections
  • Extremely heavy menstrual flow
  • During period
  • When pregnant
  • Those with open wounds, sores of blister around groin
  • Those with genital piercing should start by taking them out

When done properly, there are minimal to no risks involved.  There are however some disadvantages involved in vaginal detox or steaming you need to be aware of. They include the following:

  • Risk of burns, this can be very painful
  • Just like douching, vaginal steaming can interrupt the normal balance of natural bacteria. This increase the risk of having vaginal yeast infection. your vagina is self-cleaning so you do not need to do that after all

To minimize any risks, we recommend that if you have to do vaginal steaming, have it done by a professional.  When doing, you need to be very careful.

See Also: 

Sources:

  1. Wikipedia, vaginal steaming: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaginal_steaming
  2. Women health mag, 3 reasons you definitely shouldn’t get your vagina steamed: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/gwyneth-paltrow-v-steam
  3. Harvard health publication, what is vaginal steaming: https://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/what-is-vaginal-steaming
  4. Traditional vagina steaming for healthy fertility: http://natural-fertility-info.com/vagina-steam.html

 

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