Vaginal steaming: the sorcery for your vagina

Because of the recent pandemic, we are all a lot more mindful about hygiene. Although washing your hands is definitely a great practice, some people seem to be a little over with the vagina. It makes sense to keep it clean, but what is this vaginal steaming that celebrities like Jennifer Gunter and Gwyneth Paltrow are talking about?

What is vaginal steaming?

Gwyneth said to the media: "You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release – not just a steam douche – that balances female hormone levels."

Sounds pretty magical? Some supporters also argue that this practice has been described in many different cultures throughout histories, so it has to have some virtue!

Beneficial claims about vaginal steaming may even go so far to curing everything: irregular periods, infertility, healing after birth, vaginal tightening and many more.

But does it actually work?

A big NO from any OBGYN doctor! There is absolutely no data to support any of these claims. It’s simply not biologically plausible that steams can somehow impact your hormones and internal structures.

Does steaming help with vaginal prolapse?

A case reported second-degree burn after vaginal steaming in a woman who believed steaming could help with vaginal prolapse. It’s pretty clear that vaginal steaming is not only NOT helpful, but also dangerous to your vagina.

Prolapse is largely due to weakness in the pelvic floor muscles, which occurs frequently in women after vaginal birth. Since it’s a muscle condition, steaming is not going to work. Instead, pelvic floor exercises, pilates and physiotherapy will help.

Verdict? NOT helpful.

Can steaming clean the vagina?

A significant proportion of women use vaginal steaming for cleaning purposes, as the practice supposedly helps prevent infections. Similarly, there are a lot more feminine hygiene products in recent years, which claim to balance the pH and remove harmful bacteria in the “natural” way.

Although they sound healthy, the truth is that these marketing claims are not backed up by scientific evidence. Your vagina is a “self-cleaning oven” with a delicate balance of native bacteria. It is also equipped with a naturally protective mechanism called discharge, in which dead cells and harmful pathogens are moved outside the body.

Any intervention, such as douching, steaming and washing with chemical products can disrupt this balance, and wash away beneficial bacteria. So, if anything, you should be avoiding these products and practices instead.

Verdict? NOT helpful.

More reasons NOT to do it

Apart from the physical harms that vaginal steaming may do, this practice is also rooted in the toxic thinking that the female body is dirty and deteriorating. That’s why feminine products and “rejuvenation practices” like steaming are promoted to “optimize” women’s body. This thinking is not accurate and nor healthy for women, especially new mums who are just getting used to their postpartum body.

Bottom line

When it comes to caring for the vagina, less is more! Leave it alone and don’t waste your money on feminine products that may not even be safe. Your body is beautiful in any shape and form, it’s not dirty.

If you do struggle with infections, prolapse, or any other issues related to the vagina, get in touch with Dr Alex Polyakov’s team and see how we can help!