A woman who was advised to “steam her vagina” ended up with second degree burns on her genitals. The v-steaming or vaginal cleansing methods popularised by naturopaths and lifestyle websites like Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has been slammed by gynaecologists for peddling pseudoscience. The 62-year-old Canadian woman in question was advised to squat over a steaming pan of medicated herbal water to treat vaginal prolapse. But she ended up scalding her privates with steam and had to seek medical treatment for it. Her case report has been presented in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada titled “Second-Degree Burns Sustained After Vaginal Steaming.” The study warns women against using such “alternative” treatment methods to tighten and “freshen” the vagina.
Although Paltrow’s Goop has been peddling the vaginal steaming technique for a while, it has been practised in Chinese medicine for centuries. The report states that the Canadian woman tried steaming the vagina at the behest of a Chinese doctor. She was asked to mix herbal medicine in a pan of boiling water and sit over it for 20 minutes. The woman decided to take second opinion after performing vaginal steaming on two occasions. It was then that the doctors discovered that the steam had left second-degree burns on her vagina.
What is Vaginal Steaming?
Vaginal steaming has been popularised by Gwyneth Paltrow, and she’s been raving about its “benefits.” Her website Goop waxes eloquent about the procedure, which is said to help ease period cramps and bloating. It also claims to cleanse the vagina and the uterus, helping women regulate their menstrual cycle. Other celebs like Chrissy Teigen has also been quite vocal about its benefits. ‘I Like To Steam My Vag!’ Chrissy Teigen’s Comment on Vaginal Steaming on National Television Leaves Tweeple Furious!
It involves exposing the vagina to medicated steam. Women are required to squat over a container full of hot, steaming water mixed with herbs like mugwort, wormwood, basil, oregano, calendula, etc.
At spas that offer vaginal steaming services, the procedure is done with women sitting on a special seat with a hole that shoots out steam directly into vagina. But it can also be performed at home with a pan full of hot water and herbs. Model Chrissy Teigen Shares Photo of Her Vaginal Steaming: What Is It & Is It Safe?
According to Healthline, vaginal steaming has many benefits. It can address problems like stress, depression, infertility, infections, haemorrhoids, headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, hormonal imbalances, headaches and pain.
Does it Work?
Vaginal steaming is a part of alternative treatment and there’s no scientific proof whether there are any benefits or not. Most doctors point out its technical flaw. Steam cannot enter a closed orifice like the cervix let alone reach your uterus and cleanse it.
The only scientific benefit that one can think of is that steaming increases the flow of blood to the lower half of the body, which may offer some modest benefits. Dr Deborah Weatherspoon tells Healthline that the same benefits can be gained by sitting in a hot tub.
What are the Dangers?
Vagina and the uterus are self-cleansing organs that do not need any external aid. Gynaecologists also warn women against using soap and water to cleanse the vagina. Since the vaginal ecosystem is very sensitive, it can be disturbed by the slightest of changes.
There’s also the danger of scalding your privates. Steam injuries are among the worst to treat. Without any scientific benefits and a whole lot of risks, vaginal steaming is just an expensive, pointless endeavour that women should steer clear from.