Vaginal steaming is a natural remedy aimed to cleanse the vagina and uterus, regulate periods, and relieve period cramps and bloating. This is the process of squatting or sitting over a container of hot water with herbs (particularly mugwort, wormwood, and rosemary) that is emitting steam.
1. Supposed health benefits of vaginal steaming
Some specialists suggest that vaginal steaming can be helpful in:
- Painful periods
- Hormonal imbalance
The benefits of vaginal steaming may be due to herbs that you can choose to use.
According to some research, mugwort which is mainly used in vaginal steaming may help improve the autonomic nervous system, which results in a feeling of relaxation.
2. Is vaginal steaming really effective?
The vagina is a self-cleaning body part and doesn’t require additives to balance itself out. Therefore, vaginal steaming for cleansing purposes is simply unnecessary. Such issues like menstrual symptoms or infertility can be fixed by a healthy diet devoid of all processed carbs. However, it’s wise to consult your gynecologist in order to find out the best solution for you.
3. Safety concerns
The most common safety concern is the risk of burns which may be devastating. In June 2019, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada journal published a report of a 62-year-old woman who had second-degree burns on her vagina after vaginal steaming. Vaginal steaming can disrupt the bacteria and pH balance that is naturally maintained by the self-cleaning process. Vaginal steaming can trigger general irritation but more serious side effects of this procedure are different infections such as bacterial vaginosis.
4. Better ways to get some of the supposed benefits of vaginal steaming
Vaginal steaming is supposed to help with hormonal imbalance, painful periods, infertility, and many other issues but, as mentioned above, it’s not only ineffective but also may be harmful. Therefore, let’s find out better solutions for these health issues:
- Dysmenorrhea (painful periods). If you want to use only natural remedies and you're not interested in OTC pain relievers, then eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, try specific adaptogenic herbs or a hot bath. All these things in combination can help you get rid of painful periods forever.
- Hormonal imbalance. A proper diet and stress management are some of the best options to regulate hormone levels. However, always talk to your doctor if you think you have hormone issues to see if some type of medication may be necessary.
- Infertility. Infertility treatment can be complicated and very expensive and may include medications, antibiotics, hormone treatments, and even surgery.
- Fatigue, stress, and depression. These conditions are interconnected, which means one may lead to the other. However vaginal steaming is not an option. Talk to your doctor about natural remedies to manage stress levels.
- Preparing for childbirth. Gentle perineal massage can be quite beneficial. In the final weeks of pregnancy, massage your perineum for five minutes. This is the area between your anus and your vulva. Use a lubricant like a coconut oil to gently massage and relax the birth canal. The goal is to prepare your body for birth.
- Infections. Vaginal steaming can cause infections rather than treat them. If you think that you have a vaginal infection such as a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, consult your doctor to identify a safe and effective treatment.
- Hemorrhoids. Hemorrhoids are swollen veins in the lower part of your anus and rectum. This condition is extremely common, and in most cases, it can go away on its own. You can use some home remedies to make them less painful in the meantime, for example, over-the-counter creams, Epsom salt baths, and loose-fitting clothing to prevent and reduce constipation.