Evewoman : Vaginal steaming: Does it work and is it safe?
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Vaginal steaming: Does it work and is it safe?

Vaginal steaming is said to have many, although unsubstantiated, health benefits (Photo: Shutterstock)

There is a new spa trend that has set the internet alight - the V-Steam. It involves steaming your lady bits.

From our little research, practitioners claim the new spa treatment has a few health benefits such as regulating menstrual cycles and boosting fertility through balancing hormones.

Hollywood’s elite have led the way with A-listers such as Gwyneth Paltrow recommending an “infrared and mugwort steam” on her lifestyle site goop.com.

Mugwort, an aromatic herb, common in Korean and Chinese traditional medicine for hundreds of years, is said to be capable of balancing female hormonal levels.

Although the ‘detoxifying’ claim has not been substantiated by medical research, this hasn’t stopped women from going for a steam.

But according to Dr Stephen Mutiso, a gynaecologist at Kenyatta National Hospital, the vagina doesn’t need a detox. He adds that it is a self-cleansing organ and does not need any stimulation to go through this process.

“Clean water is all your vagina needs. Steaming sounds cool and fantastic until it messes up with the normal flora. A slight imbalance in how things are supposed to be in there could cause you a lot of problems,” Dr Mutiso points out.

Vaginal steaming could be an old practice said to cleanse the vagina and uterus but this isn’t something Dr John Ongech, also a gynaecologist at KNH would advocate for. According to him, during the process, the soft tissues around the vulva could be burned leading to more complications.

“The quantity of the herbs used is not regulated which might alter the natural pH of the vagina. This might interfere with the natural bacteria which means the cleansing process is also interfered with. This may sound ridiculous, but you are exposed to diseases like vaginosis, yeast and fungal infections by going for such steams,’’ he adds.

Also known as Yoni steaming, it is done by allowing steam to permeate the vagina, cervix, uterus and the entire reproductive system. The yoni steam is usually infused with herbs which are activated through the steam.

As the new trend catches up, Dr Maurine Mutua, a gynaecologist, says no scientific research has been done to prove the benefits of vaginal steaming.

Cost

The process which takes less than an hour is mostly offered in high end spas and salons and costs between Sh1, 500 and Sh2, 000.

Benefits it is said to offer:

  • Cleansing and revitalising the uterus by getting rid of unwanted tissues
  • Balances hormones especially if you have irregular periods
  • Cleanses the vagina
  • Boosts fertility
  • Reducing menstrual cramps
  • Tightening
  • Reduces fatigue and stress
  • Gets rid of yeast infection
  • Reduces uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts
  • Ease symptoms of dryness and pain during intercourse

The process:

1.   Water is boiled with herbs that may include; basil, rosemary, mugwort and wormwood.

2.      The steam/water is left to cool for at least 10 minutes

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3.      Sit or squat on the steam seat for at least 30-40 minutes

4.      You can wrap a towel from our waist downwards to prevent the steam from escaping.

You can’t do it if:

  • You are pregnant because the steam warms up the cervix which could open up the birth canal
  • You have an IUD, just like pregnancy it might come out
  • You have genital piercings
  • You are on your periods as the purging can lead to excess bleeding

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