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Understanding vaginal steaming: The do’s and don’ts

Published on:11 May 2021, 10:30am IST
Vaginal steaming is known to cleanse the vagina and uterus, regulate menstruation and ease period cramps, but is it safe? Let’s find out.
Nikita Bhardwaj
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Let’s find out what vaginal steaming is and how it even works . Image courtesy: Shutterstock

We have to confess, reading about steaming your vagina may come across as slightly off the cuff and could perhaps make you uncomfortable. However, you would be shocked to know that vaginal steaming is an age old procedure to cleanse the vagina. So, while steaming is quite effective for face cleansing, we need to be more careful as vaginal skin is more sensitive than most areas of the body. Therefore, to make sense of this practice, let’s learn what a gynecologist has to say about this subject.

Vaginal steaming – fad or fact

Dr. Milloni Gadoya, gynaecologist at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Mumbai agrees to the fact that vaginal steaming is not a new technique. She says, “Vaginal steaming was majorly used to cleanse the vagina as there were no feminine hygiene products like vaginal washes at that time. Other than that it was used for the uterus to ease period cramps and reduce bloating.”

It’s time to take care of your vagina. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Here’s how you can do vaginal steaming 

Although the process isn’t as tedious as you may think, you still need to be really cautious due to the sensitivity of the area. 

Dr. Gadoya suggests that vaginal steaming is a herb infused steam that exposes your vaginal lips to the said steam. “The process involves women sitting or squatting over a container of herb infused steam. You can use herbs like basil, oregano, calendula, chamomile and wormwood. One thing that you should remember is that the entire session should last for 20 to 60 minutes, and anything more than that can be harmful,” suggests Dr Gadoya.

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Does it really work and how safe is it? 

“There is no scientific study to suggest that steaming works in any condition. It may help u relax and relieve pain and inflammation which a sitz bath does. There is no evidence to suggest whether it penetrates the vaginal tissues and corrects infertility and hormonal imbalance. The reason for this being promoted is cultural rather than scientific,” explains Dr. Gadoya.

When it comes to safety concerns, Dr. Gadoya says that, “There is no scientific data to suggest the safety concerns with steaming. Overheating and keeping the vaginal area moist may predispose the women to bacterial and fungal infections.  It can also cause vaginal burns and scalds if not careful. Vaginal steaming is not recommended during pregnancy as some herbs can cause miscarriage.”

Apart from cleansing the reproductive tract it allegedly relieves stress, depression, hemorrhoids, infections, hormonal imbalances, infertility, fatigue, headaches, pain, and digestive issues.

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The bottom line

Vagina has a self-cleansing system, with its own ecosystem that maintains the ph levels. And, while there is no proven study to demonstrate the efficacy of vaginal steaming, it is still safe as it uses hot water fermentation on the pelvic area to ease cramps. The herbs used can also cause an allergic reaction in the vagina and do more harm. Before hyping any unproven procedure in the name of luxury, it is always beneficial to consult your gynecologist for detailed information regarding the pros and cons of the procedure.

So ladies, though not every DIY hack is worth trying, this one may be undertaken if proper precautions are maintained or a doctor is consulted. 

Nikita Bhardwaj Nikita Bhardwaj

Six-pack abs are all that Nikita needs, along with her daily dose of green tea. At Health Shots, she produces videos, podcasts, stories, and other kick-ass content.