We have a new well-being motto: “Just because Gwyneth Paltrow does it, doesn’t mean you should.”
Vaginal steaming – a.k.a yoni steaming – is an alternative health remedy which involves sitting (naked) over a pot of steaming water infused with herbs. The steam is meant to cleanse the vagina while the herbs (commonly mugwort or wormwood) are said to help regulate menstruation, ease period cramps and reduce bloating. While Gwyneth Paltrow may have made yoni steaming chic, do we really know if it works? And more importantly - is it safe?
The practice of vaginal steaming has been offered by holistic ‘clinics’ as an alternative therapy for some time and embraces detoxifying traditions from Asia and Africa. The vulva is exposed to heat and herbs for perceived hygiene, the elimination of odour and relief of vaginal irritations.
Steaming in Practice
The vaginal steaming trend seems to come from the misguided notion that the vagina needs cleaning. In reality, the vagina is self-cleaning (yes – vaginas are amazing!) with natural secretions that contain good bacteria which are there to protect it.
Some public health officials
believe that steaming itself can be unhealthy. Excessive heat in the vagina may disrupt its natural pH balance, allowing unwanted bacteria and yeasts to grow, not to mention make it itchy.
And while we’re talking about risks - you might sustain second-degree burns
from blowing hot steam up your fanny (if this happens, please get immediate medical attention).
Steaming for Fertility
The microbiome of the vagina plays a pivotal role in fertility. In fact, the lack of naturally occurring vaginal bacteria is linked with females who experience fertility problems
and can impact the outcome of fertility treatments. Vaginal steaming can impair our natural microbiome.
In addition to our microbiome, the pH levels in the vagina can be affected by steam. When trying to conceive, sperm must travel through the vagina and the cervical canal before reaching the fallopian tubes. An imbalanced pH level in the cervix or vagina can damage a sperm enough to prevent it from fertilising an egg
(if it even gets that far).
Steaming and Pleasure
Since vaginal steaming can lead to vaginal dryness
, we think it’s important to highlight that steaming could lead to discomfort or pain during sex. A study
in the journal of sexual medicine found that most females felt more easily orgasmic when sex was wetter and thought their partner preferred sex to feel more wet than dry.
So, for your health, your fertility and your sex life – please don’t steam your vagina.