Ladies, let's face it. Our vaginas go through a lot – from the monthly menstruation, sexual intercourse to childbirth. Our bodies need some sort of pampering like massages to unwind and rejuvenate. The same goes thing goes for the vagina.
What is Vagina Steaming?
Vagina steaming, or yoni steaming, is an ancient natural method of cleansing the vagina and uterus to help regulate menstruation and lessen cramps and bloating during this period. Thanks to the positive reviews and shout-outs by celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow, the practice became even more popular in today's age.
The main idea of V-steaming is to detoxify and cleanse the organ. It involves sitting over a steaming pot of water infused with herbs such as basil, mugwort, calendula, wormwood, chamomile, rosemary, and oregano. A large towel or skirt-like tent is placed on the waist down to keep the steam contained.
Vaginal steaming lasts typically 20-30 minutes, which is enough time for the steam to reach the genitals. The procedure could be done at home using a portable steaming kit that could be bought online or at high-end spas. Those who steam their vaginas swear on the benefits of the practice.
Logically speaking, steam has always been used in many ways for wellness purposes. Those with a cold and feel congested with mucus stand over a pot of boiling water and let the steam loosen the sinuses and improve air circulation. Steam is used in spas to open the pores for a deeper clean, whereas steam in saunas promote sweating and the detoxification process.
Steam on the vagina is expected to work in similar ways but a different target. Given that the organ is quite delicate, the process of V-steaming is a very gentle one.
The Growing Trend of Feminine Personal Hygiene
In 2017, the United States alone sold over $5.9 billion worth of feminine hygiene products. Worldwide sales were at $20.62 billion and will double by the end of 2020. It is no surprise that the female hygiene industry is a steadily growing one. The more readily available personal hygiene products are, the bigger the demand.
Furthermore, women are becoming more and more aware of female health and hygiene practices. Many are making the change to more sustainable and safe alternatives that even help the environment, such as menstrual cups.
One clear trend on the feminine hygiene market is geared towards those that live an active lifestyle and expect increased functionality alongside healthy skin maintenance and odor control from the products. Organic pads or tampons were created to meet this demand.
The feminine personal hygiene industry will continually use technological advancements to innovate products to meet the volatile demands of the market.
As women become more well-versed in personal hygiene practices, more attention is placed on the organ that was always thought of as self-sustaining. It only makes sense to give our private part some extra care after all the things it does for us, especially the monthly flushing of blood and tissue from our uterus to keep us healthy, fertile and functioning.
The Good on Vagina Steaming
"I always look forward to my V-steam treatment, which I indulge in monthly, either in Singapore or when I visit Jakarta, Indonesia, for business. The first few minutes always feel a little weird, because the vapor is wet and hot, and you can actually feel it entering your vagina," says a stay-at-home mom who frequently goes for her V-treatment in different countries like Singapore or Indonesia where the practice is available at spas.
Below are some of the potential benefits of vaginal steaming, although no formal studies have concluded the assumptions.
- Periods become less painful. This means reduced cramps, bloating, exhaustion, and heavy bleeding.
- Periods become more regular, and those with long cycles experience shorter ones while those with short cycles experience the opposite.
- Period blood becomes more "healthy-looking" with fewer occurrences of black or brown bleeding.
- Fibroids and cysts potentially decrease.
- Fertility is said likely be increased.
- For those who recently gave birth, vaginal steaming is said to induce faster postpartum recovery.
- Those who missed their periods experienced a more regular menstruation cycle.
- Vaginal infections are decreased.
- Large clots are minimized during periods.
- Herpes outbreaks are managed.
- Vaginal steaming is a stress-relieving process.
- Those who get their vaginas steamed experience better sleep, increased libido, and natural lubrication during intercourse.
The Bad on Vagina Steaming
We looked at the benefits; now, let's look at the cons of v-steaming. The main thing to look out for when steaming a very sensitive part of the body is the temperature. The hot steam could burn vaginal tissues.
Moreover, when one adds extra moist heat to the vagina, the natural balance of the organ could be offset, which could increase the woman's risk for bacterial or yeast infections because of the additives from the steam. Infections and other complications could also be acquired from bacteria buildup on vaginal steaming equipment that is not cleaned correctly.
Gynecologists and obstetricians also reject the claims that vaginal steaming cleanses the insides of the vagina because nothing is supposed to be able to enter the organ unless manually parted. "It is not possible to clean or treat the inside of the vagina this way," says Dr. Christopher Chong, an obstetrician and gynecologist. "The vagina is a closed passage. Even when you go for a swim, water cannot get in. You would have to manually open the vagina for water or steam to find its way in."
Should You Try?
Yes, women who can try vaginal steaming are urged by avid fans to try the procedure. As long as the instructions are followed correctly, or the technician at the spa is experienced at the task, there should be nothing to worry about. It is, after all, a relaxing experience.
Some tips to remember would be never to force yourself to endure the burning sensation of the heat and only accept what is comfortable for the vagina. It is also advised to avoid sitting too close to the steam. To be safe and sure, women should try bringing up the subject to their gynecologist, because only they would know the current state of the organ.
Who should not steam
Just because vagina steaming is all the rage doesn't mean women should do it anytime. The biggest no-no for v-steaming is for those who are trying to conceive. Those who are in the middle of infection are also advised not to steam because the heat could worsen the condition.
Those who are pregnant, at risk of spontaneous bleeding, have had their tubes tied, and using some types of birth control that create a thick uterine lining aren't advised to steam.
For those who want to try vagina steaming at home, below is a suggested method:
1. Pour about eight cups of water (preferably purified) into a medium covered pot.
2. Add the herbs into the water. Avoid using essential oils as they are too potent for the sensitive vagina tissue. Note that each type of herb has its unique effects, so the particular type to be used is dependent on preference.
3. Let the water soft boil for about five minutes.
4. Turn off the water and let the herbs rest and blend with the water for at least five minutes.
5. Transfer some of the water into a basin and wave your hand 8-10 inches above the water to test the temperature.
6. With your clothes waist down removed, squat, or stand over the bowl. A tip would be to put the basin on top of the toilet for easier reach.
7. Use a towel to wrap around the waist and legs to keep the steam contained.
8. Steam for 20-30 minutes if using hotter temperatures or 30-60 minutes for warmer water. Feel free to dump the lukewarm water and refill with a hotter batch.
It's quite easy to do at home and even accessible at some spas – vaginal steaming might be an uncommon practice in today's age, but it is worth the try. As long as safety measures and precautions are followed, the whole process is an enjoyable and relaxing one. Women who wish to improve their fertility, or want to address PCOS, irregular periods and fibroids, have added v-steaming into their wellness routines.