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What Is Vaginal Steaming?

Everything You Need to Know Before You Book a Postpartum Vaginal Steaming Session

After having her second baby, a son named Miles, Chrissy Teigen has really amped up her postpartum realness in more ways than one. The latest? A "vagina steam" while indulging in a home spa day that also included a face mask and heating pad. Because Chrissy will be Chrissy, which means doing everything with some level of humor, it's easy to laugh at her appearance and use of the term "vagina steam," but as it turns out, vaginal steaming is a very real thing that people do — sometimes at fancy spas — after having a baby.

Thinking a vaginal steam might be right up your hoo-ha alley? Read ahead to find out more about the treatment.

What is vaginal steaming?

Vaginal steaming is like a sauna session for your undercarriage — it's a natural remedy that seeks to clean the vagina and uterus postbirth through the use of herb-infused steam that you squat over.

What are the benefits of vaginal steaming?

Although all claims to benefits are just that, there are several alleged positives to vaginal steaming. In addition to cleansing the vagina and reproductive tract, it's said to regulate periods and hormones, ease menstrual cramps, and aid in pelvic floor issues. Some who support the practice also claim it relieves stress, depression, hemorrhoids, infections, infertility, headaches, fatigue, digestive issues, and generalized pain.

"One benefit may be that the moist heat from the steam increases blood flow to the vaginal area, though this isn't well-studied," says Dr. Deborah Weatherspoon, PhD, RN, CRNA.

Is vaginal steaming safe?

Although vaginal steaming could be done at home using a basin of steaming hot water infused with herbs, most doctors don't recommend it. According to Healthline: "There's no scientific research to prove whether vaginal steaming is safe. But your vagina isn't meant to be steam-cleaned. An overheated vagina may provide the perfect environment for bacteria that cause yeast infections and other vaginal infections to thrive. Vaginal skin is delicate, sensitive, and easily traumatized. Using it as target practice for a plume of warm steam may cause vaginal burns or scalding." Additionally, some herbs, when used topically, can cause an allergic reaction.

Because there aren't any medical guidelines for steaming your vagina at home — and the internet is a seriously contradictory place — it's recommended you consult your physician before giving it a whirl (especially if you're pregnant).

Does vaginal steaming actually work?

According to Healthline: "It's possible vaginal steaming may make you relax and ease cramping like a heating pad does, but evidence it cleanses your vagina or uterus, improves fertility, and balances hormones is purely anecdotal." Dr. Manny Alvarez, chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Science at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, backs that up, saying, "vaginal steaming may help you relax, but little else."

Is vaginal steaming necessary?

As with all things involving your own body, it's completely up to you whether you deem vaginal steaming a necessary practice, but you should definitely consult your physician before doing so, just to be safe.

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