ADVICE: Should I be steaming my vagina?

The vagina is an internal organ, so no, don't steam it. You could even get second-degree burns.

Maja Begovic 3 minute read April 16, 2021
vagina steaming

Doctors say do not steam your lady parts. Getty

Dear Asking for a Friend,

A co-worker said that she routinely steams her vagina, apparently it is good for vaginal health as well as calms cramping. Should I give it a try? 

Signed, Steamy Lady Parts

Dear Steamy Lady Parts,

When your co-worker embarked on the vaginal deep cleaning rabbit hole, she may have consulted her social media feed instead of a healthcare provider — a simple Google search reveals that gynecologists generally advise against vaginal steaming.

The old-age practice gained popularity thanks to claims that it can help cleanse and destress the vagina, treat irregular periods, relieve cramps and bloating, help treat cysts, fibroids, vaginal prolapse, and help those struggling with fertility get pregnant. In 2019, nearly four years after it was first featured on Goop, vaginal steaming became one of the top beauty trends of the year.

Also known as yoni steaming or V-steaming, this alternative health practice involves sitting or squatting over a bowl of hot water infused with herbs, such as chamomile, mugwort, wormwood, calendula, basil and oregano. No doubt that each of these herbs are potent and have proven health benefits, but don’t expect that squatting over a hot bowl of water for 20 to 60 minutes at a time can improve vaginal health.

“There is no reason why women should be doing this,” says Dr. Ashley Waddington, obstetrician and gynecologist, assistant professor and co-director of contraception, advice, research and education (CARE) fellowship at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Queen’s University. “The name of this procedure is total nonsense because the vagina is an internal organ — you might only be getting steam on the vulva, which doesn’t require any special cleaning other than water and possibly a mild soap.”

The fact of the matter is that there are no proven, science-based health benefits of vaginal steaming, but what it can do is fry your lady parts.

The first case of second-degree burns caused by at-home vaginal steaming was reported and published in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology Canada. The incident sent a woman to the emergency room where she was required to wrap the area with a gauze, change the bandage multiple times a day and delay her surgery for vaginal prolapse until the area healed.

Waddington says that there are a lot of products and services that market to women’s insecurities about their genitals, none of which are necessary as they do not provide any proven health benefits. Contrary to what you might read on the labels of douching products, deep cleaning of the vagina is ludicrous — Waddington says that because douching products are used internally, these can disrupt the pH balance of the vagina and lead to infection.

Dr. Jennifer Blake, president and chief executive officer at The Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists of Canada says that “the vagina is a carefully balanced environment in our body, which changes throughout the menstrual cycle and life stages,” and that vaginal steaming may cause disruptions to the natural balance and lead to pain, painful intercourse and infections.

The bottom line is that there is no evidence to suggest that steaming can help improve vaginal health, regardless of the claims that you might read about online. If you have a health concern, you’d be better off to consult with and follow the advice of a medical expert.

Is there something about health that you (or a friend, wink, wink) have always wondered about, but are too embarrassed to ask? Send a note to We promise your ‘friend’s’ secret — and identity — is safe with us.

Don’t miss the latest health news. Subscribe to Healthing’s daily newsletter.


Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil forum for discussion and encourage all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour for moderation before appearing on the site. We ask you to keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications—you will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, there is an update to a comment thread you follow or if a user you follow comments. Visit our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.