Please Don't Steam Your Vagina

Please Don't Steam Your Vagina

Despite Gwyneth Paltrow's criminally suspect beauty empire's signature phrase, a woman was left in not particularly "Goop health" after a run-in with the Goop-endorsed procedure of vagina steaming.

First reported by New York Post, a 62-year-old Canadian woman received second-degree burns after being instructed by her traditional Chinese doctor to sit for 20 minutes over a pot of boiling water infused with herbs.

Her injury was documented in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada, in an article by Dr. Magali Robert, a professor at the University of Calgary Calgary, which explains that although vaginal steaming has long been used in some Asian and African cultures, the procedure can be dangerous.

The remedy, which has roots in traditional medicine, was recently popularized by Goop. The beauty brand did not take heed of warnings, when raving about the procedure and spas that offer it. A review on Goop of a Los Angeles spa called Tikkun reads:

"We're burying the lede though, because the real golden ticket here is the Mugworth V-Steam: You sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release. If you're in LA, you have to do it."

The "medicinal properties of the V steam" for your "uterus et al" are listed on Tikkun's website above the disclaimer, "The above statement have not been evaluated by the FDA. The above product/service is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any diseases or conditions." The alleged benefits of the practice include:

  • Stimulates the production of hormones to maintain uterine health
  • Protects the uterus from ulcers and tumors
  • Soothes while strengthening the nervous system
  • Stimulates menstrual discharges and the production of milk
  • Aids in restarting regular menstrual cycles
  • Eases fatigue, headaches, abdominal discomfort and nausea
  • Lessens the effects of renal calculi, rheumatism, arthritis and gout
  • Helps fight infections
  • Kills intestinal worms
  • Helps correct digestive disorders
  • Warms the body

Goop debunker in chief, gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter, who's also taken down Goop's vagina eggs and the conspiracy that bras give you cancer via her "Bad Goop Advice" column, says of steaming your uterus: "Don't." She also explains that vaginas, despite what obnoxious bros think, don't need cleaning.

"The vagina (and uterus and vulva for that matter) should be viewed as self-cleaning ovens. We know that douching is harmful, heck, even seminal fluid can be harmful (exposure to multiple partners without condoms is a major risk factor for imbalance of the vaginal ecosystem). The upper and lower reproductive tracts have very intricate mechanisms for regulating local health and they are very easy to mess with. It's a delicate garden, if you will. So one needs to be thoughtful, nay conscious about what one uses in said garden."

"Steam isn't going to get into your uterus from your vagina unless you are using an attachment with some kind of pressure and MOST DEFINITELY NEVER EVER DO THAT," she says, addressing the claim that the steam benefits the uterus. "Mugwort or wormwood or whatever when steamed, either vaginally or on the vulva, can't possibly balance any reproductive hormones, regulate your menstrual cycle, treat depression, or cure infertility."

In conclusion: "Steam is probably not good for your vagina. Herbal steam is no better and quite possibly worse. It is most definitely more expensive."

To be fair, Goop doesn't recommend home applications of the v-steam, like the one that caused aforementioned burns. However, Dr. Gunter's analysis simply doesn't leave those who possess a vagina with much reason to drop $50 at a spa for 30 minutes of a treatment that might screw up their vaginal ecosystem — the only legitimate affect of which seems to be: "warming the body." If you or your vagina are cold, please just take an FDA-approved bath.

Photo via Getty