Vaginal Steaming: The Worst-Smelling Way To Accomplish Absolutely Nothing

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steamWhen I logged into work this morning, my co-workers said, “Meredith, we have a story for you. It’s about vaginal steaming.” I said, “Been there. Done that. On it.”

Vaginal steaming…that’s where you drape your vagina over a hanger and then use steam to get the wrinkles out, right? Close. It’s where you boil herbs in water and then crouch over a pot to let the steam hit your delicate parts. It’s supposed to have all kinds of health benefits, according to an article at the Elephant Journal, like regulating your period or increasing your fertility. That brings me to the story of my one experiment with vaginal steaming, when I was a desperate woman about to try IVF for the second and last time and was willing to give anything a shot.

When you’re dealing with infertility, you end up reading about anything and everything that has ever helped a woman get pregnant. And after a while, if you’re like me, you might go a little cuckoo and think things like, “Pineapple! I need to eat more pineapple! Maybe that’s why I haven’t been getting pregnant!” Because when the standard options aren’t working, thinking outside the box feels like the only option you have left.

I started going outside of traditional medicine by trying acupuncture. It was very relaxing, but it didn’t help me get pregnant. Then my acupuncturist recommended that I try a vaginal steam bath to “clear things out.” Is there a more horrifying vagina-related sentence than that one that doesn’t involve hot wax? I think not. But I was game, and by “game” I mean “just give me the bag of herbs for my vaginal steam bath.” I was instructed to boil the herbs in water, get a chair with some kind of mesh or open seat, put the pot underneath me and a towel over my legs, and use this as an opportunity to pop in my Rosetta Stone Spanish CD.

“Estoy teniendo un baño de vapor vaginal.”

Things went badly from the start. First of all, I had not anticipated that what looked like a bag of potpourri would smell like rotten flowers with a little bit of meat in it. Second, I never fully thought through how I was going to conduct the steaming, given that I had no chairs with any kind of breathability. I ended up putting my huge pot of meat flowers into my bathtub and squatting over it, like the lady that I am. And third, I didn’t think about how I was going to dispose of this horrible mess afterwards, but I can tell you that trying to pour it down my bathtub drain was the wrong way to go.

The more you know.

Did vaginal steaming increase my fertility? Not so much. All it left me with was a swampy vagina and an odor in my home that I told my husband was “a new recipe gone wrong” when he got home and asked what the hell that smell was.

But I’m just one woman. Maybe other woman have tried it and found that it does “remove toxins,” and “assist with the healing of hemorrhoids.” As for me, I think I’ll stick with modern medicine and it’s delicious chemicals and sterile, odorless conditions. You can call me unnatural, but you can’t call me Meat Flower.

(Photo: Angel_Vasilev77 / Shutterstock)