Friday, 9 August 2019

Woman sustains second-degree burn after vaginal steaming, gynecologists warn against therapy

The Canadian Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology has shared a case of a woman who got burned while attempting vaginal steaming (v-steaming).

The 62-year-old woman suffered vaginal prolapse, a condition where muscles supporting the pelvic organs weaken, causing the urethra, bladder or rectum to droop into the vagina.

The patient had opted for vagina steaming and believed the treatment could help avoid surgery only to sustain a second-degree burn thereafter.

Vaginal steaming has gained increased popularity as a method to strengthen, tighten, cleanse the walls of the vagina. To also “freshen” the vagina and ease period pains or help with fertility.

Is an alternative health treatment practised in some parts of Africa, Asia, and central America, whereby a woman squats or sits over steaming water containing herbs like mugwort, rosemary, wormwood, and basil.

Celebrities, as usual, have been promoting the therapy on social media with some adding a little caveat.

Popular American model, Chrissy Teigen, last year shared an image of her with the caption: "Face mask / heat pad / vagina steam no I don’t know if any of this works but it can’t hurt right? *vagina dissolves*"

However, Gynaecologists are warning women of the risks of attempting the therapy.

Vanessa Mackay, consultant for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, dismissed claims that the vagina requires extensive cleaning.

While Mackay recommended the use of un-perfumed soaps on the external vulva area only, she warned that v-steaming could be potentially dangerous as there’s no proven evidence for the health benefits many claim it offers.

“The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it. Steaming the vagina could burn the delicate skin around the vagina (the vulva),” she said in a statement.

“It could also affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection (such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush) and inflammation.”

Author of the report, Magali Robert, said the injured woman steamed her vagina on the advice of a traditional Chinese doctor by sitting over boiling water for 20 minutes on two consecutive days.

“Health care providers need to be aware of alternative therapies so that they can help women make informed choices and avoid potential harm,” she said while speaking against the therapy.

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