The Wellness Trend Your OBGYN Wants You To Avoid Like The Plague

When it comes to vaginas, our culture makes it seem like they require a lot of upkeep. And it's been this way for a long time. In the mid-19th century, douching first became popular in France before making its way to other countries around the world (via The Atlantic). Cleaning the vagina with a liquid solution was meant to, well, clean the vagina and also prevent pregnancy and/or infections. However, that's not how douching actually works. If anything, douching can lead to health problems in that region (via All About Women Obstetrics and Gynecology).

Fast forward to over a century later, although there were other vaginal up-keeping methods introduced along the way, and vaginal rejuvenation became the thing to do. Unlike a bit of unnecessary cleaning, this one involves unnecessary genital cosmetic surgery to either tighten the vagina or make the vulva more "attractive" (via research published in the International Journal of Women's Health). But want to know a fun fact? Vaginas don't need to be tightened as their chock-full of muscles that can be easily exercised if you regularly do your Kegels and there's no such thing as a standard of beauty for vulvas, so trying to make that part of your body more attractive is just, for lack of a better word, silly. Every vulva is lovely in its own way. But now we have something else that's become popular, and similar to most vagina-related trends, your OBGYN would really like you to skip this one, too.

What is vaginal steaming

Basically, it's called vaginal steaming, and it involves squatting over steaming water from anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes, so you better be a good squatter (via Medical News Today). "Also known as 'V-steaming' or 'yoni steaming,' vaginal steaming involves squatting or sitting over a pot of hot, steaming water that is infused with herbs," OBGYN Talia Crawford, M.D., tells the Cleveland Clinic. "A blanket is often wrapped around the lower body to prevent the steam from escaping."

If you've ever had a facial, you know that steam is used to open the pores. Or, if you've been in a steam room, you know that steam is used to release toxins. But vaginal steaming isn't meant to do these two things. Although Crawford says there's no scientific evidence to prove that vaginal steaming does what vaginal steaming boasts, those you practice it believe it helps with fertility, balancing hormones, pain relief, increasing energy, and mental health illnesses like depression and anxiety, just to name a few.

Why your OBGYN wants you to avoid it

Contrary to what our culture might tell us when it comes to the vagina and vaginal health, the vagina doesn't need to be cleaned by products. Unlike other parts of the human body, the vagina cleans itself, and does so perfectly (via The Guardian). "Although this steaming has been used all over the world it makes no sense," Lynette J. Margesson, M.D., FRCPC tells Women's Health. "Why would one do this? The steam almost never gets inside the vagina. Steaming would just affect the vulva and potentially scald the skin. Unfortunately, women mix up the vulva and vagina all the time. They, too frequently, are taught that the genital area is a taboo, dirty area — how sad!"

Since there is no scientific proof that it works or that it's even safe, it's probably (read: definitely) best to skip it (via Healthline). Both the vagina and vulva are sensitive areas, with delicate skin and tissue that doesn't want — or need — to be cleaned. Ever. Unfortunately, because we live in a phallic-centric world, vaginas have always and will probably always get a bad rap. Because of this, those of us with vaginas will never be free of these types of trends popping up and making empty promises. But as long as you know that the vagina is totally able to take care of itself — unless, of course, you have an infection, in which case you should contact your doctor stat — then you can avoid falling for these types of things. Not only will your vagina be grateful you did, but so will your wallet.