Let’s begin by saying…your vagina is perfect. This part of your human body is well-designed, low-maintenance and even able to adjust to changes in your body as you age.
So why do some wellness sites, many in the name of female empowerment, say it needs work? Even popular celebrities have begun recommending women try methods of vaginal “care” for various therapeutic and spiritual reasons.
From a medical standpoint, simply put—these remedies could cause more harm than good. For example, here is a non-exhaustive list of things your vagina does not need:
- Vaginal steaming
- Jade eggs
- Food items
Don’t: Vaginal Steaming
Vaginal steaming proponents advise sitting over steaming water, often infused with herbs, to ease symptoms related to periods or menopause, to improve fertility, to ease postpartum healing and more. They claim the warm steam could balance hormones, cleanse the uterus or provide other benefits.
However, it’s not good science. Hot steam likely will not pass your vulva – in fact it could easily burn sensitive tissue here – and it could not reach your uterus to offer any advantages.
In addition to burns, the steam could also create the right type of warm environment for bacterial growth or vaginal infection. Irritation could occur, or the herbs could present an allergic reaction. And for pregnant women, it’s even more problematic.
For all of us, it makes sense to give this practice a pass.
Don’t: Jade Eggs
Jade eggs are also now trending again. It is suggested that jade eggs deliver benefits ranging from a strengthened pelvic floor to an energetic boost when inserted and held in your vagina.
Unfortunately, they could also hold bacteria – not great for prolonged contact with your vagina – and the type of ultra-flexed pelvic exercise they provide could actually cause pelvic pain or pain during sex. For pelvic floor therapy, a visit with a qualified healthcare provider is your best bet.
Other benefits touted for jade eggs are simply, physiologically, impossible. Another easy “no.”
Don’t Try This, Either
Some items are designed to be used in your vagina and can be washed between uses or discarded after one use. Contraceptives, menstrual products and sex toys fit in this category.
Before inserting anything else, think about the science. Your vagina doesn’t need to be “cleaned” with douches or tinkered with using items from your kitchen such as yogurt, lemon juice, oregano oil or anything else.
Your vagina maintains its own pH-balanced environment thanks to the healthy balance of bacteria inside it. Introducing other substances could throw off your body’s ability to protect itself and make you susceptible to irritation, infection or even chemical burn.
Some of these techniques are held over from outmoded beliefs related to feminine care, related to the idea that the vagina needs cleansing or revitalization. Luckily, we know this is not true.
The Right Way to Care
This area of your body surely is an important one, but it doesn’t need any special tricks to stay healthy. See your healthcare provider annually and get regular pap smears and HPV tests. And be sure to ask questions or speak up if you have concerns about any changes you notice. Your provider can help.
Don’t fall for marketing disguised as “science” or celebrity endorsements. Not only are the benefits questionable at best, it could be harmful. Take care of yourself—and your vagina will take care of itself as well.