Sun | Dec 8, 2019

Dear Doc | Severe itching and burning after vagina steaming

Published:Sunday | May 27, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Q Dear Doc, I have a serious problem. I went to do a vaginal steaming a little over a week ago. At first it felt really good and tingly and wet, but now, I am having a serious problem down there. It is very uncomfortable and itchy and tender, and it burns whenever I pee. It even feels uncomfortable to wear panties and the burning worsens whenever I bathe.

They said it was safe and would detox me, but I feel something has gone wrong. What could be causing all this to happen? Is it the toxins coming out?

A Vaginal steaming is an old practice whereby a woman squats or sits over steaming water containing various herbs.

It has become all the craze lately, promising to not only cleanse and detox the uterus and vagina, but also to reduce menstrual cramps, regulate irregular menses, reduce menstrual bleeding, treat infertility, and relieve menopausal symptoms.

Vaginal steaming has also been aimed at enhancing male sexual pleasure by causing vaginal tightening, all while having the added benefit of being sexually arousing as the heat increases the blood flow to the vagina.

However, vaginal steaming may actually be causing more harm than good!

First, the vagina doesn't need any special treatments to be cleaned or detoxed. The vagina cleans itself! Yes, it is like a self-cleaning oven, and trying to cleanse your vagina with steam can be drying to the vagina, and, instead, disrupt the natural bacteria that lives in there. Some of your discomfort may be stemming from that and you may have developed a yeast infection, or a bacterial infection, and this would account for the itching.

My other concern is that steam is hot and vaginal steaming may result in someone burning themselves, and unfortunately, the vagina isn't the only thing that could get burnt. Your vagina is right next to your bladder and rectum, so a bad burn could damage the lining between the two of them and cause a lot of discomfort as well as other issues. This would be the worse-case scenario. This could also account for your burning and discomfort when urinating, as well as the burning.

I strongly recommend that you see your doctor and have them take a look.


Help! I'm severely constipated


Q Dear Doc. I suffer from severe constipation and only have a bowel action once per week. Can you suggest how I can become more regular.

A Constipation is a common complaint and can be due to a variety of causes. Most people can treat constipation at home, and it includes changing some behaviours, eating foods high in fibre, and using laxatives or enemas, if needed. Here are a few suggestions.

The bowels are most active following meals, and is often the time when stools will pass most readily. By paying close attention to your body's signals, you may have an easier time moving your bowels. If you ignore your body's signals to have a bowel movement, the signals become weaker and weaker over time.

Increasing fibre in your diet may reduce or eliminate constipation. Fruits, vegetables and beans are particularly helpful in preventing and treating constipation. Especially citrus fruits, prunes and prune juice. Some breakfast cereals are also an excellent source of fibre.

If behavioural changes and increasing fibre does not relieve your constipation, you may try taking a laxative. A wide variety of laxatives are available for treating constipation. Laxatives are available as preparations that you take by mouth or as suppositories, or enemas that you insert into the rectum. Suppositories and enemas work more quickly compared to oral preparations, but many people do not like using them. Be careful, however; taking stimulant laxatives regularly or in large amounts can cause side effects, including low potassium levels, so use with care.

You can try these treatments at home, however, if you do not have a bowel movement within a few days, go see your doctor for further assistance.