KUALA LUMPUR, August 12 — A Canadian woman sustained second-degree burns when she tried to steam her genitals in a bid to help treat her prolapsed vagina.
BBC reported that the 62-year-old woman attempted the vaginal steaming treatment, which involves sitting over a steaming bowl of water containing a mixture of herbs, on the advice of a traditional Chinese doctor.
The case study was published in the June issue of the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada.
According to author Dr Magali Robert, the woman sat over boiling water for 20 minutes on two consecutive days, after which she went to the emergency room and got diagnosed with second-degree burns on her cervix and vaginal membranes, Live Science reported.
The report appeared to be the first documented case of vaginal steaming causing burns, said Dr Robert from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Calgary.
“Health care providers need to be aware of alternative therapies so that they can help women make informed choices and avoid potential harm,” she wrote in the article.
BBC reported Dr Vanessa Mackay, a consultant and spokeswoman for the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, as saying it is a “myth” that the vagina needs extensive cleaning or treatment.
“The vagina contains good bacteria, which are there to protect it,” she said, as she recommended washing the external vulva with plain, unperfumed soaps.
“Steaming the vagina could affect this healthy balance of bacteria and pH levels and cause irritation, infection (such as bacterial vaginosis or thrush) and inflammation. It could also burn the delicate skin around the vagina (the vulva).”
Vaginal steaming became a popular treatment in 2015 after US actress Gwyneth Paltrow’s lifestyle brand Goop recommended it.