It was sometime last year that Gywneth Paltrow was going on about this vagina steaming thingy, and how sitting on a pot pourri of herbs in hot water would help to balance out the condition of the uterus. Her words were “sit on what is essentially a mini-throne, and a combination of infrared and mugwort steam cleanses your uterus, et al. It is an energetic release, not just a steam douche that balances female hormone levels.”
As you can imagine, there are lots of ladies who would have gone on to try the “amazing” therapy preached by the celebrity. Notwithstanding the voices of dissent from medical experts, who noted that such a practice, rather than balance anything will only cause more damage to the reproductive tract of the women. We at The Fertile Chick were definitely against such flagrant destabilization of the body’s hormonal make up, not to mention bacteria colony, of this part of a woman that is so tied to her reproductive life.
If you, perhaps, have not heard about Gywneth Paltrow’s vagina steaming, I’m sure you have heard of douching. There are so many products in the market for this purpose. When I was much younger, and was so into beauty products and such, I always found it at the shop of my cosmetics supplier, and every time I made an attempt to buy one, he would say I did not need it. I had asked him point blank, why he did not want to sell to me, since it was for personal hygiene. He had looked me in the face, and told me not to bother.
A friend of mine was later to date a guy who imported cosmetics into the country, douching kits inclusive. I was in cosmetics heaven! My oily face got tested with lots of products, which I got for free. One day, I asked my friend if I could get a free sample of the douching kit. Without much struggle, I got my hands on one of those packs. But did I use it? Never! I always said I would use it on a special occasion, but that occasion never came.
It was years later that I stumbled on information that showed that douching is not an advisable practice for ladies. The vagina is able to clean itself, it does not need help from anywhere to do so. All douching does is to kill off beneficial bacteria in that part of the body. Before you think I’m condemning douching, and spoiling business for those selling it, even ordinary soap, when used to clean the vagina, can constitute a problem. The best practice is to use water to rinse well, and let the bacteria do their job.
Health practitioners say that douching can lead to many health problems, including problems getting pregnant. Douching is also linked to vaginal infections, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So what’s the use.
Back to the matter of cleansing the uterus, there are several reasons for wanting to do so, ranging from cleaning the womb after a miscarriage, to treatment of fibroid the traditional way. Without appearing to bad mouth our indigenous fertility practices, which do work, we can’t deny the fact that there is often a but.
At least in the case of Folake, who battled secondary infertility for twelve years. I mean, by that time, everyone around her thought she was done, and had decided to have only one child. Alas, it was not so. Folake wanted very much to have another baby, but it was not forthcoming, hence she kept trying.
At first, the diagnosis was fibroids, right in her uterus, and they were the likely reasons she was no longer getting pregnant. Upon hearing that, Folake recalled several of her friends who had had fibroids, and they had used herbs to cure the condition. They were the ones she turned to for help.
She got loads of herbs for her usage; some soaked in the local gin, some for use during her period, and another set to be used afterwards. There were even herbs that she had to insert into her vagina, and remove after a specified period of time. All these herbs, she used religiously, and, for a while, she noticed some relief in her condition. Her menstrual flow was no longer that heavy, the pain was reduced, all thanks to the herbs she was taking.
However, did she get pregnant again? No. And that was supposed to the the reason for the whole fertility dance. So, again, she went back to her doctors, and they found that, though the fibroid had shrunk, her uterus was a mess. They had no idea where to begin the treatment from; was it the now blocked tubes, or the endometrium lining that had become so thin that implantation would literally be a miracle. With the visual state of her womb, there was no need to do a hormonal test, as it was bound to come out irregular.
By the time she explained about the herbs, both oral and suppository, the doctors knew they were in for a long battle and hopefully, it would end in a baby for her. Yes, she is now mom to another one year old baby girl, after a twelve year wait for her, but she couldn’t carry the baby by herself. She had to use a gestational carrier.
I was still pondering this story, when I came across another one of these herbal mixtures, called “Herbal Womb Detox Pearls,” which basically appeared to be tiny little herbal air fresheners for the vagina.
The “pearls”, which are sold online, appear to be little balls of herbs and spices bound up with cheesecloth. Basically, they look like a garnished bouquet for your vagina (I actually cringed at that). According to the sellers, these bags of herbs “aim to correct” conditions like endometriosis, bacterial vaginosis, fibroids, and more. They say the pearls are designed to return one’s womb to a “balanced” state, by flushing out “toxins.” Hmmm, I was scared at the mention of toxins.
Since when has the uterus taken on the job of the liver; as in clearing the body of toxins? Every detoxification plan I know of is based on enhancing the ability of the liver to rid the body of as much toxins as possible, by giving it the nutrients it needs to do its job better.
The truth is stuffing bags of herbs up one’s vagina just seems like a quick path to introducing irritants, bad bacteria, and yes, toxins into the body. Even Dr. Yemisi Adeyemi-Bero, during our TFC Chats With… session with her, confirmed that stuffing anything into the vagina, meant for the uterus, can only result in lots of fertility related problems later in life. In fact, she said it was a practice that needs to be stopped, and the more people know of its adverse effects, the better.
And while we are still on the subject of insertion via vagina, I might as well mention the vagina tightening portions that abound in town. How it works, I don’t know, but I feel the end result will be most similar to all these uterus-vacuuming portions. No good.
An Ob/Gyn, Dr. Jen Gunter, puts its succintly, “Your uterus isn’t tired or depressed or dirty, and your vagina has not misplaced its chakra. They want no real help from you, unless there is something wrong, and they will tell you there is something wrong by bleeding profusely, or itching, or cramping badly, or producing an odour.”
Dr. Gunter says sticking a little bag of random herbs in one’s vagina can cause irritation, bacterial growth, itching, and even toxic shock syndrome.
The basic truth; if you are concerned about the health of your uterus, it’s probably better to see a doctor than to buy little bags of potpourri, sit on a vagina steam or douche, all on the basis that they will cleanse the reproductive tract and ‘balance’ things out in there. The only problem with that is, nothing might actually be off balance to start with.
If there is ever any detoxification to be done, please, let’s avoid inserting anything via the vagina or sitting on any steam, it can only cause more harm than good, The reproductive tract is designed to self-cleanse itself, so don’t bother helping nature.
Detox if you must, but let nature do its job down there.
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