Gwyneth Paltrow's Beloved 'V-Steam' Procedure Leaves Woman With Second Degree Burns

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A 62-year-old Canadian woman was hospitalized with second-degree burns after a vaginal steaming session—a Goop-endorsed practice—went horribly awry.

The woman’s misadventure was chronicled in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Canada; apparently, she tried the practice as a way of remedying vaginal prolapse. Per the New York Post,

The 62-year-old woman’s traditional Chinese doctor advised her to mix an herbal medicine blend in a pan of boiling water and sit over it for 20 minutes. The woman told her doctors she did this twice, then sought a second opinion — at which point doctors found she had sustained the second-degree burns.

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Vaginal steaming is practiced by women in many countries around the world for a variety of reasons, like following childbirth and enhancing male pleasure. Though its medicinal worth has not been proven, it has been promoted by everyone’s favorite lifestyle site, Goop, with claims that it would “cleanse your uterus, et al.” (“If I find benefit to it and it’s getting a lot of page views, it’s a win-win,” Goop Overlord Gwyneth Paltrow told The Cut.)

That’s all well and good, until you mess something up and wind up with a scorched vag! The Guardian also reported that in addition to accidentally sizzling your nethers, V-steaming can also introduce other problems:

But heating the vagina isn’t necessary; it’s kept at body temperature (37C), which is perfect. Any hotter and unwanted bacteria and yeasts such as candida will proliferate, normal enzymes start to get sluggish and increased blood flow due to the heat will make the vagina itchy.

The water vapour in steam isn’t a good idea either. The vagina is kept naturally well lubricated with oily substances. Water isn’t hydrating to cells. On the contrary, water can wash away natural oils, leaving the vagina poorly lubricated and more prone to cuts and irritation. Thrush, caused by an overgrowth of candida, thrives on warm, damp conditions, so is a definite risk from steaming.

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All that being said, it does sound pretty relaxing, like one of those Vick’s humidifiers for your crotch. I’m not going to do it, though! I don’t think!

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