When (and when NOT) to Vaginal Steam

If you’re reading this, you probably already know that vaginal steaming–also known as yoni steaming– has been around for centuries and is all about giving your female anatomy some much needed TLC. It’s a great way to honor, cleanse, and rejuvenate your vaginal area. But as much as we love yoni steaming, there are certain situations when it’s best to give it a miss, and other times when it’s ideal to give it a try.

Note that we’re not offering any medical advice here, just general info! And also note that you may have your own specific reasons for deciding why and when to steam–there is so much to consider on this topic. This post is a general primer and starting point. With that in mind, let’s get started!

When to DO it!

when to use a v steamerOne of the best times to vaginal steam is a few days after your period. Your menstrual bleed will be over and the vaginal area has just completed days of hard work, so it’s a great time for the heat and herb-infused steam to help cleanse and rejuvenate the area. This is probably the most common time that women who are getting started with vaginal steaming will give it a try. If you’ve never done it before, post-period is a FANTASTIC starting point, and it’s possible to see the release of old, excess matter in your next period after doing this.

Another great time to try vaginal steaming is during ovulation, unless you are actively trying to get pregnant. This is a time when you will generally have increased blood flow to the area, which can help to enhance the effects and sensations of the steam and herbs. If you’re trying to get pregnant, some fertility experts recommend steaming around this time (before intercourse), or some time after your period and leading up to ovulation (also known as the follicular phase). Since steaming has the action of stimulating the area and thinning mucous, it’s not recommended to steam after intercourse if you are trying to get pregnant or think you may be pregnant.

If you’ve already had a baby–first, congratulations! Postpartum is also an excellent time to vaginal steam. Opinions vary on when and how exactly to do this, and you may want to wait a little while… but check out our interviews with Keli Garza and O’Nell Starkey for more detailed discussion on timing around postpartum steaming.

Other good times to steam are going to be based more on your own intuition and tuning into feelings in your body: If you’re experiencing mild menstrual cramps or bloating, the increased blood-flow (and thus WARMTH) can provide comfort. Similarly, if you’re experiencing dryness or mild discomfort, yoni steaming can help to moisturize and soothe as the increased blood flow will promote natural lubrication of the vaginal area.

When NOT to do it!

Now, on the other hand….

First things first, if you’re pregnant, it’s best to avoid vaginal steaming unless otherwise directed by your qualified healthcare provider. Pregnancy is a time of “holding” for the uterus and cervix, while the baby is rapidly developing, so we do not want to disturb this process with excess heat.

Another time to avoid vaginal steaming, generally, is during your period. Your menstrual cycle is already a time of increased blood flow and sensitivity in the vaginal area. We want to allow the organs to do the cleansing work they’re designed to do on their own. Again, unless you have a specific reason to steam during your period that has been approved by a qualified healthcare professional, it’s best to avoid it.

Additionally, if you have an active vaginal infection or open sores, please consult an experienced steam practitioner. It’s been documented that steaming can help clear infections if the set up is mild. The heat and steam have potential to further irritate and infect the area if overdone.

Furthermore, definitely don’t try to steam if you have any piercings or other genital accoutrements in! Always take these out before steaming. The steam and heat could easily cause irritation, and even burning especially if they are metal. Similarly, it’s also probably best to avoid steaming if you have an intra-uterine device (IUD) in. If you do have an IUD and are really set on giving v-steaming a try, you should check with your qualified healthcare provider before doing it. Most are recommending short sessions, respectful of the low possibility that the IUD could move.

Lastly, if you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting vaginal steaming. Certain medical conditions or medications may make it inadvisable to use heat or steam on the vaginal area.

In Short…

Vaginal steaming is a great way to connect with your body and give it some love, but it’s important to be aware of the situations in which it’s best to avoid it, and when it’s ideal to give it a try. Pregnancy, menstruation, active vaginal infections, active genital piercings/IUDs, and certain medical conditions are all instances when it may be best to avoid vaginal steaming. And if you’re unsure whether or not vaginal steaming is safe for you, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional before attempting it.

If you’re looking for more information about at home vaginal steaming, please be sure to check out our comprehensive, academically researched FAQ page and interviews with various experts. Thanks for reading!