Ask An OB-GYN: ‘Are Vaginal Steams Really Safe?’

Good news – ESSENCE’s “Ask An OB-GYN” series is back to bring you very public answers to some of your most private questions. When sexual and vaginal health concerns arise, renowned Obstetrics and Gynecology physician Dr. Tosha Rogers wants to ensure you have the answers you need to feel at ease. If you have a sexual health concern or question you want to swing her way, we’ve got you covered.  Email with “Ask An OB-GYN” in the subject line and ask away!

Dr. Tosha Rogers

Q: Are vaginal steams helpful or harmful to the vagina? I’ve done some research and read a lot of conflicting things. Before I invest the time and money, I’d love to ask Dr. Rogers for her take on it.

A: Vaginal steams may seem like a new trend, but they’re not. African & Asian women have been doing them for centuries. Western culture is just getting on board. Do they work? Well, the truth is there hasn’t been any clear scientific data to support the benefits of vaginal steaming. If you ask me, I say yes – but it all depends.

Herbal medicine should be given the same respect as pharmaceutical medicine – sometimes more! Herbs are potent and they work. But like all medicines, if they’re not properly “prescribed” so to speak, you could have a catastrophe.


Different salons, spas and estheticians will sell the vaginal steam with little thought to what herbs are selected for the steam.

I perform vaginal steams in my office using a selection of 23 different Chinese herbs. I took the time to learn which herbs serve what purpose with respect to reproductive health. I tailor the steam to the patient’s issues and concerns. One size does not fit all.

Can vaginal steams be harmful? If you’re sitting on a pile of twigs that have no medicinal benefit, possibly. When you go to have a vaginal steam, ask questions. Inquire what herbs are being used and what their purpose is. Be clear on what your issues are and what you expect to achieve with the steam. Understand the mechanics, meaning how hot does it get and how far your vagina will be from the pot. It never hurts to be an informed, inquisitive consumer!


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