In western medicine, cramps are considered part of the menstrual cycle that women have to endure. If the cramps are severe doctors often prescribe pain killers or period suppression (i.e. depo shot, oral contraceptives and so on). They might go so far as to surgically remove the uterus all together.
Although such methods are common and widely accepted as safe, each one comes with considerable side-effects and are not viable options for many. One of my customers, for example, had originally opted to suppress her periods following her doctor's recommendation but had to stop after a year because it was causing liver damage. Such situations are not uncommon leading women to search for alternatives.
One all natural alternative that is gaining popularity in the West is the practice of vaginal steaming. Vaginal steaming is an ancient practice that is not uncommon in other parts of the world. A simple non-invasive procedure that involves sitting directly over steam, it is often performed right at home. Most commonly vaginal steaming is used for postpartum care, but can also be used if menstrual problems, such as cramps, arise.
Although no formal medical studies have been performed to study the effectiveness of vaginal steaming as a cure for menstrual cramps, a growing number of case studies point to it's potential. Let's look at some of the results.
Case Study A: "Nora"
Nora, at the age of 37, had debilitating cramps not only during her period but during the entire month. Her doctor tested her for pcos, endometriosis, fibroids and even an ectopic pregnancy but was not able to find any problem. He prescribed her a high dose of ibuprofen and sent her home. Feeling like she had no other options, she bought a vaginal steam sauna and decided to give it a try. A couple weeks later she wrote:
"I was so sure I would have to wait a few months for results because something is always off for me and my body, but here we are!!! Pain free period immediately after steaming. So many years went by that could have been avoided."
Nora's results were remarkable. And very quick. Our second case study also had quick results.
Case Study B: "Tanya"
Tanya has fibroids and bought a steam sauna in the hopes of treating her fibroids naturally. After a couple months of steaming she wrote me the following message:
"My goodenss I'm so glad I started steaming!!!! The cycle I had right after my steam was pain free! And I haven't had cramps at all since I started. Thank you so so much!"
The results aren't always as quick, however.
Case Study C: "Andrea"
In the case of Andrea, her cramps didn't go away as quickly as Nora and Tanya. After steaming Andrea, unexpectedly, experienced more pain during her first period. I suspected that her uterus might be contracting in an effort to push out something that was stuck. I recommended that she increase her frequency of steaming. During her second period, she continued to experience intense pain until, on period day 3, a large clot, unlike any she had ever seen before passed. After that, Andrea reports feeling a huge relief and says that all the pain was gone. Since then it has been nine months and Andrea has not experienced cramps again.
The experiences mentioned above are not out of the ordinary. Dozens, if not hundreds of case studies with similar outcomes exist warranting the question, is there scientific reason behind this ancient remedy?
From the results I have observed, it appears that the uterus--a self-cleansing organ--sometimes performs with less success than expected. Much like a person can get uncomfortably constipated if the colon, also self-cleansing, malfunctions, women can get menstrual pain if the uterus can't get all the contents out. Vaginal steaming appears to help create a purge. Women have reported an increase in brown discharge, paint-like chips, clots and even black pungent blood. After this cleanse, fresh red menses increases and the pain and cramps subside. This common sequence of events leads me to draw the following two conclusions.
First, menstrual cramps are caused when the uterus is having trouble performing it's self-cleansing action and old residue gets built up along the uterine walls.
Second, vaginal steaming appears to help clean old residue out of the uterus and, consequently, alleviates menstrual cramps.
Some would argue that vaginal steaming is not capable of cleaning out the uterus because the cervix is closed and doesn't allow steam to enter directly into the uterus. The resulting purge of old residue that occurs after vaginal steaming would suggest otherwise. Many women report feeling a warmth in their uterus while steaming and some release brown discharge (old menstrual blood) directly after steaming. Such discharge would suggest that the cervix is open after the steam session.
Although doctors haven't performed medical studies to test these ideas and verify exactly how vaginal steam is working to eliminate cramps, one thing is very clear. Pain is not part of being a woman. It's a sign that something is wrong. Vaginal steaming appears to make it right.