What is a vaginal 'facial'? And, is it dangerous?
Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng answers your sex questions
Q. What is vaginal steaming? What should our private parts smell like naturally?
A. Vaginal steaming is often described as a “facial ” for the vagina and involves sitting over a bowl of steaming water, often infused with herbs.
There is no scientific evidence that it has any benefits, although it has been used in ancient medicine for centuries, from Asia to South America and Africa.
The practice has in recent years become popular in spas as a cleanser for the reproductive organs, including the uterus, cervix and vagina.
The vagina does not require “cleaning ”. The vaginal canal has a specific balance of natural flora called lactobacilli; vaginal cleansing or steaming can alter this balance
and may increase one’s risk of vaginal candidiasis.
Practices such as douching have also been promoted in the past for vaginal cleansing and these are also discouraged.
There is no one natural smell for genitals. Each person’s body odour is influenced by hormonal changes, bacterial growth, and the presence of pubic hair.
Consult your doctor if you have an odour you are concerned about. Many infections do alter the smell and type of discharge.
• Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng (MBChB), sexual and reproductive health practice, DISA Clinic, 011-886-2286, visit safersex.co.za
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