BEND, Oregon — An Oregon woman claims to have “cured” her endometriosis through a process called “pelvic steaming.” The alternative remedy suggests using boiling water and stinging nettles to help relieve symptoms associated with the painful ailment.
Kyleigh James, 29, was diagnosed with endometriosis at age 24 and felt there was nothing she could do to overcome her symptoms. Endometriosis is a condition whereby tissue resembling the uterus lining can grow in other areas, such as the bladder or bowels, according to the CDC. The condition left her in “debilitating pain” at any point in her cycle. She discovered pelvic steaming in her mid-twenties and says her agony vanished.
What is pelvic steaming?
Pelvic steaming, also known as “V-steaming,” involves squatting or sitting over a pot of hot water, sometimes infused with herbs. Users believe the practice carries health benefits.
There is no cure for endometriosis, and women may experience infertility and heavy bleeding in addition to the pain. More than 1 in 10 American women (11%) ages 15-44 are diagnosed with endometriosis. Treatments typically include hormone therapy, surgery, and painkillers. The Office on Women’s Health notes that some alternative treatments include “acupuncture, chiropractic care, herbs like cinnamon twig or licorice root, or supplements, such as thiamine (vitamin B1), magnesium, or omega-3 fatty acids.”
Other medical experts suggest avoiding perfumed soaps, as these can change the healthy balance of pH and bacteria in the vagina, which will clean itself.
“When I was diagnosed with endometriosis, I felt hopeless. I was having debilitating pain for a long time and I had gone through the process of ultrasound to see if it was cysts,” James explains in an online video post. “Sex hurt, my day-to-day hurt and I heard about pelvic steaming on a podcast. I got my kettle going, a heat safe safe bowl and added some camomile leaves from my pantry. I kneeled over it and it felt so relaxing and amazing. I noticed my pain started going away.”
James was diagnosed with endometriosis in 2017 and was worried as women in her family had hysterectomies after having children. After a month she also noticed “signs of vaginal infection disappeared,” adding that, “I usually would have gross discharge, foul odor and chronic yeast infection and was told it was normal and to deal with it.”
James had tried an array of different birth control methods often relied on to mitigate endometriosis symptoms.
“I was no longer buckling over in pain and everything started to really fade,” she says. “At the end of 2019 I got certified as a pelvic steaming therapist. I started helping a lot of people I knew and during Covid my business grew as I helped women online.”
James recommends women use just water and some herbs to steam with. She steams at least once a week herself, calling the process “gentle and warming,” but may steam for three consecutive days after her period, she says. According to the pelvic steaming therapist, women with uterine fatigue need to be more careful and should research suitable herbal blends.
“In general, you can do it with just water but I recommend nettle leaves as they are blood replenishing,” she says. “You can find herbal blends on Etsy.”
She recommends steaming 10 minutes at a time.
“Use a heat safe or glass bowl, a liter of water is a good amount. Once your water has boiled, kneel somewhere comfortable with it in between your legs and covered you hot box it – covering it a towel, blanket or wrap. Whenever it’s comfortable for you, you crouch down over it and adjust your hips into a kneeling position. If you have a low couch or bed in front of you, you can lean forward and put your hands onto it,” she explains. “You can go for about 10 minutes, until the steam dissipates. You can go for longer if you want just go with your gut. If you have a tender womb type I wouldn’t go for that long straight away.
“You feel warming all down your legs and stomach but it doesn’t always feel like that, it depends on how low you sit and how relaxed your muscles are,” she continues. “Now I have a relationship with my body. It speaks to me.”
Before trying pelvic steaming or making any changes to your daily health routines, it’s always recommended you first speak with your doctor.
South West News Service writer Lydia Patrick contributed to this report.
Just more pseudoscience.