My periods have always been painful but for the past 6 years they became unbearable to the point that every month I would question whether or not this was normal. I’d be in meetings barely paying attention, wanting to go back to bed and popping Advil like it was my actual job. I had developed a pain on my right side that shot down my leg and sometimes even to my foot. At some point the pain in my abdomen became chronic. When enough was enough, I went to the doctor. I found out I have a uterine fibroid half the size of my uterus and an enlarged liver. My liver was enlarged because I had been taking so much Advil. I was shocked that something was wrong with me but, also, relieved I now knew the problem.
So I went on a mission and researched all of it. I found information that said, “fibroids are no biggie, so many women have them”…”fibroids are serious and can cause infertility”…”fibroids go away with hormones”…”fibroids don’t go away with hormones.” Basically, I couldn’t find any real concrete data on these suckers but, what I did know, is that I wanted it out, and now!
I had heard about vaginal steaming from a few friends who used it to address cramps and swore by it. I always wondered if I should try it. In researching further, I watched a short documentary Demystifying the V-Steam about the work of Keli Garza and her company Steamy Chick. When Garza mentioned that vaginal steaming could address fibroids I had a feeling this might be my answer. I ordered a vaginal steam sauna and, while waiting for it to ship, went to three doctors for an assessment of my other options.
All of the doctors suggested birth control to stop the pain or surgery to remove the fibroid. What about vaginal steaming I asked?
Doctor #1 (Cedars Sinai): “the cervix is closed so the steam would never get into the uterus, also fibroids are hard as a rock and even if steam could reach the fibroid it wouldn’t do anything-it can only be removed with surgery.”
Doctor #2 (Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital): “that's so silly…steam…no that wouldn’t work but I’m sure it might have a placebo effect where you think you feel better but nothing is actually changing.”
Doctor #3 (UCLA Medical Center): “Eh, I’ve never heard of that and it doesn’t sound like it would do anything.”
I was pretty disappointed these docs didn’t know more about steaming and I wasn’t interested in their options for treatment--there really aren’t any alternatives to drugs or surgery (?!)
Feeling hopeless about my medical options, I forged on patiently waiting for my sauna and soon it arrived. Reaching out to Garza directly regarding my situation, she advised that I steam everyday for 3 months except during my period. At that point I could do a follow up ultrasound to see if there was any change in the fibroid size.
Ladies, I’m 6 weeks in and I’m here to share with you what has happened so far. During my last period my cramps went down by at least 50% and I only had to take 6 Advil! Additionally, my period reduced from 7 days to 5 days. Furthermore, I no longer have pain in my abdomen throughout the month and I sleep like a baby. I’ve also noticed another change--steaming has helped me to reconnect with my body. I’ve started letting go of resentment built up from being angry I had horrible periods. I hate being slowed down by anything and I hadn’t even realized the toll that attitude towards my period had taken on me until the dialogue in my mind towards my body shifted. I feel empowered, whole and for the first time ever very certain I’m on the right path to healing my body.
I have another month and a half of full-time steaming to go and I already anticipate that I don’t think I’ll want to stop. To have something that I can use to heal my body that is so calm and so natural makes me emotional to think about. Because now at the end of the day I sit on a box with flowery steam, catch up on whatever has my interest at the time and heal me.
P.S. I’ll be sending out holiday cards to those docs with an update on how I’m doing ;)
About the Author:
Amanda Greene is a Los Angeles based music manager. Her hobbies include working out, long-distance bike rides, cooking, reading success stories about fellow entrepreneurs and, of course, music.