How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My Vagina and Flipped Western Medicine the Giant Bird: Using Vaginal Steaming to Recover from Pelvic Surgery Scarification

How I Learned to Stop Worrying About My Vagina and Flipped Western Medicine the Giant Bird: Using Vaginal Steaming to Recover from Pelvic Surgery Scarification

Published by Hannah Smith LaFrenz on 12th Jun 2016

First things first - Hi! I'm Hannah! So nice to meet you all. Just a bit of a heads-up...I have this kind of open greet-y goofy overly-enthusiastic bordering on #GoldenRetrieverPuppyLevel of friendliness and gregarious conviviality in my social persona (AKA #MyPeoplingRobot) that kinda overwhelms everything so I usually end up over-sharing and exploding information all over everyone so let this serve as a disclaimer:

If you are reading this post you are in the SPLASH ZONE. A flail-y awkward traumatized ginormous mammal may smack you in the face with graphic truth and soggy wisdom. I personally recommend dancing in the rain but if you're a tarp and umbrella sorta person please don't click the back-links. All right let's dance❣❣❣

So...I have an intensely complicated and extensive (some would even call them mythic) personal and familial medical issues.

Like, seriously there's a lot.

Basic 411 - chronic cellulitis, lymphatic scarification, premature ovarian failure, structural deformities, an autoimmune disorder, radiation damage, surgeries upon surgeries upon surgeries and over a decade of mismanaged hormones have led to the resulting pelvic equivalent of the DMZ...that whole area is a fucking battlefield. It bears these scars because it marks where my Spirit FOUGHT to stay in THIS Body.

That battle is over - homegirl is here to stay. The battle I am fighting currently is to make this vessel a more effective, powerful, and comfortable home for my Spirit.  (CUE SIA!) While I am grateful for the lessons and the reminders of my scars I am now ready to recover all my functionality. Realistic goal: recover my hooter enough to enable intercourse again.

Fantasy goal: heal ALL myself enough to reboot my fertility entirely.  

So - given the epic medical vaudeville show that is my history I imagine you wonder how exactly I wound up smack-dab in the middle of Crunchtown at the corner of WooWoo & Ew!


At this point I feel like a professional patient. I am 39 but have been in menopause for over a decade.

I've given birth by cesarean to one child from one pregnancy, concurrent with development of Stage IV Liposarcoma, followed immediately by intensive cancer treatment, surgery, radiation, chemo the works...hence the menopause.

I am also post-Bariatric  (Vertical Sleeve Gastrectomy 11-06-2010) and have recently been diagnosed with Rheumatoid, GERD, a hiatal hernia, and who knows what else. Also, battling disordered eating of every sort so the diet part is key for me.

When your paperwork lists “General Malaise” -literally - as one of your official diagnoses, you know they have pretty much given up on figuring you out. So I’ve basically flipped Western Medicine the giant bird at this time (shhhh...don’t tell anyone, but I think they’re trying to kill me).  

Given my history, frequent conversations at family gatherings, meetings, church, the store, support groups, the park, like - basically anywhere I go - will somehow wander over to the basement region if you catch my drift. Women are always at varying degrees of comfort and openness when discussing their female concerns...but I have yet to meet someone that shares TOO much for me.

It was in one such conversation with my cousin I was first introduced to a new intervention she was trying. She told me that she bought a vaginal steam sauna from a girl we grew up a couple doors down from as kids. I thought I was ready for alternative but I wasn't this ready.

So I joined a Vaginal Steam support group on facebook and quietly followed all the posts from the safety of my computer. 

After a few months of my gentle initiation process bringing me into this web of healing, I felt a little tingle in my Spirit (or Gut, Intuition, Yoni, or Heart, whatever the person is comfortable calling that *SpideySense*) saying with soft insistence- “Tonight, we steam!” 

(My loquacious brain then chimed in: Furthermore no more delaying or procrastinating with the perfectionism of creating your steam chair or having the nice clean open zen private location. No. No more waiting for ideal. Just get your hooter over some hot water STAT!)

<side note … #KlutzySpirit is totes my new moniker>

So I found a stainless steel pot that fit in my toilet. Boiled some f*cking water in it and plunked it straight into the bowl. Grabbed my hugest beach towel I own, planted my booty right over the pot, put my feet up on my SquattyPotty (which PS if you don't have one you are missing out - they are the best!!!) Wrapped the towel all the way around my hips and legs making a mini tent. Stayed on for about 12 minutes and I was very comfortable. It felt relaxing and I was glad to know my skin didn't burn or get sensitive in any way. Given the circulatory and nervous issues in my nether regions I needed this VERY mild and conservative first trial  just to assure myself of its hippocratic threshold. The next step, I built my own custom commode and added herbs. #LifeSkillsFTW 

So...what is unique or special about the healing practice of therapeutic vaginal steam? Uhm, only everything. This issue of women-led Healthcare is a VAST SEA of drama, trauma, issues, triumphs, grievous loss, and shenanigans beyond measure - so we have an endless bounty of wisdom and hope from which to draw. At the same time we must be aware we are each of us newly discovering this as well as reminding ourselves of what the MindBody already knew. 

Squatting over a warm pot of decadent herbs is an absolute luxury of time, focus, selfless care, and pause in a world that rushes to and fro night and day. Well for someone with my kinda trauma history and medical factors steaming my hootch feels fucking incredible!!!

I can feel my muscles and tissues softening. I can feel the emotional comfort and supportive release brought on through the aromatherapeutic effects of our miraculous #PlantPowerHouse herbs. I am truly growing to love these wonderful herbs and the process of meeting each new one has been a blessing and a lesson every time. #LoveMyPlantPals

And at the end of a long taxing day and a long peaceful steam I have actually laid down belly-first, to heat my lower tummy and try to soften up some of the woody fibrotic lumps that so painfully persist in this Body. I've even dozed off in this position and wow what utter peace. What deep slow soothing heat that feels like sun warming your shoulders on a chilly day. It's just straight up human comfort.  It is #GoodMedicine.

And the emotional component...the release, the heal, the compassion, the reveal, the gathering and letting go, the drawing in and pushing out...this is all part of the power of the Divine Feminine. If we are to fully regain our power and influence as humans we must embrace the feminine.

This is the most important and also most personally challenging aspect to this modality. There's not much in the world that's  more feminine than Vaginal Steaming. Our Divine communion will heal this world, one hooter at a time.

So, I know you all really want the bottom line which is DOES IT WORK? What have my results been so far. Keeping it 100 - no, I haven't magically regained all of my functionality yet. Has it made post-trauma intercourse possible again for me? Not yet. But it has been a key step for me at this point in my healing. My Physical Therapist (well, more specifically, my Vagina's Physical Therapist) restricted me from even attempting any further dilation until my mucosa were more stable. (Micro-tear's are nobody's pal!) I do feel my tissues are more resilient and less friable than they were before - even compared to when I was on HRT and Estrace and testosterone ointment and everything else. 

Recurrent steaming and healing nourishing herbal teas have done more for my progress in this area than anything else I've tried in over a decade in this circus. So the good news I am beginning to start gentle stretching and dilation efforts. Bottom line for me at this point: healing steam is powerful #BodyMedicine and we should all be about it. Period. 

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