Jada Pinkett Smith and her family steamed their vaginas on ‘Red Table Talk.’

Story Highlights
  • "Red Table Talk" co-hosts steamed their vaginas on-camera. The ancient practice is said to relieve pain and cleanse the vagina.
  • Vaginal steaming can lead to genital burns and yeast infections, so gynecologists warn against it.
  • Instead, wash your vulva with gentle soap and water and do kegels to strengthen your pelvic floor.

“We’re going to steam our vaginas on camera,” Jada Pinkett Smith told her mother and daughter. And so they did.

On the latest episode of “Red Table Talk,” Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, and Adrienne Banfield-Norris sat atop large bowls filled with herbs steeped in hot water. By the end of the steaming session, all three women agreed they felt relaxed, renewed, and powerful.

“If you can listen to all these little rap artists talk [about] and abuse the vagina, you sure as hell can watch women give it honor and praise,” Pinkett Smith said.

The steamy experience was just a snippet of the episode, called “Meet Our Wellness Queen,” which features Pinkett Smith’s longtime friend and holistic healer Queen Afua, who talks about the importance of treating your vagina and entire body with care and love.

Vaginal steaming is an ancient practice originating from African, Asian and South American cultures as a way to cleanse the vagina after a person’s menstrual cycle or childbirth, Insider previously reported. Today, fans of vaginal steaming say it can relieve period cramps, treat vaginal prolapse, and improve fertility.

But there’s no scientific evidence steaming your vagina can offer these benefits, gynecologists told Insider. In fact, vaginal steaming could increase bacterial buildup and lead to yeast infections. At worst, the steam could burn the vagina’s delicate skin.

Vaginal steaming isn’t proven to cleanse your vagina

In recent years, vaginal steaming has become popularized in celebrity culture, with Chrissy Teigen sharing her experience on social media and Gwyneth Paltrow reportedly raving about the practice as a way to purify your uterus. 

But experts say the practice is unfounded at best, and dangerous at worst.

As gynecologist Dr. Jen Gunter wrote in her book “The Vagina Bible,” the idea that steam can cleanse your reproductive system is “physically impossible, as steam cannot make it through the cervix and into the uterus.”

physically impossible, as steam cannot make it through the cervix and into the uterus. Dr. Jen Gunter

Dr. Gunter added that the vagina doesn’t need anything to clean it, anyway. The vagina is self-cleaning, meaning it can regulate itself without any special products, Insider previously reported.

If, however, you want to wash down there, you can apply unscented gentle soap and warm water to the outer genitals, or vulva, gynecologist Dr. Sherry Ross previously told Insider.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris | Red Table Talk / Facebook
Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris | Red Table Talk / Facebook

The steam could create a breeding ground for bacteria

Any outside steam or other concoctions, like a vaginal douche or even scented soaps, have the potential to cause vaginal imbalances.

If air is introduced along with the steam, that could favor the growth of dangerous bacteria. Dr. Gunter

Dr. Gunter

Indeed, an overgrowth of vaginal bacteria can cause a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis, a condition that makes the vagina feel itchy, smell fishy, and develop a thin, gray, white, or green vaginal discharge, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris
Jada Pinkett Smith, Willow Smith, Adrienne Banfield-Norris

To treat pain and prolapse, try proven methods

If a woman has vaginal prolapse, pelvic floor-strengthening exercises and surgery are the best treatment options.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, vaginal prolapse surgery can tighten the walls of the vagina to prevent organs from falling out of place.


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