When it comes to your vaginal health, there are some things you can be doing… and things you shouldn’t be doing. Let’s look at a few of them.
Avoid toxic chemicals
You know those tampons you use? Toxic.
I’m not talking about toxic shock syndrome, that can happen from wearing tampons for too long. I’m talking about your toxic exposure from normal use.
Tampons made from conventionally raised cotton contain glyphosate, a weed killer that’s sprayed on many conventional crops, including cotton. While manufacturer’s of non-organic products like to poo-poo all over the organics industry, organic products are not just better for the environment, but they don’t expose you to possible carcinogens.
Did you know that the tissues of the vagina are exceptionally porous and absorbent, and even small amounts of chemicals can be easily absorbed into your bloodstream? The fact that conventional tampons are considered “safe” by the FDA, is not a compelling argument for me. Opt for organic ones to be on the safe side.
I’m sure you know that vaginas are self-cleaning… meaning that they don’t require douching or products to clean them… and they certainly don’t require fragrance.
You should never put any scented products in or near your lady parts.
Some women develop vulvar irritation through chemical irritants found in scented and softened toilet paper, bubble baths and sanitary tampons and pads that contain deodorants.
Wash your clothes (especially your panties), with natural and unscented laundry detergent. Avoid any and all scented feminine products. Anything this isn’t all-natural has no business being up in your business. Got that?
PS: Natracare products are free from all ingredients commonly found in conventional feminine hygiene products: plastic, poly-acrylate superabsorbents (SAPs), petroleum derivatives, synthetic ingredients, latex and perfume. Natracare products are also Totally Chlorine Free (TCF). Chlorine bleaching creates a by-product called dioxin. This poses serious problems for the environment and for women’s health. Dioxin is a known carcinogen and leaves detectable residuals in products bleached with any type of chlorine bleach. In sanitary and personal care products, this type of bleaching unnecessarily exposes women to low levels of dioxins every time they use these products.
Don’t opt for the quick fix
When it comes to vaginal infections, the treatment you chose is important. Understandably, when you have any type of vaginal infection, you want to get rid of it as quickly as possible. However, you must choose wisely.
When it comes to the fixing a bacterial vaginal infection, for instance, you have the option to fix it practically overnight or over several days. I implore you to pick the latter. Why?
Here’s a little narrative between myself and a doctor:
Me: I have a vaginal infection, what can I do about it?
Doctor: Take this pill. It kills everything.
Me: Hmm… I’m not interested in destroying my entire gut flora just to fix my vaginal issue. Seems like overkill. Kinda like going in to take out the bad guy and killing everyone in the village to do it. Is there another option?
Doctor: Suit yourself. You can use this cream instead. It will only treat your vaginal area, and it’ll be gone in a few days, but it may cause irritation.
Me: Why is that?
Doctor: Because it’s full- strength. You want it cleared up quickly, don’t you?
Me: I do, but not at the expense of causing unnecessary side effects. What else have you got?
Doctor: Well, you can use another cream for 10 days. It’s much milder so there’s less chance of it causing irritation. It’s just as effective, but it takes longer.
Me: Why didn’t you offer this suggestion first?
Doctor: Because most women want a quick fix.
Bottom line: You need to ask about all of your options and pick the one that causes the least harm. If the infection is localized to your genitals, why would you risk disrupting your gut bacteria as well? Go for the cream and for the longest amount of days. This is least likely to cause vaginal irritation. Yes, it’s messy and it will take longer, but it works the same and with a lower risk of adverse reactions.
In case you didn’t know…
Repeated courses of antibiotics, as well as poor diet choices, such as refined sugar and processed foods, are factors in chronic vaginitis because they reduce your immune system.
Perimenopause, the 10-15 years prior to menopause, mark a change in hormones that can increase the rate at which you suffer from vaginal infections. That’s because any time there are major fluctuations in hormones… be it puberty, pregnancy or menopause… there is lowered immunity. For this reason, women need to take even better care of themselves to keep their immune systems strong.
Most bacterial infections can be avoided entirely with a strong immune system.
Get a Pap smear
Pap smears are a wonderful preventative measure for vaginal health because they find things before they become a problem. They’re not harmful, they’re minimally invasive (notwithstanding the discomfort of a vaginal exam), and have no side effects.
“The Pap smear is the single most cost-effective disease screening test known to modern medicine. Ever since the Pap smear was introduced by George Papanicolaou, M.D., in the late 1940’s, the incidence of invasive cervical cancer and the death rates from this disease have gone down dramatically.”
~ Christiane Northrup, M.D. from her book: Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom. Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.
Pap smears provide you with information about cellular abnormalities. Abnormalities don’t necessarily mean cervical cancer but could possibly become that if not diagnosed and treated. This isn’t something you can detect on your own.
PS: Be sure to follow up. They’re supposed to call if it comes back abnormal, but there’s no harm in calling to ask about the results. You don’t want to let your health fall through the cracks due to a clerical error.
In case you didn’t know…
The HPV vaccine is not a replacement for regular pap smears.
To date, research only shows that the HPV vaccine prevents precancerous lesions and genital warts, not cancer itself. Persistent HPV infections, poor nutrition and toxic exposures are needed to increase those risks. But most HPV infections resolve on their own. To better protect yourself and your loved ones, you may want to read: The HPV Vaccine On Trial. Seeking Justice for a generation betrayed. by Mary Holland, J.D., Kim Mack Rosenberg, J.D. and Eileen Iorio.
Sex not only feels good, but it’s good for you and your vagina.
You know the old saying… “use it or lose it”… well, this applies to your vaginal health. Regular sex and orgasm will bring blood flow to your vaginal tissues which keep them from atrophying.
Vaginal tissue can atrophy and dry out with low levels of hormones, but it can also atrophy from lack of use! Just as working out keeps your muscles toned, sex can keep your vagina toned.
Frequent sex will keep your vagina toned and happy. 🙂
My vagina is happy. Is yours?
PS: Sex is important to your relationship and your overall happiness.
Be sure to have adequate lubrication
As women get older, and even at different days in their menstrual cycle, women can suffer from vaginal dryness.
This lack of vaginal lubrication can lead to itchiness and painful intercourse. But it doesn’t have to.
If you don’t have enough natural lubrication, use a lubricant.
Never use anything but natural or organic products on your vulva or inside of your vagina.
PS: Personal lubricants can also contain harsh chemicals and fragrances, so read the labels.
I’ll finish all this talk about vaginas with a little quote…
“Why do people say to ‘grow some balls’? Balls are weak and sensitive! If you really want to get tough, grow a vagina! Those things take a pounding!” ~ Betty White
Viva la Vulva!
Photo Credit: depositphotos.com/ Markomarcello