Are you experiencing vaginal symptoms more frequently than you think is normal? Or do you always have vaginal symptoms even when you treat with them with over the counter treatments?
If you said yes, you’re not alone. Did you know that vaginal infections like thrush and Bacterial Vaginosis commonly reoccur in women?. Even when they have treated with pharmaceutical medication
Do you change your behaviour to manage your symptoms?
Up to 60% of women experience repeat symptoms after their first episode of Bacterial Vaginosis or vaginal thrush. For some women the symptoms become a part of their everyday life. I’ve had women tell me that they have had symptoms for so long they are not really sure what is normal anymore. They have learnt to live with them. Managing them by stopping behaviours they know make it worse. Changing their underwear frequently. Avoiding social situations of the sexy type and generally letting their vagina dictate the rules. Does this sound like you?
Vaginal health can have big impacts on fertility, pregnancy, STI risk and on your emotional health
Vaginal health is very important and can influence your risk in pregnancy and childbirth, sexually transmitted infection risk and impact your emotional health and relationships.
If you are having frequent episodes chances are you have an imbalance in the microbes of your vagina (vaginal dysbiosis) and an imbalance in the pH (acid level) of your vagina. The pH balance in vagina is meant to be acidic. This is because the acidity protects against pathogens introduced through activities like sex and hygiene practices. Not to mention the interaction with the outside environment. If the pH is not acidic enough, microbes can cause symptoms.
The good news is that there is plenty you can do about it, which can help you, break the cycle of symptoms and imbalance and get back to enjoying a symptom free, worry less life.
5 Things you can do to help your vaginal health
Start helping your vaginal microbes with these 5 easy tips:
- Eat a plant diverse diet with good sources of fibre and colour. This type of diet will improve the amount and type of bacteria in your digestive system. Some of which influence the microbes in your vagina.
- Eat a source of fermented food daily: This can include kimchi, sauerkraut, kombucca, kefir and yoghurt. By eating a small amount of fermented food daily you will help introduce bacterial colonies in your digestive system that can help re-establish balance in your vagina. And if you can tolerate fermented dairy they supply Lactobacilli. Lactobacilli are the main bacteria type in a healthy vagina.
- Avoid douching and activities that are attempts to clean the internal vagina. Most importantly, whilst douching may help symptoms, it can further disrupt the precious ecosystem inside you vaginal canal making you more predisposed to imbalance and infection!
- Switch to organic sanitary items. Some preliminary research suggests that chemicals in tampons can damage the sensitive cells inside the vagina, causing some microbes to get out of control
- Stop smoking and drinking. Less smoking and high alcohol intake can also benefit you. Both are risk behaviours when it comes to vaginal imbalance
Seek help. Don’t worry over something that you can get help with. If the symptoms don’t abate, get worse or more frequent or are worrying for you. Touch base with a professional for a full assessment.
How can Intimate Ecology help?
Intimate Ecology is a unique health service, which addresses vaginal health in a holistic and integrative way. An assessment with Intimate Ecology practitioner Moira Bradfield covers your entire health history and screens you for activities that may be stressing your vaginal colony or creating ongoing imbalance. Intimate Ecology will work with your medical professional to achieve best outcomes. You don’t have to suffer in silence.
You can contact Intimate Ecology to book an appointment via email, phone or online booking.
Skype/online consultations available to certain regions.
Moira Bradfield is a Naturopath and Acupuncturist living on the Gold Coast Australia. She is passionate about vaginal health and is embarking in PhD studies in 2018 looking at vaginal health.
Moira has been in clinical practice since 2001 and has practiced in Australia and overseas. This means she is experienced and aware of the issues faced by people in different locations.
M.Acu, B.Nat, Dip TTM, AHPRA (Acu), ANTA