Sometimes it's hard having a...Vagina!
Snatch + grab
If you’re a member of the fairer sex, then it is highly likely that you’ve suffered from a vaginal infection at some point. (Or, if you haven’t — you’re bound to!) You usually know when you have an infection ‘down there’ because you either want to rub your ‘bits’ vigorously on sturdy objects or you want to tightly grasp your ‘lady flower’ (somewhat aggressively) with both hands — in an attempt to smother ‘it’ into submission…
Another way of discovering you have a vaginal infection — in public — is when you develop the sudden need to perform the standing-up-leg-cross-with-slight-bend-forward manoeuvre. This way, you are able to slowly + silently squeeze the living bejesus out of your misbehaving ‘cooch’ while remaining polite company.
Note: It is important to be aware that if you have a vaginal infection you don’t necessarily experience itching. Please see the ‘box’ below for more details.
We women really internalise things when we have 'fanny' problems!
Sometimes vaginas can get hard.
While we girls thankfully have more discreet reproductive organs than our male counterparts, let’s not forget that ours get moist, and that ours are tucked up inside our warm body cavity. This ironically enough, makes our ‘Front-bottoms’ a fertile breeding ground not only for humans — but for opportunistic critters as well!
Our ‘Cupcakes’ can play host to bacteria + fungal + parasitic + viral + sexually transmitted infections.
And, depending upon which critter is affecting you, you may experience any one of the following sets of symptoms:
Itching + no odour + white (scant to thick) discharge
Itching + odour + green/yellow frothy discharge
No itching + fishy odour + grey discharge
Note: If you experience any signs of pain, or bloody and/or pus-filled discharge you should consult your GP immediately.
Sometimes you just feel like you want to scratch your 'snatch' off!
What can cause vaginal infections?
There are numerous ways to upset the delicate microflora of our ‘Honey-Pots’:
— By taking the The Pill
— By taking Antibiotics
— By using Tampons
(This is another reason why I advocate the use of Menstrual cups)
— Having an increased pH level in your ‘Hoo-hee’
— Having a Candida infection
— Having Food intolerances
(These have an impact on your immune system.)
— Having sex
(Yes lubricants are helpful for preventing some cases of vaginal infections)
— Having a poor immune system
(Immune dysfunction can stem from a number of different reasons).
Fight critters with critters!
In my practice, if I know my client is in relatively good health, but I suspect they have a one-off case of Thrush or B.V (Bacterial Vaginosis), I recommend the following treatment (instead of them having to resort to using Canesten or Diflucan pills + creams.)
This treatment involves using a high quality probiotic which must be:
Lactobacillus acidophilus dominant
Come in a VEGE cap
This probiotic will be used both systemically (taken orally), as well as used locally (as a pessary). Essentially you saturate yourself in the good stuff.
It is important to note, that the suppliers of these capsules will not acknowledge their use as a pessary. This is because the capsules have only been tested + approved for their ability to break down within 20 mins in the hydrocholoric acid of the stomach. However! Some Naturopaths recommend our clients use these as pessaries — to treat vaginal infections — with great success. There are multiple reasons for this.
As the name would suggest, acidophilus helps to make your ‘Wah-Hoo’ more acidic by lowering the pH level. Pathogenic substances (bad bacteria and the like) find an acid environment inhospitable.
The probiotic acts like an antibiotic
The good bacteria literally crowd out the bad bacteria
The vege cap dissolves or breaks-down in your vagina
This means you don’t have to prepare anything messy to insert or douche with. And you don’t have to fish anything back out!
And finally, we recommend you also take a probiotic orally to improve your general immune function.
Note: If you only have access to retail brands (because you don’t have a Naturopath), then I recommend you purchase Inner Health Plus vege caps. However, if you are lucky enough to have a Naturopath (!) ask them to recommend a Practitioner Grade probiotic – I generally prescribe Metagenics: Ultra Flora Restore.
Letting your Practitioner know you have an infection can help them keep track of your health. They can also let you know what to expect from this natural treatment, and if/when you should seek conventional medical care.
Here’s what I recommend to my clients:
01—On the first night of the treatment — before you go to bed
1 x probiotic — inserted up around the cervix.
Note: You don’t have to fish the capsule out the morning – as it will have dissolved.
Make sure you wear knickers and a small pad to bed. This is because when the pill dissolves it can make a wee mess. This is particularly relevant if you suffer from Leucorrhoea. (These are abnormal secretions produced by the vagina during an infection. The consistency of these secretions are similar in texture to cottage cheese.)
1x probiotic (before bed)
02—For the next three days (and two nights)
1x probiotic 2 x daily
(Take 15—20mins before breakfast, and again last thing before bed.)
On that third night you can insert another probiotic — if the irritation from the infection persists.
03—Until the bottle is finished
1 x probiotic daily — morning OR night is fine.
In three more night’s time, you can insert another probiotic — if the irritation from the infection persists.
Note: You usually only need to do an insertion 1—2x to fend off the infection.
Should you find this doesn’t do the trick, you should make an appointment to see your Naturopath or Medical Herbalist.
Garlic + Yoghurt pessaries — I like the theory behind them
I completely agree with the theory behind using these two natural ingredients to over-throw a ‘Vadge’ infection.
However, something about the whole process — for the modern day woman — screams out to me, stuffing a plucked chicken!
And aside from this vivid imagery (and the very good intention), it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to work out that if you pop fresh ingredients into warm flesh… Things are going to start heating up, and emitting not-so-yummy odours!
Note: If you do prefer to use yoghurt in such situations, please make sure the probiotic used contains Lactobacillus acidophilus, and that this good bacteria is alive. It would pay to call the producer of the product to establish whether what they use is viable for you – and not just helpful to make yoghurt!
Here's a glossary of words to describe your 'Glossy'
Vagina — it’s just a matter of semantics really…
I have tried to accommodate everyones name preference for the vagina in this blog-post. However, there is only so much I can write about (or mention) vaginas in one post! Therefore, I apologise to anyone who has not had their name-for-it accounted for 😉
Coslopus (Chelsea Handler)
Pikachu (Chelsea Handler)
Note: Unfortunately, this list is in no way extensive…
Sometimes things can get so bad that we women actually pray we come-back with penises! :-)
In chronic (long-term) or reoccurring vaginal infections
In these types of cases, I get my client to consult a GP for an accurate diagnosis. Following this, I may use probiotic therapy in conjunction with other treatment protocols. These may focus on any (or many) of the following:
— Improving general immune function
(Echinacea is fabulous for treating Thrush — used systemically.)
— Decreasing chronic (long-term) stress levels
— Improving diet + nutrient status
(I find iodine therapy very effective for improving immune status.)
— Lifestyle issues
e.g. treating the client’s sexual partner also so they don’t reinfect them.
Note: If you have an underlying health issue that is causing your chronic or reoccurring infection, the use of medications will only work as long as you use them. Or, you may find that they don’t prove effective at all.
An underlying Thyroid Dysfunction perhaps?
I’m finding that a lot of my female clients that are suffering from chronic Thrush or B.V, are actually suffering from underactive immune function. AND that this underactive immune function is caused from having an underactive thyroid function. (Talk about getting to the root cause of the root cause!)
One of the symptoms of Thyroid dysfunction is that they have a low body temperature. This may account for their inability to muster a fever in order to fight off these low-grade, persistent infections.
Having a bad 'Vagjayjay' infection — with all its mad scratching — is like having Tourettes of the 'Fanny'!
Make an appointment with Lisa
Lisa Fitzgibbon is a qualified (2006), experienced and registered Naturopath and Medical Herbalist.
She runs her own private practice OOMPH, in Grey Lynn (Auckland, New Zealand).
Lisa has been involved in the Natural Health industry for 15 years. She draws on her professional training and experience, as well as her own personal experience to bring you realistic, holistic health advice.
Book online to see Lisa at OOMPH.
Lisa sees clients from all over New Zealand either in person or via SKYPE.