It's something that we don't normally talk about, but a topic that us women need to get comfortable with a little more... and that's our vagina and it's health.
There are so many of us feeling very alone, dealing with a multitude of problems and thinking that the only way to solve the issues are by chomping down on medication or just grinning and bearing it. However, the time has come to change all that, as I uncover some of the most common issues and how we can help ourselves.
Thrush and Yeast Infections
Thrust and yeast infections affect almost every woman at some point in their life and is frequently advertised in the media with wonderful creams and pills to 'treat that internal itch", yet no one seems to want to uncover what is actually going on in the body. The type of yeast that causes the infection is called candida albicans and develops in favourable, damp conditions like armpits, naval, mouth, in the ears, nails, gut, and you guessed it... the genital areas. When this grows out of control however in the vagina, symptoms such as itching, discharge, bleeding, pain and smells can develop. Candida can overgrow in the body due to birth control pills, antibiotic use, a high sugar diet, hormonal imbalances, a weak immune system, allergies, and stress, but luckily, there are natural things that we can do to help treat the issue:
- Remove sugar and most carbohydrates such as grains, alcohol, and some fruits as they feed the yeast
- Take a good quality probiotic to feed the good bacteria that can keep candida under control
- Consider using an alternative to oral contraceptives
- Take caprylic acid, which pokes holes in the wall of the yeast cell, causing it to die
- Eat loads of garlic as it can penetrate the yeast cells and is one of the best options for fighting the infection
- Heal your gut by eliminating inflammatory foods so that the yeast doesn't enter the blood stream (leaky gut is really common with candida infections so this step is super important)
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
According to statistics, at least 50% of women will develop a UTI over their lifetime, and due to antibiotic resistance, there's been increasing concern as to how to treat it. UTIs can be an indication of an imbalanced gut flora so taking steps to detect what is going on in the tummy is a crucial step. Additionally, there are plenty of home remedies shown to be highly effective at treating these issues:
- Drink 5-8 glasses of water to flush the bacteria out your system and make sure you go for a wee frequently (don't hold it in!)
- Up your vitamin C as this can make urine more acidic, inhibiting the growth of bacteria as well as boosting the immune system. Camu camu is one of the highest vitamin C rich plants on the planet, which is why I've included it in the Sparkle Potion.
- Wipe from front to back to make sure bacteria doesn't pass into the urethra
- Wear cotton underwear and loose fitting clothes to allow air to pass freely
- Pack in some probiotics to help balance the gut flora and boost the immune system
- Drink pure, concentrated, no sugar added, organic cranberry juice (from a health food shop) as there is evidence that cranberries are an effective UTI treatment
- Again, consider opting for an alternative to oral contraceptives
- Take D-Mannose, which is a supplement that prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract walls
- Eat loads of garlic (as above with yeast infections)
For both infections, using a topical remedy can also be really beneficial, and so I've created a recipe that you can just whip up at home:
Natural Cream For Your Lady Parts:
½ tsp probiotic powder (either open a capsule, or I love Wild Nutrition's multi strain biotic in loose form)
1 tsp coconut oil (a natural antibiotic)
Just mix together to create a thick paste and put on affected area.
As another note, so many of the big brand, conventional feminine hygiene products like sanitary towels, panty liners and tampons are packed with chemicals and plastics that can actually harm our vaginal health, so I always opt for organic cotton brands, which are just as useful but without all the toxic residues.
It's time we started to really take care of our lady flower, as it's so important for our wellbeing and well... to create life and good times...! You don't have to feel hopeless or feel as though it's something you have to live with, as there is so much you can do to feel great. If you try the remedies above and still don't see improvement, I highly recommend speaking to a nutritional therapist, trained in functional medicine, to uncover the underlying cause of the issues!
For more information on women's health, make sure you check out: www.jodiebrandman.com