Problems Down There In The Feminine Parts
I see many women who are troubled with vaginal discomfort, discharge and odor. They often find it difficult to prevent these problems and they also tend to recur after conventional treatments which consist of antibiotics, steroid and antifungal creams. So I thought I would share some natural therapies that really work and do not have side effects.
It is normal to have some discharge of mucus from the vagina in premenopausal women as the hormonal changes during the monthly menstrual cycle promote mucus formation. If the discharge has an offensive odor this is caused by the mucus becoming contaminated by mixed bacteria. The source of these bacteria is from the bowel.
Vaginal acid base balance
The acidity of the vaginal mucus membranes and vaginal secretions is important for vaginal health. A healthy vagina is acidic. An unhealthy vagina is alkaline. The healthy vagina is acidic because the lactobacilli living in the vagina make lactic acid.
Acidity is measured as “the pH level” and there are paper strips which measure the pH level that are sold in drug stores. The pH reading on the paper strip should be 3.5 to 4.5 after one minute.
How does your doctor do the vaginal pH test?
The strip of paper is placed against the lower wall of your vagina. Fluid is not tested from the cervix or from the speculum, as the reading will not be accurate.
If the vaginal pH is acidic (normal) this indicates the following:
- Friendly lactobacilli are growing and populating the vagina thus keeping away the bad smelly bugs such as trichomonas, E.coli or streptococci. However yeast such as candida can grow in an acidic vagina.
- Adequate levels of oestrogen are being produced in the body
If the vaginal pH is alkaline (too high) = above 4.6 this is not optimal and may indicate:
- Low levels of estrogen
- Bacterial or trichomonal infection in the vagina
- Chronic inflammation in the vagina, which is often also present in the vulva
A very useful and harmless treatment is to douche the vagina with a weak solution that you can make yourself by mixing:
- 3 drops of tea tree oil
- 2 drops of oregano oil
- 2 tablespoons colloidal silver
- 2 drops Lugol’s iodine
Boiled water that is cooled to warm only.
Mix all ingredients well and fill a douche balloon with this. Lie in an empty bath and place the douche nozzle in the vagina and flush the solution into the vaginal cavity. This will flush out the excess mucus within the vagina in which the bacteria and candida live. This is effective against bacteria and candida and will prevent them from growing and causing the odor.
Some doctors are against douching as they believe it is not natural or physiological to use this practice. I think it is much safer than using strong antibiotics and antifungal drugs. However do not douche during pregnancy or during the 6 weeks after childbirth.
Another useful technique is to insert a tablespoon of plain unflavored Greek Style yogurt into the vagina every day as this will populate the vagina with friendly bacteria which will compete with the unfriendly smelly bacteria. Yogurt keeps the vagina more acidic which reduces infections.
Strengthen your immune system
Take a selenium supplement such as Selenomune to improve the immune defenses against infection.
Selenium exerts many benefits in your immune system and is essential to overcome recurrent viral infections such as genital herpes and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Selenium is also anti-inflammatory and thus reduces inflammatory conditions of the vulva such as dermatitis and Lichen Sclerosis.
Boost your intake of omega 3 fatty acids by taking fish oil and/or by consuming walnuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds and flaxseeds on a regular basis. Take fish oil just before you eat your meal. Purchase some whole flaxseeds and grind them into a powder using a coffee grinder or food processor. You may store the flaxseed powder in the freezer or grind it freshly daily and I recommend you consume 1 to 2 tablespoons daily. This is a great way to keep your bowels regular as well. The omega 3 fatty acids will overcome many painful and/or irritating disorders of the vulva such as dermatitis, eczema and Lichen Sclerosis. The omega 3 fatty acids will also reduce dryness of the vulva and vagina and reduce your susceptibility to genital infections.
Increase the quantity of healthy bacteria in your intestines and vagina by consuming plain unflavored full fat Greek style yogurt regularly. If you don’t like the tart taste of Greek yogurt add fresh fruit and ground flaxseed to the yogurt. You can also take a good quality probiotic supplement containing healthy bacteria to improve the health of your intestines and vagina. These strategies are essential if you have bacterial vaginosis or candida.
Ensure that you are not deficient in iodine. Iodine acts as a natural antibiotic; if you are low in iodine your immune system will be weakened and you will be more prone to vaginal and skin infections. Check your iodine levels and if your result shows a deficiency, take an iodine supplement. Selenomune contains iodine, zinc and selenium as well as other immune strengthening nutrients.
Avoid consuming excess sugar as sugar feeds unhealthy bacteria and yeasts in the gut. This all adds up to more candida and more unhealthy vaginal bacteria. Many women find that by avoiding refined sugars they are able to control unpleasant vaginal odor. Instead of sugar eat fresh fruits and plain yogurt.
Increase the amount of raw fruits and vegetables in your diet and aim for at least 30% of your diet to consist of raw foods. Good choices of raw foods include fruit, vegetable salads, raw nuts and seeds and sprouted legumes and seeds. Raw juicing can also help a lot to reduce inflammation and increase immune and gut health. A juice machine is a worthwhile investment! Good things to juice are citrus, cabbage, kale, beet, carrot, ginger, celery and fresh green herbs such as mint, parsley and cilantro. If you are super busy you can make a week’s supply of juice and freeze it in glass jars. If you freeze it immediately after making it, the healing properties will be retained. You will find benefit from drinking 7 to 8 ounces (200 to 300mls) of juice daily. I like to drink my juice whist it is defrosting and it gives the experience of having a “slushy” but this time it’s a healthy one!
Use natural antibiotics. If you suffer with recurrent vaginal and/or bladder infections you may become a victim of the overuse and dependence on antibiotic drugs. These drugs will destroy the good bacteria in your gut and vagina and eventually lead to more infections. Bactoclear capsules are an excellent natural antibiotic to reduce the number of unhealthy bacteria in your gut, vagina and sinuses. Bactoclear is enteric coated so that its active ingredients are released into the small intestines and not destroyed by stomach acid.
Other natural antibiotics include vitamin C, garlic, and radishes of all varieties. By consuming small amounts of natural antibiotics on a regular basis your immune system will improve in leaps and bounds!
Interestingly by improving your gut health you can improve your vaginal health. Vaginal odor is most often caused by unfriendly bacteria such as streptococci or E. coli growing in the vagina and these can originate on the skin around the anus and from inside the bowel. This condition is called Bacterial Vaginosis (BV).
Infection with the yeast organism called candida does not usually produce an odor but often causes excess vaginal discharge that is thick and white and may cause itchiness around the vulva. Usually, these infections can be controlled by improving your immune and gut health. Try to eat more raw vegetable salads and cooked vegetables and avoid all sugar. Sugar feeds bacterial and yeast infections and you should eliminate processed foods as well as foods high in sugar. Use natural low carbohydrate sweeteners instead of sugar, such as stevia or Nature Sweet Sugar Substitute. Make sure you get plenty of protein from fish, eggs, poultry and red meats. Avoid antibiotic drugs and antibiotic creams if you can, as these will only produce a temporary fix and lead to an overgrowth of candida. Many doctors prescribe strong antibiotic creams such as Dalacin V or strong antifungal drugs such as Diflucan, which I am not in favour of, as they can be toxic to the liver especially if used repetitively. One harmless treatment for candida is the use of vaginal pessaries containing boric acid in a dose of 600mg per pessary which is used for 14 days.
The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.