Feminine Hygiene Uncategorized Women's Health

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT!

For years, discussions about the female anatomy has been overlooked and under researched, yet when conversations occur, they normally stem from an erotic nature, such as orgasms and wetness (WAP), two crucial components that enhances sex and explores women’s sexual liberations. However, no one likes to chat about the unsexy…So, let’s address IT!  

Let’s tackle the most common vaginal illness that tends to be kept on the hush, the most uncomfortable itch that you may have ever experienced, a subject that is so taboo, that many women keep it to themselves and suffer in silence. A vaginal issue that is deemed embarrassing. Yes, I’m talking about Bacterial Vaginosis aka BV.

Please note, I’m not a healthcare profession, just a person that is interested in women’s health. If you think you may have BV, please consult with your GP! X

Public Enemy: BV 

BV is a result of vaginal bacteria imbalance. An infection that causes unusual vaginal discharge, an itchy sensation around the vulva (the outer part of the vagina: vaginal lips, the clitoris, vaginal opening and opening of the urethra), and strong vaginal scent.  

Just to clarify, BV is different from yeast infections (YT), even though both infections are a form of vaginitis, they are both similar, but equally different:

AttributesINFECTION
BVYT
ConsistencyThin, WateryThick, Cottage Cheese -Like
SmellStrong OdourNo Scent
Colour of DischargeYellow/ GreyWhite
Sensation Vaginal ItchingPain, Soreness and Vulva itching
Symptoms Burning: UrinationBurning: Urination, After sex 
Type of infection BacterialFungal

Gardberella Vaginalis bacteria is the main cause of BV. This particular bacterial overgrowth changes your PH balance, which can effectively harm your vaginal ecosystem and balance. If left untreated, BV can lead to premature and low -weight births and increase your chances of getting STIs (Chlamydia) and the risk of infertility through PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease).            

 Attractions                                           

Researchers have yet determined how women get BV, but it’s likely through:

  • Sex itself can disrupt your natural vaginal flora. Women who sleep with women have a more BV flare ups.
  • Having multiple sex  partners/ new sex partner can disturb the natural balance of your vaginal flora from the frequent changes in your active sex life. We should also note, unprotected sex can influence BV to flare up. Vaginal bacteria may not mesh well with penial bacterial; it may show a day or two after you have sex. This can also indicate if the man is really for you. 
  • Frequent douching (which I advise strongly against doing so). Douching can strip your yoni from all of its natural defences, which in turn harbour on to bad bacteria, and multiply to cause BV, and possibly recurring BV. (Remember, the vaginal is self-cleaning- clean only the vulva, NEVER inside).
  • Women, who also lacks a good number of good bacteria in the vagina (Lactobacilli) will develop BV within their lifetime, usually ages between 15-44. Gut health can also be linked back to BV and yeast infections. Dr. Protheroe states 

The gut may communicate with the vagina more indirectly via the ‘gut-vagina-axis. Where a health gut can reduce whole-body inflammation and help promote a healthy vagina”.

Low levels of good gut bacteria can break down the body’s defences and allow ‘pathogens’ (infections agents) to ‘ make their way to the vaginal canal, resulting in infection’.

  • We all know stress is no.1 killer, it is also a vagina disturber. It can cause vaginal dryness, yeast infections and yes, BV.  As stress changes your hormone levels, it will increase BV occurrences.
  • Similar to douching, the overuse of antibiotics can cause a resistance in BV’s bacteria. Antibiotics strips the vagina of ALL bacteria, the good, the bad the in-between, everything! So, it is important to watch what you eat after treatment to influence good bacteria in your gut and the vagina. 
  • Smoking and drinking excessively, naturally decreases your body’s natural defenses. 

Who are AFFECTED the Most:

Although we have the same anatomy as women, ethnicity plays a huge part in understanding our vaginal flora and treating specific vaginal infections. In short, Black women are affected the most for BV and thrush.  

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University took part in a project to study Vaginal Human Microbiome, where Black women had a diverse vaginal flora, whereas the Caucasian participants has Lactobacillus Crispatus (good bacteria) predominant vaginal flora. These findings have also been explored and concluded the same findings.  The study also shown 

The most common type of bacteria found within the microbiome profiles from the Black participants was Lactobacillus iners, an unusual type of Lactobacillus bacteria that does not produce lactic acid or offer protection against vaginal infections in the way that other typical Lactobacillus bacterial as well as being associated with vaginal dysbiosis- where optimal vaginal flora is disrupted-along with premature delivery”. (Yourdaye, 2020)

In addition, Gardnerella Vaginalis, a BV bacteria component, is found more in sistas than in white women. The study highlights the increase risks of Black women getting BV and the reoccurrence of the infection, as well as a obtaining a high PH than other races. 

It also doesn’t help that we as black women have been taught and teach our daughters to put Dettol into our baths. THIS IS A NO NO! Dettol is known for its antiseptic properties and it clinical scent; however, it is way too harsh to be anywhere near the vagina, let alone all over the body.


Prevention or Cure 

There are several ways you can prevent BV like 

  • Avoiding scented detergents on when washing your lingerie/underwear
  • Stop using perfumed soaps, bubble baths and shower gel while you’re soaking in the bath. 
  • DO NOT use any fem soaps with chemicals, NO NO NO ! 
  • DO NOT WASH inside your vagina, I REPEAT, do not wash inside your vagina with any soaps! 
  • Wipe front to back when using toilet paper.
  • Stay hydrated to the max!

Ways to cure your BV:

  • Women’s Probiotics –targeted to protect vaginal floral. Look for probiotics with Lactobacillus live cultures.
  • Putting unflavoured natural yogurt with live cultures outside of your vagina daily and inserting a yogurt-soaked organic cotton tampon in your vagina before bed.
  • See your GP

Dialogue about BV should be open and normal, so women don’t have to feel like they’re alone, and suffer in silence. 1 in 3 women have experienced BV within their lives, due to lack of knowledge or felt embarrassed to seek health professional help. 

My objective in writing this article is to educate every woman reading this article to look after your yoni, as it’s the only one you’ll have! so nurture it, love it and listen to it, do not ignore any unusual signs of illness and trust me it will serve you in ways that will astound you from days, months and years to come.    

Please note, I’m not a healthcare profession, just a person that is interested in women’s health. If you think you may have BV, please consult with your GP! X


By Rene – Health & Wellness Writer

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