Wise Woman Ezine with herbalist Susun Weed
July 2008
Volume 8 Number 7
    Bookmark and Share        

What's Inside Wise Woman Herbal Ezine this Month...

INDEX  | HEALING WISE  |  MOTHER &CHILD  | WISDOMKEEPERS  | WISE WOMAN WISDOM 
ANTI-CANCER LIFESTYLE | THE GODDESS SPEAKS | GRANDMOTHER GAIA | FEATURED LINKS

Empower Yourself...
Vaginal Ecology -

An Owner's Guide to Care and Maintenance
by Sheri Winston


Vaginal Ecology - An Owner's Guide to Care and Maintenance
by Sheri Winston

What you need to know about your vaginal health by understanding the ecology of your vagina. Learn to keep yourself healthy, and prevent most vaginal infections and problems. Discover that your vagina is a self-regulating, self-cleaning, resilient yet delicate ecosystem and the less you disrupt the natural balance, the better off you’ll be. This is what every woman needs to know!

 

An Elegant System
The vagina isn’t just a nice place to own or visit, nor is it merely a passive space awaiting fulfillment; it’s a complex, integrated environment. the Art of Monica SjööYour vagina is a dynamic system with inherent safeguards in place to maintain a healthy equilibrium despite being susceptible to myriad influences that can alter its state of balance.

After all, the vagina is exposed to fluctuating hormones, the consequences of our modern diet, our stress-filled lives and numerous artificial products that nature never intended our delicate tissues to withstand. And, of course, Mother Nature did intend our vaginas to have visitors whose presence and leavings can stimulate and impact our vaginal ecosystem.

The vagina is well designed to handle many of these influences, but sometimes succumbs to imbalance, leading to infection and general grumpiness all around when she’s out of commission.

Vaginal Ecology
Vaginal ecology is the study of the environment and its interactions. By understanding the ecology, you can better handle your vagina and keep her happy and healthy by supporting the natural systems.

When, despite your best efforts, the normal balance is disturbed and you get a vaginal infection (vaginitis), knowing how your ecosystem works can give you the power to remedy the situation and restore your environment.

 

Nice and Normal
A normal vagina is constantly kept moist by its slick, slippery and savory natural discharge. The smell and taste of a healthy vagina is mild, earthy and slightly pungent with a pleasant, musky aroma. It certainly doesn’t smell like fish or have a strong foul odor.

A healthy vagina does not smell or taste bad! In fact, it’s full of sexy scent plus fabulous pheromones, the chemicals of attraction that we don’t consciously smell. Your vaginal juice is a naturally compelling, perfumed invitation.

 

Juicy Goodness
Vaginal fluid mostly comes from the cells lining the walls which act similar to sweat glands, producing moisture from the inner mucus membrane surfaces. The rest of the juice is made up of small contributions from several types of glands, located in the cervix and near the vaginal opening. Normal vaginal fluid varies in color from clear to white, although when it dries it may appear yellowish.

The amount differs from one woman to another as well as for the same woman at different times, and ranges from scant to moderate. Some women are naturally wetter or drier then others, just as some people have oily skin or dry hair or sweat more or less profusely.

What’s most important is for you to know what’s typical for you in amount, color, texture and odor. The vaginal fluid reflects where you are in your cycle, your age, your sexual arousal, hormonal contraceptive use, even your diet and fluid intake.

For women who are having normal fertility cycles, the shifting pattern should be similar each month. In general, most women are juiciest during the week leading up to and including the day of ovulation. Most women are driest the week before their period. Girls prior to puberty, breast-feeding moms and post-menopausal woman are drier and less varying.

 

The Vaginal Garden
A healthy vagina is full of friendly bacteria, mainly a particular strain of Lactobacillus acidophilus. These good bacteria protect the vagina and keep it healthy in multiple ways. Their job is to control the population of unfriendly microbes such as yeast and ”bad” bacteria.

They do so first by filling up the space, like a garden which is profusely filled with flowers, leaving no space for weeds.

Next, the acidophilus maintain the proper vaginal environment by producing two important chemicals: lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide, a liquid form of oxygen. The lactic acid maintains an acid-alkaline balance (known as pH) in the vagina that’s acidic.

Your helpful bacteria also produce hydrogen peroxide to create an aerobic (oxygenated) environment that discourages bad microbes. The beneficial bacteria are the essential hard-working engineers of the ecology of your vagina. When something causes a shift away from the ideal, they get working to bring your ecology back into line.

 

Flux and Flow
A variety of things can shift the vaginal equilibrium and swing the system out of equilibrium. To begin with there are the regular changes of the fertility cycle. The vaginal environment normally fluctuates slightly throughout the month. Just prior to menses, there’s a normal ebb in the population of good bacteria due to hormonal influences which cause the vagina to be less acidic. This pre-menstrual week is frequently a time when the vagina is driest, most tender and more prone to irritation and infection.

During your period is another time when the environment is at risk of swinging out of balance. Blood is alkaline, (the opposite of acidic) and its presence can encourage imbalance. Semen is another alkaline influence that impacts the ecosystem. Ideally, you have a strong population of good bacteria, so your body can easily accommodate these factors and shift back to an acidic state quickly.

 

Unfriendly Take-Over
If your beneficial bacteria die off, then your ecosystem becomes fragile and susceptible to a take-over by unfriendly bacteria or yeast. Many influences can induce a decline in the population of good microbes. Sometimes imbalance just seems to happen for no reason, but factors such as high stress, poor diet, misguided ”hygiene” practices or other factors affecting the vaginal environment are usually at work. And when you kill off all the flowers in your garden, you can be sure that the weeds will take over.

 

Antibiotic Effects
One of the most common causes of a die-off of your normal flora is taking antibiotics, which can kill off your good guys as they do their job of killing off the bad ones that were causing infection elsewhere. Anytime you take antibiotics, you are at risk for yeast overgrowth, which can result in vaginal candida (a yeast infection) and gastro-intestinal problems such as indigestion and diarrhea. This is one of the many reasons to be careful about taking antibiotics and to use them only when you really need them.

 

Sweets for My Sweet
Normal vaginal discharge also contains a very small amount of natural sugars. The usual minimal level of sugar helps to discourage yeast overgrowth, while an increased level promotes it. The sugar level in the vaginal fluid is increased in diabetics and in pregnancy. Some women are sensitive to a high sugar diet and may find they need to be careful about their intake.

 

Keeping It Cool
Although the vagina is usually pretty steamy, at or slightly above normal body temperature (which is fairly toasty at almost 100o), it’s best if it doesn't get much hotter then that. Anything that creates and holds in heat can contribute to an overgrowth of yeast and lead to a vaginal infection.

A wet bathing suit on a hot day, pantyhose, lycra or spandex work-out clothes, synthetic panties or leggings, plastic-backed panti-liners, even tight jeans can all create an overheated crevice, at risk of disruption. Wear cotton panties, natural fiber leggings or tights, cotton menstrual pads, and nothing at all at night (or whenever you can get away with it!). Keep your crotch cool and you'll be glad you did.

 

Contraceptive Concerns
Certain forms of contraception can affect the vaginal system, directly or indirectly. Any product that contains Nonoxynol 9, the chemical that’s in all spermicides, can be problematic. Many women are highly sensitive to this chemical and will have inflammation as a result of its use.

Beware of condoms with spermicide, the jelly used with diaphragms and all other types of spermicidal creams and suppositories. It’s best to avoid this irritating sperm-killing chemical in all forms.

Hormonal birth control methods (birth control pills, the depo shot, implants, progesterone-containing IUDs, the Patch, the Ring), all work by tricking your body into thinking that it’s already pregnant and therefore doesn't need to ovulate. So just like in actual pregnancy, there may be slightly higher amounts of natural sugars in your vaginal discharge, hormonal shifts and changes in the pH that may promote vaginal imbalance and infection.

 

Feminine Hygiene Crap
Exposure to synthetic chemicals and cleansing products can also shift the balance and cause a reduction in the supportive bacteria. Vaginal infections are commonly associated with excessive American hygiene, which includes the use of douche, vaginal deodorants, sprays, wipes, washes, powders, anti-bacterial soaps, deodorant soaps, body washes, bubble baths, and all of those so-called feminine hygiene products.

These products are the main culprits in vaginal infections! Avoid them all. You do not need them! Don’t fall for the mass-marketing lies that say you need to be “fresh” by using their chemical concoctions. You are fresh and delicious without that synthetic junk.

 

the Art of Monica SjööKeeping It Clean
Your healthy vagina doesn't smell bad and doesn't need artificial hygiene products to irritate it and kill off your normal flora. Clean with clear, clean water. That’s all you need. You can use your fingers to help rinse the crevices. A hand-held shower is excellent for crotch cleaning (and is also useful for self-pleasuring). A mild soap can be used on the outer areas such as the outside of the external lips but should be avoided on the internal lips and around the vaginal opening. There is never, ever a need to clean inside the vaginal canal at all. You have a self-cleaning vagina!

 

Signs of Problem
By knowing what’s normal, you can often catch a problem early before it becomes a full-blown infection. Imbalance exists before an infection is fully manifest. By understanding the early signs and symptoms of a shift, you have the power to swing the ecology back into a healthy direction and prevent most problems. Increased or profuse discharge that smells wrong, tastes bad, or looks odd, is abnormal and usually a sign of imbalance or infection.

Be alert for any changes including a funny color discharge that is thicker or thinner than usual, clumpy or milky. Your vaginal juice should never itch or burn. Swelling and irritation are also warning signs of a problem. Be sure to check your own vaginal fluid regularly so you’ll recognize any changes early.

 

Happy Healthy Haven
Now that you understand the basics of your vaginal ecology, you have the means to make good decisions to protect and care for your delicate environment. You can support your healthy system and avoid the things that might disrupt your natural defenses.

By knowing what’s normal for you and paying close attention, you can detect early signs of a problem and often fix it before it becomes a full-blown infection. When signs of imbalance occur, you can take action to correct the system yourself or get help from your health care provider before things get really bad.

Essentially, your genitalia are a self-regulating, self-cleaning ecosystem and the less you disrupt the natural balance, the better off you’ll be. Don’t mess with a good thing. Appreciate your elegant system with its natural resilience and ability to maintain itself.

Respect and support your vaginal ecology and you’ll have a happy healthy haven that feels good so you, your vagina and your friends can have lots of luscious fun!

Copyright ©2008 Sheri Winston

 

What to know more about WomanCraft and sexual health? Come visit SheriWinston.com, for more information and articles about Wholistic Sexuality and the Intimate Arts. We offer an email newsletter, free goodies and so much more! I invite you to visit a FREE SexCraft Orgasmic Abundance Mini-Guide E-book, that includes tips and techniques and an abundance of simple exercises for expanded sexual experiences, compliments of Sheri Winston, Wholistic Sexuality Teacher and sexpowerment catalyst.


 

Collect all three of
White Feather's Seven Directions Movement Meditation
; includes booklet, CD, and video.


Sacred Dance for Spirit and Body

by Whitefeather
Collect all three of White Feather's Seven Directions Movement Meditation; includes booklet, CD, and video. With this complete set you will be practicing this dance with ease and grace. The perfect gift for someone who has everything!

Price:$ 45.00 (plus shipping)

.

Click here to read the introduction and an excerpt from The Seven Directions Movement Meditation by Whitefeather


ORDER White Feather's Seven Directions Movement Meditation Trio in our Bookshop

"White Feather has provided us with a phenomenal expression of human movement that is connected with earth energy. She has shared this with countless people to help them feel their wholeness as an expression of inner truth."
— Grandmother Twylah Nitsch, Elder of the Seneca Wolf Clan

 

 

 


A women's spirituality classic is now back in print!

The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries by Z BudapestThe Holy Book of Women's Mysteries
by Z Budapest
376 Pages
$19.95

The Holy Book of Women's Mysteries is essential for Pagans, feminists, and women seeking to learn more about the spiritual path as it relates to the feminine and the Goddess aspects of witchcraft and Wicca.

order this New Release in our Bookshop

 

 

LOVE LETTERS

Dear Susun...

I would very much like to receive your newsletter, Weed Wanderings. I have been a fan of yours since using your book "The Childbearing Years" for my second child (that was 13 years ago!). I have just read an article you had written for the recent "Sage Woman" publication (Nov. '05) I loved it! Thank you for your wisdom and insight and I look forward to your newsletter.

In Love and Laughter...
Kimberly

read more...





Traveler's Joy
Traveler's Joy by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Explore the free wandering life of this enchant-ing guide by a legendary teacher who lives in tune with the rhythms of nature. Lots of herbal lore. 256 pages, index, illustrations.

Retails for $11.95



"This magical book has made me want to shelve my responsibilities and hit the road! The author's enthusiasm and ability to embrace hardship and bounty alike are truly inspirational. I am encouraged to lighten my material load to provide space for the gifts that the simple life provides. Recipes, travel lore, herbal medicine, literary references, and personal observations make this book an enjoyable read.
"

Order TRAVELER'S JOY in our BOOKSHOP

 


Common Herbs for Natural Health
by Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Re-indexed, re-designed, and expanded. Lore and uses for 200 herbs including cosmetic, culinary, and medical recipes. Juliette de Bairacli Levy is famed for her mastery of herbal lore and her many books on living in tune with nature. Foreword by Rosemary Gladstar. 236 pages, index, illustrations.

 

Retails for $15.95

"This is the book that got me started in herbal medicine. It's solid gold; not only useful but incredibly fascinating." Susun Weed

Read a review

Order Common Herbs for Natural Health in the BOOKSHOP


 

Nourishing Traditions
by Sally Fallon with Mary G Enig, PhD

The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictocrats.

This well-researched, thought-provoking guide to traditional foods contains a startling message: Animal fats and cholesterol are not villains but vital factors in the diet, necessary for normal growth, proper funciton of the brain and nervous system, protection from disease and optimum energy levels. Sally Fallon dispels the myths of the current low-fat fad in this practical, entertaining guide to a can-do diet that is both nutritious and delicious.

Order Sally Fallon's book at our bookshop Or order via mail: Ash Tree Publishing PO Box 64 Woodstock, NY 12498 include a check or money order for $29.95 (Nourishing Traditions retails for $25.00 plus shipping.

HOME | ARCHIVE | FORUM |  SITEMAP |  SUBSCRIBE


Wise Woman Herbal Ezine is sponsored by www.susunweed.com and www.wisewomanbookshop.com

Breast Cancer? Breast Health! the Wise Woman Way

©Susun Weed -Wise Woman Center
~ Disclaimer & Privacy Policy ~


INDEX | HEALING WISE | MOTHER & CHILD | WISDOMKEEPERS | WISE WOMAN WISDOM
ANTI-CANCER LIFESTYLE | GODDESS SPEAKS | GRANDMOTHER GAIA | FEATURED LINKS