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Vaginitis

General characteristics

General characteristics

Vaginitis literally means an inflammation of the vagina (internally). It is usually a sign of some other underlying condition such as infection (viral, bacterial or fungal) rather than a disease in itself. It can also be caused by poor hygiene, anaemia, menopause (due to a decrease in oestrogen) or other hormonal changes, irritation from chemicals or sanitary products (tampons especially), excessive sexual intercourse, antibiotics, pregnancy, the parasite Trichomoniasis and other sexually transmitted infections.

Symptoms can include soreness, swelling, abnormal discharge, vaginal dryness, an unpleasant smell, burning or itching, spotting of blood, discomfort during sex or on urination and may be accompanied by fever and a general feeling of being unwell. Sometimes the external vulva becomes inflamed too, this is termed vulvovaginitis. Some quite nasty infections will cause the symptoms of vaginitis so be sure to get diagnosed accurately.

The environment of the vagina is generally acidic with a pH of 3.8-4.2 (similar to a tomato!) in order to maintain the useful bacterial populations and curtail the growth of unwanted organisms. The mild acidity of the vaginal environment is crucial in the protection against infections and the overgrowth of more harmful, less acid promoting bacteria. When the acidity of the vagina drops, these beneficial acid promoting bacteria cannot flourish. Anything that is introduced into the vagina (condoms, spermicides, intimate sprays, sex toys, douches, soap, even sperm and water!) risks introducing unwanted bacteria and can potentially adversely affect its pH and predispose it to infection.

Healing objectives include keeping the immune system strong, eating a good diet full of fresh plant foods and low or absent in processed foods, avoiding using synthetic chemicals or washes in or near the vagina, keeping up sensible sexual hygiene practices and good hygiene generally.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Eat a couple of tablespoons of raw, unsweetened live yoghurt daily to help encourage the beneficial bacteria back into the system.

 

Include plenty of garlic, onions, turmeric and ginger in your meals for their immune enhancing, fluid thinning, blood flow promoting and anti-inflammatory properties.

 

Try to eliminate or at least reduce your intake of refined carbohydrates and simple sugars as these all encourage the over-growth of unfriendly bacteria.

 

Increase your intake of antioxidant rich vegetables, fruits and green leaves.

 

Eat more healthy fats and oils in the form of avocados, nuts and seeds and wild oily fish.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A lubricating internal paste that will soothe irritation and help to re-balance the vaginal bacteria could include chamomile and slippery elm powders. Mix the 2 powders with a little water and insert the paste with your fingers.

 

During and after the menopause, the vagina may become dry and the tissues atrophied (thin and less elastic). Herbs to increase lubrication and elasticity and to help clear infection in the vagina include plantain leaves, buchu, comfrey leaves and marigold flowers. Use the dried herbs to infuse into an oil and insert internally using a douche or add as a tea to baths.

Motherwort tincture can also be taken to increase the strength and elasticity of the vaginal tissues.

 

Lady's mantle tea is a fine general tonic for all the reproductive tissues and can be taken alone or in tea mixes.

 

The herb fenugreek can also help to lubricate the vagina and relieve any mucous congestion in the pelvic region. Take a teaspoon of the seeds and crush slightly, add boiling water and steep for 15 minutes or so before straining off the liquid and drinkingit, keep the used seeds though. You can pour boiling water over the same seeds later in the day for another cup.

 

Sea buckthorn berries are also useful in chronic vaginal inflammation


Natural healing

Natural healing

Avoid tampon use during infection and try to use organic tampons in future or opt for pads instead. Never leave a tampon in for more than a couple of hours at a time and never overnight.

 

Many women find relief by taking probiotics, particularly those containing the Lactobacillus strains. You can also insert the capsules into the vagina overnight.

 

Apple cider vinegar (organic and unpasteurised, with 'the mother') may also help. Take a teaspoon in water twice daily or/and add a small cupful to your baths. Some women also douche with slightly dilute cider vinegar.

 

Inserting coconut oil (organic and cold pressed) on your finger can help to soothe and clear up infections, especially when yeast or fungal based. Eat a teaspoon or so daily too.

 

Take up to 1000mg of evening primrose oil in capsule form for a few months.

 

If your partner regularly ejaculates inside you, have a wee after sex to allow sperm to draian out of the vagina...sperm is quite alkaline.


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