Like the microbiome in your gut, the ecosystem that colonizes your vagina is a delicate balance of microorganisms that can easily be altered. The amount and type of bacteria significantly impacts your overall health.
The primary colonizing bacteria of a healthy vagina are of the genus Lactobacillus.
These organisms produce lactic acid that maintains an acidic environment inside your vagina and hydrogen peroxide that defeats bad bacteria.
Symptoms of an Imbalanced Vagina Flora
When vaginal infections happen it’s due to an imbalance in your vaginal flora. Either good microorganisms have been reduced or there’s an overgrowth of bad bacteria or yeast cells.
An imbalanced vagina flora can lead to frequent yeast infections and urinary tract infections, both of which are super annoying and uncomfortable.
Symptoms associated with an imbalanced vaginal flora include:
- excess discharge (that’s not fertile fluid)
- pain while urinating or during intercourse
- sensitivity and soreness
Supplementing with Probiotics
If you are struggling with consistent infections, or want to safeguard against them, there is strong evidence that the beneficial bacteria, Lactobacilli, specifically strains L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri RC-14, provide significant safeguards against vaginal disorders.
For optimal benefit, it’s suggested to supplement with 5-10 billion colony-forming units (cfu) of the Lactobacilli strains GR-1 and RC-14 each day.
Chemicals in Menstrual Products
There are many factors that can disturb this delicate balance that exists inside your vagina. Your vagina secrets and absorbs fluid at a higher rate than your skin. So, chemicals are readily absorbed here.
One factor that I want to focus on today are your menstrual products.
Most conventional menstrual products are bleached with chlorine, whose byproduct is elevated levels of dioxin, a chemical that has been linked to an increased risk of endometriosis.
Other toxic ingredients in tampons are rayon and asbestosis. Some also have fragrances, which adds additional chemicals to the mix.
(Any unpleasant odors from your vagina are usually due to an imbalanced vagina flora, which gets even more out of whack when we add more chemicals to cover that up).
Plastic applicators contain toxins that have been linked to hormone disruption. Both applicators and tampons can cause small tears in the walls of your vagina, making it even easier for chemicals to enter your body.
Menstrual products are designed to absorb, which means that they absorb these chemicals that were used to create them in the first place.
Natural Menstrual Products
There are natural menstrual products available. I like a product called Natracare.
Natracare makes their products from organic cotton and they are free from chlorine and plastic. They use biodegradable materials, which makes me feel better about disposing of them.
There are other options such as the menstrual cup, which collects the flow rather than absorbing it. This is not something I’ve tried personally, but I know a lot of ladies have had success with this natural method.
Or, if you’re into it, there are organic cloth reusable pads. I’m not sure how I feel about that option 🙂
On the Positive Side?
I remember when I changed out my conventional menstrual pads for natural ones because the impact was very positive. I had less cramping and pain with my period.
This was confirmed when one day I had to use a conventional pad while I was away from home. It almost instantly made the pain much worse.
The natural products can get pricey, but in the end it’s worth it to feel better. Right?
Have you switched out your menstrual products yet? What do you use? Did you notice a benefit from this?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.