Hey, Lovelies, I hope you all are enjoying the last remnants of summer (ole girl is holding on for dear life) as we prepare to transition to pumpkin spice and cuffing season. Before you get cozy (“Renaissance” has me in a chokehold) with either yourself or your boo, we gotta have a serious conversation about vaginal health and the ins and outs of the menstrual cycle. Since most of our mamas are not one of our “lil frens” and didn’t give us the nitty gritty about our vagina, we have a lot to talk about, so let’s get into it!
Did You Know?
- About 1 in 3 women will get Bacterial vaginosis (BV) in their lifetime?
- 75% of women will get at least one yeast infection in their lifetime?
- A normal vaginal pH level is between 3.8-5.0, which is moderately acidic?
What’s Inside the Honeypot (vaginal health)
So, I was avoiding my responsibilities again by scrolling on Instagram and came across a video of a person promoting an interesting concoction to treat and cure BV. While mostly all medicine has a plant derivative, I was SHOOKETH when I saw the ingredients and read through the comments. The vagina is a self-cleaning organ with its own naturally occurring ecosystem. The vaginal flora is the bacteria that naturally live inside of the vagina and are there to help protect against infections.
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is a common health condition caused by having more harmful bacteria than good bacteria in the vagina. Some women and vagina owners may have no symptoms of BV. In contrast, others may experience unusual vaginal discharge (white or gray), a fishy odor, burning while urinating, and vagina irritation (itching). One can get BV by douching, using condoms that disrupt the vagina’s normal pH, and having new or multiple sex partners. Love, if you have a sex partner who is consistently disrupting your pH, baby, that’s nature telling you they’re not the one.
Candidiasis (Yeast infection)
A vaginal yeast infection is another common condition women, and vagina owners may experience at some point in their life. A yeast infection is a fungal infection that happens when the healthy yeast that normally grows in the vagina overgrows. The yeast infection symptoms are itching, burning, and swelling of the vagina and the vulva (the area around the vagina), pain while urinating, pain during sex, soreness, and thick white discharge.
Some things that can throw off your vaginal chemistry and potentially cause a yeast infection are regular hormonal changes, antibiotics (please don’t refuse these if prescribed by a medical professional), pregnancy, unmanaged diabetes, a weak immune system, and another person’s genital chemistry. Your granny was correct when she told you that always wearing those tight jeans could cause a yeast infection. Consistently wearing tight clothes can cause you to sweat and become irritated, which is the perfect environment for yeast to thrive.
Both of these conditions are extremely common and are NOT STDs. Please see a medical professional immediately if you find yourself or know someone who has expressed these symptoms. The standard course of treatment for BV is antibiotics, and the treatment for yeast infections is anti-fungal medication. There are over-the-counter remedies for yeast infections, such as medicated creams or suppositories. Please follow the directions precisely and finish all the medicine prescribed, even if your symptoms disappear. Also, take a break from vaginal sex and oral sex, and don’t put anything in your vagina until you have finished the medication and the infection has cleared.
Whether you’re having sex with yourself or a partner, please do a hop, skip, and run to the bathroom afterward to urinate and wash up. If not, you run the risk of getting a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), and every time you go to the bathroom you’ll be hitting a soprano, putting Mariah Carey to shame.
Bees in the Honeypot (stages of the menstrual cycle)
For almost two decades that I’ve had a menstrual cycle, the mechanism of it was never explained to me. My mama only told me that it meant I was a woman and that I could get pregnant, then threw me some maxi pads and went about her day (don’t judge my mama, judge ya cousin).
I know I’m not the only one who feels like a feral cat during ovulation and wants to eat an entire chocolate cake during my cycle. So, since this is a safe space, I figured I’d explain it using Beyoncé references. The four phases of the menstrual cycle are