Wednesday Bubble: Why shouldn’t you douche? Because the vagina is like a self-cleaning oven. Guest post by Dr. Jen Gunter
When I saw the talking vagina, I thought to myself, “wow,” who the heck thought up this doosie of a campaign? And, the vaginas are ‘ethnically correct.” Ethnicity aside, do I really want to buy a product from a talking vagina? In fact, I no more want to buy a product from a talking vagina then I want an anatomy lesson from talking fallopian tubes. But I digress…
Dr. Jen Gunter is a gynecologist and pain medicine specialist, and someone I follow on Twitter. When I saw her tweeting out this post, I knew I had to have it for Flashfree.
BTW, before you think about douching and ‘showing your vagina some love,’ you might want to read what Dr. Gunter has to say…
The folks at Summer’s Eve seem determined to convince women that douching is needed. This latest ad (see below) says some of the reasons are that the vagina is the cradle of life and men have fought and died for it. And of course, my favorite, douching is showing the vagina a little love. However, douching isn’t caring it’s damaging your vagina!
What this nifty commercial fails to mention that in the United States douches have to carry warning labels about the health risks, such as increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, pelvic infection, and scaring of the fallopian tubes that can potentially lead to infertility. Warning labels just like cigarettes. In fact, that’s just how you should think of douches…cigarettes for the vagina.
Douches are damaging because the chemicals (yes, even vinegar) damages lactobacilli, an essential bacteria for vaginal health. Lactobacilli produce hydrogen peroxide, which is toxic to infections such as HIV, as well as lactic acid, which maintains the pH of the vagina and has other important bad-bacteria/virus fighting properties. Lactobacilli also bind to the cells in the vagina forming a physical barrier to infection.Read More
Women who choose to go the alternative route for menopausal hot flashes have few evidenced-based options. Although acupuncture and standardized black cohosh have been shown to be effective in ameliorating hot flashes, others, including red clover and even soy, have been less successful. Consequently, herbal practitioners often turn to Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbal formulations or the lesser known (in the U.S.) Japanese multiherb medicinal formulations known as Kampo. Interestingly, the term Kampo refers to ‘the way of China” and the practice which is several thousand years old is based on TCM.
Kampo is prescribed by over 90% of Japanese gynecologists and is regulated by the Japanese Ministry of Health to insure manufacturing standards and product stability. One of the most popular Kampo agents for perimenopausal hot flash management is an 1,800 year old formulaton known as “keishibukuryogan” or in the US, as TU-025. Comprised of a combination of cinnamon bark, peony root, peach kernal and mountain bark, it active ingredient remains unknown. Japanese data from both the government and the manufacturer demonstrate a very low incidence of side effects and no estrogenic activity, which means that theoretically, it could be safely used by women who have had breast or gynecologic cancers. Nevertheless, its utility in American women has not been known, at least until now.
In a study published in the August issue of Menopause, 178 postmenopausal women were randomly assigned placebo, 7.5 g/daily TU-025 or 12.5 g/daily TU-025 for 12 weeks. All participants reported 28 or more hot flashes a week, had been in menopause for at least a year, had stopped using hormones for at least 8 weeks if they were already using them, smoked less than 10 cigarettes a day and most were slightly overweight or obese (based on body mass index). None were using antidepressants (which studies have shown may help alleviate hot flashes), nor did they have a history of breast or uterine cancer. While the 7.5 gram daily is the dose taken most often by Japanese women, the researchers upped the dose to 12.5 gm daily to account for a larger sized American woman.Read More
[Image: WildEarth Paw Prints]
Time to reprise an oldie but goodie. And a post that remains relevant for millions of women. The cougar narrative. You know, cougar, a woman who preys on ‘unsuspecting’ younger men.
So, are you embracing your inner cougar? Pimping your hide to expand your pride? Or like me, are you running as far away from the notion as you can?!
I’ve been somewhat amused and a wee bit miffed at the double standards placed upon women who “prey” on younger men. While their sugar daddy counterparts get away with endless forays into the dating world without nary a word, these women are dubbed “cougars” and frowned upon. However, have you ever considered that these younger men don’t feel preyed upon at all but prefer the company of a well-rounded, intelligent, sexy woman who can titillate their minds, souls AND bodies?
Perhaps the cougar ‘narrative’ and its fallacies should be put to rest.
If you have even a wee bit of doubt about what I’m saying, I’d like to introduce you to 73-year-old Rio de Janero resident Lina Merceis. Lina is the star of a documentary short entitled “Bye Bye, Cest Fini,” and the ultimate inspiration for any woman who believes that life ends at midlife and beyond. Lina, having suffered early disappointments in marriage and love, is now dedicating herself to herself. Lina deliberately chooses the single life, claiming that men are too much work. ‘Seductress to a slew of 30 somethings, she enjoys her lovers, acknowledges her occasional loneliness, and confesses to a good friend (as they sit on the beach eying the candy) that sex and fun are her life prescriptions not options. Not surprisingly, the young men who are fortunate to become one of Lina’s lovers are happy to oblige.Read More
When I saw a post on my Facebook stream linking hormonal imbalance to diabetes, I become intrigued, ever more so when I ran across the following headline in my daily newsfeed:
“Does menopause matter when it comes to diabetes?”
So, does it or doesn’t it?
According to the first piece that resides on the website of the hormone franchise, BodyLogic MD, imbalances of hormones other than insulin can promote insulin imbalances or resistance that is especially evident during menopause. Their hypothesis? Hormone replacement will correct these imbalances and prevent millions of women from developing diabetes.
In fact, there is evidence that as endogenous androgen levels rise and estrogen levels fall, there is a predisposition to glucose intolerance (i.e. a struggle to convert blood sugar or glucose into energy) and by default, diabetes. Moreover, estrogen therapy has been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose levels in menopausal women (fasting blood glucose or sugar measures glucose levels in the bloodstream and is a test for pre- and full blown diabetes). However, it is unknown if menopause itself is associated with high glucose levels or plays a role in influencing factors such as insulin secretion and insulin resistance that mediate glucose tolerance. Nevertheless, it is possible that menopause status may tip the scales in women who are already at high risk for diabetes or even influence activities undertaken to prevent the condition.
In a soon to be published study (August issue, Menopause journal), researchers compared perimenopausal women to women who had entered menopause naturally and those who had had their ovaries removed. All participants were between the ages of 45 and 58, and part of a larger Diabetes Prevention Program trial, meaning that they already had been diagnosed with having impaired glucose tolerance and fasting glucose levels and were at risk for diabetes. Of the 1,237 women studied, they had either been assigned twice daily diabetes medication (Metformin), twice-daily placebo tablet or an intensive lifestyle intervention to achieve and maintain a weight reduction of at least 7% (through a low-calorie, low-fat diet, and at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity weekly).Read More
When writer/author Sarah Bowen Shea first pinged me on Twitter about her post, I was a bit skeptical. I had never had a conversation with her nor had she ever been on my radar. And let’s face it; I get a lot of daily solicitations because of Flashfree and my interest in menopause. However, when I clicked on the link, I discovered that not only did I love her writing, but that I loved her post. Moreover, a lot of you have been asking for posts on early menopause.
I hope that you’ll show Sarah some love after reading this post and head over to her blog, Another Mother Runner and check it out; if you are interested in running, you may find some gems lurking in the lines!
Despite being the one behind our sometimes-outrageous TMI Tuesday status updates (hotel sex, anyone?) on our Facebook page and writing the chapter in The Book about peeing, pooping, passing gas, and periods, I’m hesitant to pen this post. It’s about…menopause. My top three excuses? 1. My mom never had “The Talk” with me, so I’ve never been fully comfortable talking about, ahem, menstruation (or lack thereof). 2. There isn’t enough good slang for menopause (let’s rectify that, ladies!). 3. I am not 100% comfortable with being 45 years old…and getting dogged with early onset menopause. (There, I typed it. A first step, right?)
But I’ve decided to broach the topic because several fans have told us they wish we’d talk about it. Here goes: I’ve suspected for several years that early onset menopause might be coming my way because I had secondary infertility due to elevated FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) levels. My doc said the two aren’t necessarily linked but they often are. Always a glass-half-full kinda gal, I didn’t dwell or worry—until last summer, when I started bleeding like crazy. If I’d gone swimming in shark-infested waters, I would have been fish-food: Heavy bleeding for a week, then 10 days off, then another heavier-and-longer period, then an 8-day reprieve, then another bleeding session…you get the bloody (literally) picture. Never one to rush in for medical advice, I merely grumbled, contemplated buying stock in Playtex, and fared forward until a good running friend urged me to see my OB/GYN. The doc did some bloodwork and said nothing was wrong except that, well, lookie there, my hormone levels showed I was already in menopause. (Gulp!) But she said menopause was a slippery thing: The real marker was absence of a period for one year.Read More