Starting a Conversation About Vaginal Health
We thought about calling this newsletter "The Happy Vagina," but wondered if people would be too embarrassed to read it. This prompted a discussion of how difficult it is to talk about vaginal health in today's society. Even with all the strides we've made in women's health, most women are still uncomfortable talking about problems "down there" and can't even bring themselves to say the word "vagina," much less celebrate that part of our anatomy that makes us distinctly female.
This reluctance partially stems from the lack of good, reliable medical information available about the female genitalia. In The V Book, Dr. Elizabeth Stewart states that "popular thinking has mirrored the medical community's indifference. For much of the twentieth century, women's genitals remained mired in ignorance and shame, as had been the case for hundreds of years." But that is beginning to change and we intend to encourage that change.
Dyspareunia (Painful Intercourse)
By Carol Petersen, RPH, CNP - Women's International Pharmacy
The word dyspareunia is a general medical term referring to painful sex. Terms such as vulvodynia, vestibulodynia and vaginitis refer to types of dyspareunia, and also indicate the origin of the pain.
Most of us usually don't pay much attention "down there" until something goes awry. The issues can be a complex blend of emotional, psychological and physical origin, thereby encompassing more than one medical specialty. Sometimes proper diagnosis and treatment of a physical condition can help emotional and psychological issues fade away, and vice versa.
Painful sex was the focus of the November 2012 meeting of The International Society for the Study of Women's Health. Many of the case studies presented were about women who had consulted with many different practitioners, all of whom were unable to piece together the relevant information for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Boric Acid: A Good Fit for Treatment-Resistent Vaginal Infections
Written by Kathy Lynch, PharmD - Women's International Pharmacy
Vaginal infections may be difficult to resolve if resistance to standard drugs develops.
Boric acid is a mild antiseptic with anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. A clinical review of 14 studies found boric acid to be a safe and effective treatment for vaginal infections caused by resistant yeast. A smaller study of 58 women found that boric acid may provide additional benefit to treatment regimens for resistant bacterial infection.
Ask your compounder about boric acid suppositories or vaginal capsules for vaginal yeast and bacterial infections. Note that this preparation should NEVER be taken by mouth.
Tietz Clinical Guide to Laboratory Tests, 4th edition by Alan Wu; W.B. Saunders Company; St. Louis, MO; 2006:366.
"Boric Acid for Recurrent Vulvovaginal Candidiasis: the Clinical Evidence" by Iavazzo C, Gkegkes ID, Zarkada IM, Falagas ME; Journal of Women's Health; 2011 Aug; 20 (8):1245-55; Epub 2011 Jul 20.
"Boric Acid Addition to Suppressive Antimicrobial Therapy for Recurrent Bacterial Vaginosis" by Reichman O, Akins R, Sobel JD; Sexually Transmitted Diseases; 2009 Nov; 36 (11):732-4.