By Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS
Are you sick and tired of taking medications (prescribed by your MD) only to have your UTI or yeast infection rear its ugly head again and again? Maybe you have an itchy feeling in the vagina, but all the tests come back negative and you have seen multiple doctors to only be more confused and without answers? Have you ever been diagnosed with vulvodynia, interstitial cystitis, bacterial vaginosis or vulvar vestibulitis? These conditions typically exhibit signs and symptoms of what is referred to as ”vaginal dysbiosis”, or a breach in the normal flora of the vagina.
This breach reeks havoc on the vulvar area creating debilitating pain sometimes described as itching or burning in the perineum, redness, & irritation, which severely affects the quality of life, including sexual function. Vaginal dysbiosis can negatively affect the function and flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles because the pelvic floor muscles are constantly inflamed and guard against this inflammation by going into a “protective state” of hypertonicity or a “tightened-up-state.”
It is important to further note that when there is a vaginal dysbiosis the pelvic floor muscles can become tighter, less flexible and develop trigger points and spasms in them. Once there is an imbalance it is important not only to take proper holistic measures and but also to normalize the function and flexibility of the pelvic floor muscles by doing intra-vaginal massage, trigger points and myofascial techniques.
Many of the women I treat suffer from pelvic pain related to the pelvic floor muscles, which are the muscles that lie at the base of pelvis surrounding the vagina, urethra, and anus. I find that to resolve pelvic floor dysfunction it is best to have a balanced vaginal environment.
The best way to re-establish symbiosis in the vagina, vulvar area, and the bladder is through natural herbs, oils, and supplements that help to get the pelvic floor muscles back into proper shape. Many women become less symptomatic after doing a combination of pelvic floor therapy and natural remedies. There is a concept of the ”ultra-sensitive female‚” which was coined by renowned herbalist Carla Savetsky. These are women who may be more susceptible to yeast or urinary tract infections, have sensitive skin, multiple allergies may suffer from digestive issues, and may also suffer from sexual pain related to pelvic floor muscle disruption. Women typically exhibit signs and symptoms of a cluster of these conditions, hence the term ‚”ultra-sensitive female”. Why are these women sensitive? The answers are not clear but I find in my practice that the women with pelvic floor conditions often also have sensitivities, and it makes sense that these women need extensive and well-rounded pelvic care in conjunction with natural healing.
Herbal Remedies for Vaginal & Bladder Health :
I like keeping it natural whenever possible when it comes to yoni and bladder care. Check out these herbal supplements you can use to start to restore homeostasis in the body both systemically and vaginally. As always, you must check with your MD or caregiver before attempting to use these remedies to make sure it is a good fit for your particular case.
1. I used to have frequent bladder infections that were so painful I would crawl on the floor praying for relief. My doctors were of little use to me and except to prescribe antibiotics and when that didn't work they would prescribe another round of antibiotics. This was the yo-yo journey I was on for years. So I had to figure things out and consult more natural healers for my bladder issues, and I will review a couple here. For chronic UTI's, a tea made with corn silk can help soothe the urinary tract. Yep, that's right, if you are preparing for a summer filled with corn on the cob and have the job of shucking the corn, save that corn silk and soothe your bladder! Avoid GMO cornsilk when ever possible.
To maintain bladder health naturally, one of my top go to supplements is D-mannose. Mannose can be found in cranberry juice. It helps to prevent the growth of bacteria in the urine and helps to prevent UTI’s. There is both a pill and powder form. D- Mannose is also great to take when you are in the mist of a UTI. If you have fever, chills, and lower back pain, see your doctor right away, as you could be a kidney infection that needs immediate treatment especially if you are pregnant.
Uva Ursi tea or the tincture can be used during an acute UTI. Vibrant health has a great bladder formula called UT Vibrance. This recommendation is for informational purposes only. Please consult your caregiver before purchasing any suggested products on this blog. Mountain Rose Herbs has a great selection of herbs that are also all organic.
2. Many of the women I treat are prone to yeast infections, vaginal burning, and itching. Here I share a couple of tips that can help keep your vagina healthy and infection free. To avoid yeast infections take a look at your diet and avoid sugar sugary foods, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol, all of which feed yeast. To keep yeast and other infections at bay, make sure to also take a daily probiotic. Probiotics that contain Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus help to maintain vaginal health and PH levels. Avoid antibiotics, anti-fungals and over the counter yeast cream medications, which my patients have many times found to cause more harm than good. Vibrant health sells a probiotic for the bladder called U.T biotics. This recommendation is for informational purposes only. Please consult your caregiver before purchasing any suggested products on this blog.
3. Lady's Mantle is a natural astringent, which means that the herb helps draw together or constrict body tissues. Many women with pelvic organ prolapse can benefit from drinking a tea steeped with Lady's Mantle because of its ability to help draw together the vaginal tissue and lift the pelvic organs upwards. This herb can also be used to help treat painful cramps and heavy bleeding associated with the menstrual cycle. To have even more success make sure you are on the correct pelvic floor-training program. This tea alone will not help to lift the organs you must work also strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, the core muscles, and create stability in the hip and pelvic area.
Lifestyle Modification Tips for a Healthier and More Balance Vaginal-Vulvar-Pelvic Floor Connection
Beyond herbal supplements, there are some simple modifications you can make in your daily life to cut back on possible triggers of your symptoms and help you stay happy and healthy. Here are five more tips to help you create a symbiotic environment for your vagina and bladder:
1. If you think you have a UTI or yeast infection, ask your healthcare provider for a culture and get the results before trying any over the counter or prescribed medications. Proper treatment starts with proper diagnosis- antibiotics are powerful drugs that can disrupt the vaginal flora and can sometimes trigger the start of vaginal dysbiosis. I see many women who are not tested properly and given antibiotics. This is a big NO NO for pelvic floor muscles and vaginal health because it can create more of an imbalance for the vulvar-vaginal area.
2. Have you been taking a low-level estrogen birth control pill for an extended time period? Birth control is known to cause not only increased vaginal infections but also decreased libido due to its effect on hormone levels! Also, don't forget to speak to your healthcare provider about your options and the role birth control may play in your vulvar/vaginal health. It is important to note that some birth controls have been linked to inflammation of the vulva, which contributes to pelvic floor muscle spasms, trigger point, and sexual pain.
3. Use 100% cotton and organic pads, tampons, and other feminine hygiene products, and change them frequently! Your vagina is happiest in a dry environment. Also consider the effect your laundry detergent may have on your skin- buy products free of dyes, phosphates, petrochemicals, and scents. Using non-organic products can adversely affect your pelvic floor muscle function by sending messages of irritation, which can cause muscles to go into spasms. Stay as organic as possible and at night sleep with no underwear so that this area can breathe and heal.
4. For those of you with gastrointestinal issues and food sensitivities, consider an anti-inflammatory diet that limits gluten, sugar, wheat, and processed foods. These foods can be triggers for systemic yeast and create inflammation in the body. Consider going dairy free also. I find that women who switch to a wheat-free gluten-free diet improve their pelvic floor muscle function and have less vaginal itching and burning.
5. Not all sexual lubricants are created equal and many contain harmful chemicals. Avoid lubricants that contain glycerin, parabens and or petrochemicals they can increase the risk of yeast infection, kill the good vaginal bacteria, and can increase vaginal burning and sensitivities. Use organic, extra virgin coconut oil on the perineum and vulvar area to combat dryness or irritation. Coconut oil can also be used a sexual lubricant. Coconut oil has some mild antimicrobial activity, so for certain women, it could trigger a yeast infection – if this happens then this is not the right oil for lady parts. When it comes to lubes stay organic and look at the ingredients before you purchase them and listen to your body and track your triggers for infections.
Medical Disclaimer: The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Check with your Doctor before attempting any of the recommendations on this website. NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEBSITE. Isa Herrera, MSPT, CSCS, PPR Associates, Inc., or PelvicPainRelief.com ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE NOR LIABLE FOR ANY ADVICE, COURSE OF TREATMENT, DIAGNOSIS OR ANY OTHER INFORMATION, SERVICES OR PRODUCTS THAT YOU OBTAIN THROUGH THIS WEB SITE. If you are in acute pain and would like to have a coaching program developed for you for your condition please reach out to us.
Isa's Custom Blend Vaginal Serum
Check out Isa Herrera's trade secret ‚”Down There Oil Vaginal Serum”TM– a proprietary blend of organic mtc coconut and rose oils, which nourishes the vagina and is wonderful for women with vaginal dysbiosis and even postpartum women with healing perineal tears.