Vaginal Health, Maintenance & Care
Our Yoni is the most sacred part of our body and should be honored with gentle and attentive care. It often feels awkward to openly talk about vaginal health, however the tides are shifting as women are becoming more comfortable with their bodies, seeking more natural approaches to health while embracing and owning their femininity. When it comes to imbalance there are hundreds of conventional treatment options available and holistic care techniques aren’t yet openly discussed.
There are many misconceptions when it comes to vaginal care and often times, advice provided by conventional practitioners is outdated, relies on harmful products, and can create longer-term imbalances in vaginal health and ph. From yeast infections to bacterial vaginosis as well as proper daily maintenance, following a natural and gentle care routine will help to support your yoni, keeping it healthy, happy and strong.
Yeast infections are an indication of candida overgrowth in the body, and the end goal is curing candida internally. This requires a long-term commitment to healing the body by following an anti-candida diet and committing to a lifestyle change. There are things that can be done in the meantime to address candida overgrowth in the yoni to relieve recurrent infections and discomfort. Yeast infections are characterized by extreme itching and discomfort, usually resulting in raw, inflamed skin due to itching. A white, “cottage-cheese” like discharge is likely to occur as well.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) is a bacterial infection that is mostly characterized by a very strong, unpleasant “fishy” odor. BV isn’t generally harmful but can be unpleasant and embarrassing.
Signs/Symptoms to look out for
-Strong, unpleasant odor (*remember all women have a natural musk that is normal)
-Abnormal discharge- cottage cheese like whitish grey,
-Pain, pain during intercourse
An apple cider vinegar sitz bath- two cups of raw, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar can be added to a warm bath for a wonderful whole body soak that can help to rebalance vaginal pH, reduce levels of harmful bacteria (in the case of bacterial vaginosis) as well as reduce odors. Apple cider vinegar can also be used to help treat yeast infections, used both internally and externally to relieve itching and inflammation.
Probiotic Vaginal Suppository- Probiotics made especially for insertion into the vagina. They are weaker then oral probiotics and are made up of organisms that are found in the vagina specifically. They will help to fight bacterial overgrowth and yeast by increasing healthy bacteria.
Coconut Oil- Can be applied internally and externally to soothe irritation. Due to its antibacterial properties, it will help to combat mild yeast overgrowth.
Keep in mind that there are many other infections, including STI, that can be very harmful if left untreated. If you aren’t sure of your symptoms, contact your doctor for an exam + proper diagnosis. Then decide what treatment option feels best for you.
Yoni Steaming (Vaginal Steaming/V-steam), is an ancient practice used in many traditions. The Maya call in Bajo, and in Korea, it is called Chai-Yok. It involves the use of herbal infused steam to bring heat, cleansing, circulation, and stimulation to the yoni.
Herbs to use:
Rosemary- Increases circulation, helps clear infection
Lavender- Promoting relaxation
Oregano- Antibacterial, good for infection prevention
Other beautiful options- mugwort, chamomile, calendula, rose, yarrow
We have more hair growth on certain body parts, and nature intended this for a reason. It is generally in areas where we have more lymph nodes and is meant to protect the lymphatic system. The hair keeps these areas warmer, as well as can prevent bacteria from coming in contact with the skin. Ideally, we want to support nature in its intentions, because she knows best. Understandably, grooming does have a place in our society and there are techniques that are more favorable than others
An easy, fast and safe grooming technique. Using sanitized scissors (cleaned with rubbing alcohol and tea tree oil), trim pubic hair to the desired length. It can be trimmed quite short, giving a recently shaved appearance, or can be trimmed slightly just to keep it managed and tidy.
An ancient Persian practice using a mixture of water, sugar, and lemon, resulting in a sticky substance. This substance is applied to the skin and only attaches to the hair. It is effective at removing hair from the follicle (as opposed to waxing, which sees more instances of hair breakage), and because it doesn’t stick to the skin it is less painful and results in less skin irritation and ingrown hairs
Diluted apple cider vinegar with witch hazel and rose water will work wonderfully as a preventative application and a treatment for ingrown hairs.
Our Yoni is quite self-sufficient, and if they are healthy, they don’t need additional care to be kept clean. There are misconceptions about excessive cleaning and douching, and both are not recommended. Unless prescribed by a doctor to treat a condition, gentle washing of the area is enough, and unnatural douching should be avoided. Often simply rinsing the area with warm water is sufficient. If you are concerned about excessive sweating, or your natural odor, using a fragrance-free, gentle soap, such as castile soap, is advised. Gently wash the outer areas of the yoni (the vulva), avoiding getting any soap inside the vagina. Avoid scented vaginal washes at all costs. Anything that claims to make your yoni smell like flowers is a recipe for disaster. This will throw you PH completely off balance and can increase the likelihood of infections and yeast.
A mixture of coconut oil and shea butter is a lovely moisturizer for your yoni area. Rub it with your hands and warm it before applying for a pleasant feeling. The high EFA content will provide a luxurious and nutrient dense support for the gentle skin in this area. If this is too heavy, you can use jojoba oil or a rose hip oil.
Commercial menstrual products such as tampons have been proven to be harmful, causing conditions such as Toxic Shock Syndrome, which can be fatal. They leech moisture out of our vaginal walls and spread toxicity into our body. The chlorine bleaching process used with conventional tampons and pads produces a chemical by-product called dioxin. Dioxin, fragrances, and deodorants, as well as pesticides, which are all also estrogenic, may be lurking inside your menstrual products. Unless specifically stated to be cotton, tampons are made from rayon which is a synthetic fabric often made from wood pulp - which also contains dioxin. If you choose to use tampons or pads, choose 100% organic cotton. However, even menstrual pads made of organic materials can cause irritation and create a lack of airflow to your yoni. Consider the following alternatives:
Menstrual cups have become quite popular in recent years. They are a silicon cup that is inserted into the vagina and it catches the menstrual blood. These are fantastic because they can be left in for up to 12 hours per day (great for light flow days!) and can be reused for up to 5 years if cared for properly! They have no toxic components and are environmentally sustainable!
These panties are wonderful because they eliminate any extra material and bulk. They are engineered with a super thin, absorbable panty liner that collects menstrual fluid throughout the day. They are great for those of us with an active lifestyle and are a comfortable alternative to wearing during exercise.
These are literally small sea sponges. These have been used in many traditions for a long time as a menstrual product. After sanitizing the sponge with warm water, apple cider vinegar, and tea tree oil rinse the sponge thoroughly and trim to your desired size. Insert the sponge into the vagina when it is still holding some water (this will allow for an easier insert), and rinse as needed throughout the day. This is a beautiful option as it is completely natural, and connects you very deeply to the ocean, which is a female mother energy.
There are a multitude of options available for natural vaginal care. Prevention is always the best approach, however, in acute cases, there are often holistic approaches to treat vaginal imbalances. When in doubt, seek the advice of a holistic practitioner or gynaocolgist who can provide you with proper guidance and support.