In our quest for well-being, we often overlook an unsung hero within us—the vaginal microbiome. While we commonly associate the term “microbiome” with our gut, it extends its influence to various corners of our body, including our skin and, yes, our vagina. This remarkable microbial community, consisting of bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even parasites, plays a pivotal role in maintaining our health. A balanced vaginal microbiome contributes to seamless digestion, a robust immune system, neurotransmitter production, and even longevity. Yet, in our well-intentioned efforts to care for our bodies, we may inadvertently disrupt this delicate ecosystem. From douching and smoking to antibiotics and unwashed sex toys, several factors can upset the harmonious balance of the vaginal microbiome. In the pages ahead, we will explore the intricacies of this often-overlooked aspect of women’s health, shedding light on the care and feeding of your vaginal microbiome, and offering insights into maintaining its delicate equilibrium.
Sometime in her eighties, my Aunt Hildy, who passed on at 94 or so, handed me a book, “Your Body’s Many Cries for Water”, by an Iranian physician with a totally unpronounceable name, Fereydoon Batmanghelidj, M.D. She told me it had changed her life. Dr. B. attributed virtually all chronic illnesses, premature death, and susceptibility to infections to the state of chronic dehydration we had allowed ourselves to endure by our insufficient intake of water.
Because Dr. B. also felt that water had curative properties, his work was literally shredded by conventional physicians here in the U.S., where he was regarded as a “crank” and a “quack”. The Wikipedia entry is especially brutal since it’s written by Stephen Barrett of Quackwatch, which (if you bother to read it) seems to have a special loathing for Dr. B. because of his claims that good hydration promotes longevity.
And so the years pass. Dr. B. dies at 74, although his books (he wrote seven more) all remain in print, apparently being read by the well-hydrated, healthy, and generally ignored by the desiccated conventional physicians.
Throughout my earlier years as a physician, cancer was considered a diagnosis of the elderly. A person survived infectious diseases of childhood, heart and lung issues of middle age, and then, blind to the risks of smoking and having no access to colonoscopies or CAT scans, would develop cancer in her seventies or eighties and […]