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.
About 25 years ago, when I was organizing what today is WholeHealth Chicago, I attempted to learn everything I could about all the fields of what was then called alternative medicine. Since naturopathic medicine, or naturopathy, didn’t really exist in Illinois (perpetually blocked by the Illinois State Medical Society), I flew to the west coast […]
A short article tucked in the New York Times health blog “Well” reported on a Cornell University study published in Microbiome, an obscure medical journal whose circulation is likely in the upper two digits. To my mind, it’s an important piece of research and I’d guess that years from now as we understand more and […]
Susan had written “BLOATED!” in the section marked “What’s the main problem?” She told me she’d been suffering for years, her stomach feeling like some gremlin was inflating a balloon every time she ate. When the bloating was especially severe, Susan said she looked like she was in her fifth month of pregnancy. She was […]
Most thoughtful people who take medication for depression, anxiety, or both do so with mixed emotions. The symptoms of these conditions can be pretty horrible, and when you’re tossed a life preserver in the form of an effective prescription med, you’re thankful to be living at a time when they’re are available. Of course, good […]
If you read the history of alternative medicine in the US, you’ll be as intrigued as I was by its preoccupation with your gastrointestinal system and feces. Diet, digestion, absorption, elimination, and possessing a wondrous “inner hygiene” were recurring themes originating in the late 19th century, when Kellogg’s cereals were the mainstay health food at […]
Posted 01/17/2012 “That gut feeling.” We’ve all experienced it, but we may have difficulty describing the sensation. We sense or “know” something internally, feeling butterflies in our stomach, almost as if our entire intestinal tract were a second brain, low on reflective skills but high on intuitive ones. During the past decade an incredible amount […]