There is plenty of stigma and shyness surrounding discussing vaginal and sexual health, but this can be really dangerous for women’s health – so we are here to help put a stop to this!
Below are some of the reasons why your vaginal health is so important, as well as how you can take back control of your vaginal health. This is particularly important as the CDC (Centre for Disease Control) has noted that 84% of women with a vaginal imbalance are asymptomatic – so you may have no idea of your risk of long-term issues including BV, thrush, fertility complications, and cervical cancer!
What determines my vaginal health?
You are likely to have heard very little about the vaginal microbiome, despite the gut microbiome being a hot topic in many health magazines and current discussions. But yes, the vaginal microbiome is very real and can really influence your health far beyond the vagina.
Every woman has a slightly different vaginal microbiome, but this generally consists of a unique combination of the following:
The amount and types of each of these elements will vary, and determine your community state-type and consequently the health of your vaginal microbiome.
Why is my vaginal health important?
- A newly published study by a team at UCL has also found that women with less lactobacilli in their vaginal microbiome may be at greater risk of ovarian cancer.
- Your vaginal microbiome is a key determinant in fertility outcomes
- Women who have a stable vaginal microbiome, have higher fertility success rates.
- Up to 40% of women undergoing IVF have abnormal reproductive tract microbiota and research shows that a diverse vaginal microbiome before embryo transfer can decrease success of IVF by around 60%, so testing before transfer can help to increase the success rate
- Risk of disease
- Risk of uncomfortable symptoms which include:
- Pain during sex
- Burning sensation
- Abnormal discharge
- Unpleasant smell
- An imbalance in your vaginal microbiome is increasingly linked to risk of miscarriage.
- It has been found that women who have healthy pregnancies have microbiomes rich in Lactobacillus and low in diversity, compared to women who have experienced recurrent miscarriages.
- For more information on the Vaginal microbiome and miscarriage.
- General health
- The gut microbiome and the vaginal microbiome communicate with each other and are linked. Therefore, you can help to heal your vaginal health through your gut, i.e. through your diet.
- By healing your vaginal health, you can also improve your gut health.
- Your children’s health
- The vaginal microbiota has been linked to seeding your child’s microbiota. This is likely to therefore have a impact on your child’s entire life, through gut health, disease response, and more.
Ok… but what can I do to improve my vaginal health!
- The first step to improving your vaginal health is by understanding it. Tests such as ScreenMe’s Vaginal & Sexual Health Testing Packages screen 100% of the bacteria and yeast in your microbiome. (NB editor’s note – other vaginal microbiome tests are available)
- Our packages include:
- Free consultation with our experts
- Full composition and diversity of microbiome analysed
- Screening of 100% of the bacteria and/or yeast in your microbiome
- Your vaginal community state-type
- NHS registered doctor’s report
- Tailored advice on how you can protect yourself against UTIs, STDs, vaginosis, reduce risk of cervical cancer, and enhance fertility based off of your results.
- FOOD & SUPPLEMENTS
- Diet plays a crucial role not just for your vaginal health, but for your overall health and wellness.
- To help you get started, a few examples of foods that are good for your vaginal health include:
- Prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria
- Leeks, garlic, artichoke, peas, berries, bananas, kiwi
- Probiotic foods promote growth of good bacteria
- Ferment/real Greek yogurt, kefir, miso, fermented or naturally pickled foods onions, cauliflower, carrots, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi avoid shop pickles that may be made with synthetic products).
- Prebiotic foods feed the good bacteria
- We recommend that you speak to a health professional before taking any supplements, in order to make sure you are doing what is best for your body.
Source: Jessica Hobbis from ScreenMe.
ScreenMe is an organisation aimed at optimising and improving women’s health at every stage of their lives, through natural solutions. Our at-home tests allow you to take samples from the privacy of your home; while in your free consultation you are able to discuss your results, goals and more with our experts. ScreenMe’s team creates bespoke plans for you, including nutritional and lifestyle advice, scientific, holistic care, and extensive support – empowering you to be the best version of yourself.