Second Nature Care Blog

The Environmental Vagina Monologues

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 1, 2017 5:00:00 AM / by Isadora Guggenheim

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Women spend over 2 billion on female products and they need to know what is in them.
 
Women spend over 2 billion per year on feminine hygiene products that contain known endocrine-disrupting chemicals, carcinogens and allergens.  Black and Latina women use more douches, wipes, powders and deodorizers more often than their racial counterparts. This increases their risk of chemical exposures and they experience higher rates of bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections. Is this environmental racism or something else?

The vagina is more sensitive and absorbent than other skin and she is smart. Like your oven, she is self-cleaning.  Well-endowed with blood vessels, protective mucus membranes and multiple layers of shedding cells the vagina is protective and highly water permeable.  Our vaginas rapidly absorb chemicals without processing them.  This makes for a double-edged vagina.  Great when you need quick absorption of medications and not so good with harmful chemicals in feminine products.

The chemicals in feminine products (parabens, preservatives, fragrances, phthalates) interfere with estrogen signaling and we don't know the long-term effects.  Glycerol, a common component in lubricants, can irritate or damage vaginal and rectal cells and increase the transmission of sexually transmitted infections like herpes or HIV.  Many women have allergic reactions to feminine hygiene products or use a product to relieve itching and have a reaction that creates more itching.  One example is over-the-counter anti-itch formulas that contain benzocaine - a numbing agent.  Benzocaine is one of the top triggers for genital dermatitis that causes more itching.  

High absorbency tampon products are mixed with viscose rayon.  Cotton tampons are sprayed with pesticides,  contain dioxins from the bleaching process and synthetic fibers.  Three other synthetics were removed because they were linked to toxic shock syndrome - a condition that does not have required reporting in all states. Combine a highly vascularized tissue with synthetic fibers (all tampons cause tiny tears in the vagina) that allow the production of large quantities of toxins to be absorbed into the bloodstream and you've got a potentially lethal situation.  It is estimated that a woman might use approximately 11,400 tampons with 11,400 dixoin exposures during her life and low dose dioxin exposures can accumulate in the body.  It's like snake venom and you don't know how that cumulative effect will affect you.  

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from NY has repeatedly introduced legislation for federal research to study chemical exposures from tampon use.  In 2011, it was deemed unnecessary and a waste of money.  If you're not steaming between your ears yet - get this - lubricants pull water out of your vaginal cells causing these cells to "shrink and shrivel."  Lubricants raise the vaginal pH and make you a better host for gram negative bacteria which causes bacterial vaginosis.  Silicone lubricants were found to be the safest.   

Tampons, pads and lubricants are classified as medical devices (medical devices are not required to disclose package ingredients) and sprays, powders, wipes, douches are classified as cosmetics.  That is convenient because cosmetics are not regulated.  Many products are labeled "for external use only."  It becomes an anti-gravitational feat to prevent a gel or wash rubbed into or near the opening from migrating inside to the mucosal membranes.  

What is a girl to do?  We recommend Good Clean Love and several Emerita products from Emerson Ecologics.  Go to our website www.secondnaturecare.com  Click Restore and use our virtual pharmacy with a direct portal to Emerson.  Passcode is Second.  

Almost Naked Lubricant 1.5oz
Product Code: G00105
Brand:  Good Clean Love (GCL) 
Vendor Item Code: 200105 
Category:  Women's Topical 

OH Warming Lubricant Paraben-Free 2 oz
Product Code: OH
Brand:  Emerita (EME) 
Vendor Item Code: 30-225 
Category:  Women's Topical 

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Isadora Guggenheim

Written by Isadora Guggenheim

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Isadora Guggenheim, ND, RN, MS, CNS LMT, owner of Second Nature Naturopathic Care, LLC
For all appointments: Tel: 845 358-8385 Fax: 845 358-2963 drguggenheim@msn.com