Updated: May 23, 2019
Did you know May is Mental Health Awareness Month?
If you didn’t know, now you know!
This month, I’m kicking off a brand-new blog series with pHembiotics™ called “Beneath the Surface”. Beneath what surface you may ask? I’m talking about THEE surface…the V…the birthplace of all mankind – the vagina. Did that word make you cringe? Well, you’re going to have to get over it…at least for this initial post that is.
So listen, women have been in the news A LOT lately. The crazy thing about it is that we’ve been in the news as the subject matter but we aren’t the ones making the decisions. It goes without saying that many decisions about women are made for women but not by women. Where am I going with this?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have to know that states are popping up left and right with “heartbeat” or anti-abortion bills. Don’t worry – I’m not getting on my soapbox about that just yet. However, I wanted to paint you a true picture of how feminine health is devalued.
Now for the real tea on The V…
I had the pleasure of connecting with Nia Spicer, RN – the brains behind pHembiotics™. In our series of discussions, we not only talked about how hard it is being a woman. She also schooled me on how integral feminine health is in the mental health status of women. I mean, let’s think about this for a second –
As young girls, we are taught to do many things...one of which is DON’T GET PREGNANT. Aside from being taught about what a yeast infection is and to only wipe from front to back (come on, you knew we would get real…after all, this is about vaginas), we aren’t taught much else – like about bacterial vaginosis (BV).
I’m not the expert on this so this is where I take my seat. However, Nia will walk you through a whirlwind of emotions caused by the big, bad BV –
Tales from the Bedside
Her name was Ashley.
This was Ashley’s 5th time on the Labor & Delivery floor yet still she had no baby. She came in complaining of decreased fetal movement since the early afternoon. By now Renee was a pro at all the tricks, she counted her baby’s kicks, knew about their 20-minute sleep cycles in the womb and even drank sweet apple juice to get the baby to move.
So, I placed the fetal heart monitors on Ashley’s belly and could not find the heartbeat. Another nurse came into assist and we still could not find the heartbeat. By now, we had an ultrasound order from the doctor which confirmed that Renee’s unborn child had died in the womb. She was 33 weeks pregnant…expecting a baby boy.
This was devastating.
She was just starting to get excited, as this was the longest pregnancy she’d ever carried. She finally thought she was going to get the chance at motherhood. You could see how the news just crushed her. I stayed at the bedside with Renee as we prepared for the birth of a deceased infant. The room was somber and quiet, Renee’s husband holding her right hand tight.
Ashley’s battle with infertility and child loss is one that many women can relate to. Watching celebrities who look like you bask in their joy of motherhood whether via surrogate or IVF can be disheartening. Infertility treatments costs tens of thousands of dollars, more than the average American family can bear.
Before her battle with infertility, Ashley struggled with chronic Bacterial Vaginosis. This is the most common vaginal infection in women of childbearing age and if left untreated can cause recurrent miscarriages, premature labor and infertility. These factors can cause a woman to have major anxiety – And to add insult to injury, she constantly wonders about the unpleasant scent coming from her vagina every time she gets out of a chair, leaves a bathroom stall, undresses in a gym locker room, or engages in sexual intercourse with an intimate partner. She’s wondering if anyone else can smell her because she can smell herself.
Women are oversexualized in Hip-Hop music with both male and female rappers both amplifying fishy odors coming from women’s vaginal region. What is not highlighted is the fact that 80% of women will develop this “fishy” odor in their lifetime. It is associated with Bacterial Vaginosis.
The constant social stigma of having a foul-smelling vagina places major implication on a woman’s psyche. This can cause depression, mental anguish, anxiety and feelings of isolation. This is not an issue that women run and talk to their girlfriends about, much like infertility.
So, what can you do to get started on the road to your new normal if you’ve experienced any of this?
1. Get connected with a healthcare provider right away
2. Stay off of the search engines and doctor websites! Leave the diagnosing up to a professional
3. Consider incorporating holistic options into your routine – pHembiotics™ has a great line of unique supplements that are backed by science
4. Remembers that 8 in 10 women deal with this issue at some point or another…YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
5. Share this article. Sharing is caring 😊
Stay tuned for more stories from our Beneath the Surface Series!