By: A.M., IANtB Science Editor
Yes I know we’re all annoyed by every DIY shortcut, insight, or trick on the Internet is now called a “hack.” But if anything is worth hacking, it’s vaginas. (Though, to be honest, I thought this video was going to be about something completely different and was slightly disappointed…)
YouTube’s Laci Green is one of my favorite sex educators out there. Today she decided to cover a couple of problems that aren’t pretty but frankly plague women everywhere: yeast infections and UTIs. Women are more prone than men to UTIs because they have shorter urethras than men and therefore bacteria have a shorter distance to travel to get to the bladder. The etiology of yeast infections are slightly more complex and less understood, but it can be caused by a systemic imbalance in microbiome populations precipitating from exposure to antibiotics, increased estrogen levels in the body from birth control pills, or conditions that cause a weakening of the immune system. Recurring yeast infections are common in women with diabetes, which is increasingly prevalent in Western countries, and in general yeast will feed on the high sugar diet common in these regions.
A few safety notes. First and foremost–and Laci notes this in the video–you should definitely visit your midwife or doctor to get these conditions properly diagnosed! Also, none of the remedies recommended in these videos are proven to work, whereas the biomedical treatments are. These treatments should not be considered equal alternatives so much as preventative measures. So if you have a trusting relationship with your practitioner, trust their judgement. Because, especially in the case of UTIs, if you don’t nip it in the bud it can become life threatening. I had an anatomy professor once who told us about her friend who tried to treat a UTI with cranberry juice, and she almost died when the infection entered into her bloodstream. And chronic, improperly treated yeast infections are associated with depression and lethargy, which can vastly decrease one’s quality of life. And finally, the probiotic industry is not regulated by the FDA and the science of the microbiome is so new that we don’t fully understand it enough to even make recommendations on what species of bacteria should be used to treat what ailments, or what the proper dosages should be.
That having been said, my favorite thing about this video is actually the app recommendation! I can’t wait to try it! It is really important to be aware of your cycle so that you come to know what is normal and what is not. My favorite book for understanding your cycle and how it affects your fertility is Taking Charge of Your Fertility, by Toni Weschler. It’s got a really stupid flowery cover, but it’s great. It’s a super fat book, packed full of information, but still easy to understand.
Be sure to check out the rest of Laci’s videos on YouTube. YouTube educators like Laci and Dr. Lindsey Doe provide an important (free) service in a world where evidence-based information about sex is just not getting out there to the people who need it.
And if you try any of these out, we’d love to hear how it worked out for you on our Facebook page. Happy hacking!