Flawed 2002 WHI Study Still Has Women Confused

AskDrSeibel.com’s Mache Seibel, MD explains common vaginal health issues and solutions

NEWTON, Mass.– While 32 million women suffer with painful sex or vaginal dryness, and await the outcome of the November, 2016 congressional hearings to remove the “black box” warning on vaginal estrogen, they can understand common vaginal issues along with safe solutions so they don’t have to “grin and bear it” or wonder if they are having a serious problem.

“Vaginal issues can be uncomfortable, embarrassing and scary, leading to self-treatment which can make matters worse or just not fix the problem,” says Mache Seibel, M.D. Editor of My Menopause Magazine, and author of The Estrogen Window (Rodale, April, 2016). “Women are still confused about the safety of vaginal estrogen because of the flawed WHI study so it’s important to consult with your doctor to get the right diagnosis.”

Some common issues include:

  1. Vulvodynia – The skin around the outside of the vagina and the clitoris can burn, itch and lead to painful sex. While treating the underlying problem, wear cotton underwear, avoid hot tubs or pools, use mild detergent and rinse with cool water to keep the area clean and dry after urination and sex. Non-hormonal Replens moisturizer can help relieve dryness for days.
  2. Trichomoniasis “trich” – Some have no symptoms, others experience irritation, inflammation, itching, burning, an unusual discharge and/or odor. Trichomoniasis must be treated with antibiotics like metronidazole. A condom can prevent this STD, but both partners must be treated or it will “bounce” back and forth.
  3. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) – Almost half of all vaginal infections are BV, and if left untreated, BV can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, infertility, an increased risk of UTIs, STDs and early delivery in pregnant women. Gardnerella vaginalis, E-coli and other bacteria can lead to an abnormal vaginal ecosystem intended to maintain a healthy pH of 3.5-4.5. Sex, menstruation and hormonal changes can elevate the pH, causing a fishy, musty odor, itch, abnormal discharge, irritation and sometimes infection. Antibiotics are used for treatment but can lead to a yeast infection and the uncomfortable cycle of infections begin. RepHresh Gel can be used once every 3-days to maintain healthy pH.
  4. Yeast Infection – Yeast and bacteria are naturally present in the vaginal environment and need to remain in balance to avoid infection. Symptoms of a yeast infection include itching and burning, with an odorless vaginal thick discharge.RepHresh Pro-B contains strains of vaginal probiotic lactobacilli that balance yeast and bacteria daily to help maintain vaginal flora in a normal, healthy range.
  5. Bumps and Lumps – The area around the outside of the vagina is loaded with lubricating glands, sweat glands and hair follicles that can plug up and fill with fluids or become inflamed. These cause lumps, bumps and sometimes painful infections. Often they need to be lanced by a healthcare provider and treated with warm sitz baths and/or antibiotics.
  6. Vaginismus – An involuntary squeezing of the muscles of the vagina can make a pelvic exam, placing a tampon or having sex challenging. Try 20 Kegel’s exercises several times a day followed by the insertion of a Soul Source small dilator with a gentle water-based lubricant like Pre-Seed or Wet Original to ease insertion while doing the Kegels. Don’t suffer in silence with this; ask for help.

“Common vaginal symptoms are treatable. Just remember, if something doesn’t seem normal, see your healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and treatment,” adds Seibel. www.AskDrSeibel.com