Someone asked me not long ago when I first remembered experiencing vaginal discomfort. After some reflection, I was flooded with memories of recurrent vaginal yeast infections and general feelings of ongoing discomfort in my early adolescence. I was probably only 16 years old when I was first diagnosed with what was then known as gardnerella vaginitis, and is now referred to as bacterial vaginosis (BV).
What is more alarming about these memories is how little I learned about what was happening – and why – with each successive doctor visit. Instead of education, my ongoing vaginal problems were a source of embarrassment and shame.
It was years later at my first visit to Planned Parenthood that I got a brochure about yeast infections and started learning some basics of how to avoid them. Even now, it is relatively uncommon for young girls and even grown women to learn about maintaining the health of their own vaginas. I have since become a crusader working to educate not only women but their doctors.
At one of the last gynecology shows we were able to attend, surrounded by some of the biggest lube brand names, I wasn’t surprised that they didn’t share my enthusiasm for new research on the vaginal biome, and the importance of osmolality in feminine hygiene and sexual health products we were sharing. But I was shocked by some of the physicians’ responses.
One in particular continues to blow me away. To our question “What do you recommend for your patients?”, he replied with a smile, “Crisco.” He then continued on about how his colleague would make little jars of Crisco and hand them out to their patients without telling them what was in the jar, as though it was a miracle cure. I was horrified. Who would recommend a synthetic trans fat product for dry vaginal tissue? The answer is someone who has no idea that the vaginal biome is real and deserves the same loving attention as does our gut health. For the record, most experts are not sold on trans fats in Crisco for the gut biome either.
This recent interaction made me realize (once again) that misinformation about vaginal and sexual health abounds. The failures of decades of abstinence-only sex education are alive and well, and we see its impact on female reproductive health in discouraging statistics on disease prevention as well as pregnancy mortality rates – which are some of the highest in the developed world. For many women, this misinformation or utter lack of education perpetuates the daily discomfort that millions of women experience from vaginal pain that they feel they cannot share with anyone, including their physicians.
It has taken me years to understand and work on real solutions to deal with my own ongoing vaginal discomfort and pain, but I can’t say how proud and delighted I am to be able to offer these solutions in the world. They came one at a time over many years, but now we finally have an effective three-step kit formulated with our own patented Bio-Match® technology: the Flourish Vaginal Care Kit™.
I know firsthand how difficult it is to get through a day without real solutions to my most intimate problems. For many, it can be close to impossible to really focus on anything else. When I hear from our customers and friends how these products have changed their lives, it stops me in my tracks. I am reminded over and over again that our work actually restores more than vaginal health, but a confidence in our own ability to heal ourselves.
“I had vaginal dryness that was beyond uncomfortable. It was so painful that it felt like there was pressure along with burning pain. I used this Restore® and I had immediate relief. I will never be without it.”
–Lexi L., Connecticut
This is what keeps me inventing and thinking outside the box. Learn more about the new kit here, and to explore our knowledge base about all things vaginal health, visit resourcesforwomenshealth.org.