Vagina Blog #2

My last post (Vagina Blog #1) was centered around the menstrual cycle and how to support ourselves and others around it. I had this information below in with it but it made it too terribly long so I split it up into two posts. Here are some other pieces that relate and feel somewhat separate in their own right. In this post I’m going to cover Mayan Womb Massage, Vagina Steams, and Urinary Tract InfectionsIf you don’t know what these are, it is helpful for everyone to know!  Whether it’s for you or for someone you know, having these tools in our repertoire can sometimes make a huge difference. Believe me, being in the middle of a beginning urinary tract infection in the middle of the night really feels like an emergency! The vagina is strong and tender and needs all different kind of supports.

The Vulnerable Part: I stated this in my first blog but I’ll say it again. I grew up in this United States society just like many of you reading. Or if you’re not from the United States culture or you’re not living in it, many cultures have taboos around this information (and many don’t, I bow to those ones whom worship the vagina and the cycle!)  There’s a lot of thoughts and emotions around sharing this kind of information because I too was trained not to. Yet, I find it important and I’m choosing to do it anyway, even though I have the “am I sure I know what I’m doing, do I know what this could bring?” feelings. I’m prepared for the spectrum of responses and I won’t be surprised if I get everything from “how dare you write about this and post it on the internet, that’s disgusting” all the way to “right ON, this is amazing, thank you for this information” and all the in betweens of responses. This writing is designed to spark something inside of you…..let it.

Womb Bodywork: I received Mayan Womb Massage to help with menstrual symptoms a few years ago. If you have challenging menstrual symptoms, I highly recommend it! If you’re in Colorado, I saw Ixeeya Beacher and loved working with her, and have heard great things about Naomi Boggs. It was amazing to receive more holistic (less medical and based on medicines and “problems”) information and tips about caring for my reproductive system. It actually worked way better than anything the medical world ever gave me which cost way more and did squat. I got massage / acupressure trigger points, digestive / nutritional help, and information on how to use herbs and more natural supports like tea and tinctures. The massage on my womb (just like a massage but for uterus and the reproductive / digestive system on top of the skin) shifted things. Dramatically! I finally have a real visceral and physical sense of my uterus and reproductive space. There is more ease with my cycles and symptoms. It’s all easier to track and I can predict down to the day when my blood is going to show up. I released old traumas I still had no idea were locked up in my body. If you’re healing from birth related things or need structural work around your pelvis and womb, Lynn Leech is supposedly a vagina whisperer who works miracles like nothing I’ve ever heard.

Vagina Steam: This is something I experienced only a few years ago thanks to the womb work. Click here to read more. It’s like getting a sauna / steam for your inner vaginal tissues. Here’s how it goes:

– My recommendation is to either see a professional like I did (whom can walk you through your first one at the least). It’s really nice to have someone do that for you the first go around. If you can’t afford that or you’re ready to steam on your own, go into an herbal apothecary (if you’re in Colorado, Rebecca’s is the spot! On 13th & Spruce in downtown Boulder) and ask if they can help you make up a simple steam based on the symptoms you’re experiencing with your cycle. If they’re trained herbalists they should be able to help you figure out what will help your system. If you can’t find an apothecary with fresh herbs, you can look it up on the internet or ask an herbalist to find out some herbs (try gentle ones to begin) that may soothe symptoms you have. Some grocery stores will sell fresh herbs (like Vitamin Cottage in Colorado).
– Cooking a large pot of the herbs (about one cup) for 20 minutes to make them medicinal in their potency.
– Find something with holes in it to sit on (I use an egg crate and pad it up with a few small towels so I don’t have dig marks in my legs from sitting on it). If you can find a stool with a large hole in the middle that’s perfect.
– Wrap a few towels or a blanket around your waste and let them fall to the floor surrounding what you’re sitting on and your feet so the steam is sealed in (make sure to not leave holes or the steam will slip out and diverts the potency of the steam).
– Sit for 20-30 minutes above the steam until it cools off. It feels heavenly! If it’s too hot you can wait a little while until it’s tolerable. It wafts healing medicinal herbal steam up into the vaginal tissues. Can you imagine how stagnant things can get in there? Engaging the pelvic floor and imagining yourself being supported to open and clear out feels SO good, I can’t even describe it fully.
– After doing these steams at home for myself for a few months now, I’ve experienced even more relief in my menstrual cycle symptoms.

The Dreaded Urinary Tract Infection: if you’ve never had a UTI, give thanks! This is literally one of the most challenging things I’ve been through. It was a rough induction at age 18. Unfortunately once you’ve had one, they can come more often. But if you have them, you can learn how to deal with it. If you don’t know what it is or you’re unsure if maybe you’ve experienced it, read more here.
– Most of us may know it’s really helpful to go pee after having sex, as a way to avoid getting a UTI. If you have sex with someone who doesn’t know this, remind them to pee! Men rarely get UTI’s, unfortunately women are more sensitive to it.
– The Energetics of it: energetically, I’ve noticed that if I have sex where I wasn’t fully ready / feeling committed to it, I have a higher chance of getting a UTI. It may sound like there’s no proof, but that type of subtle dismissal of what my body needs has ultimately led to me having to deal with more UTI’s. It’s real.
– If you feel like you have to pee more than usual, and not a lot comes out when you do, and it burns, you may have a UTI. I know the sensation very well and I’ve finally figured out how to deal with it naturally at home. If I get it within the first few hours (which I usually can), I can avoid the cost and headache of the doctors visit and taking antibiotics.
– If you don’t treat it immediately, it can intensify and if it gets really bad you can get an infection in the bladder which is a point of no return. But, if you get it early, you can help it disappear within a few hours. This is what I’ve gotten to and I’ve kicked out two UTI’s within 12 hours with this process:

** Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional! If you’re having really intense / severe pain that feels like a UTI and you don’t think it’s light enough to deal with at home, please go to the doctor. I’ve been there. If it doesn’t get better at all and only gets worse or you go a day or two and it’s not clearing, go to the doctor. They will give you antibiotics that will work.

– Uva Ursi / Usnea is a tincture that can help wipe out a UTI if used effectively. You can get it at most health food stores or at an herbal apothecary. Take it as frequently as indicated on the bottle or even a little more frequently (just don’t overdo it too much). I end up taking some every 30 minutes to an hour.
– Garlic: garlic is a natural antibacterial. Get a piece of raw garlic and put it directly on your clitoris. It will probably sting so you may not keep it there for long.
– Apple Cider Vinegar: a natural balancing effect for the balance of the body (ph). You can put ACV with garlic as the topical treatment on your clitoris. Taking ACV internally is what I believe has been the most effective as zapping my UTI beginnings in combination with the tincture. As much as you can tolerate drinking (a tablespoon or two per dose should do it), mix apple cider vinegar, turmeric, and honey to make it tolerable to drink. Drink this little mixture every 15 minutes or so, with a ton of water. It should help you clear out the infection by neutralizing your body’s ph, and helping you cleanse out your urethra by peeing.
– If you have to pee, engage the urge and just do it even if only a little bit comes out. Do not hold it in.
– You can also try things like over the counter medications (pills that kills the pain but does not treat the infection), cranberry supplements or juice, and other recommended remedies, but cranberries never helped me much.
** Do NOT eat sugar or processed carbs or drink alcohol. It will make it worse much faster.

For now, this is the end of the vagina postings. If you’re curious about your relationship to vaginas, whether it’s your own or to people who have them, and how to engage on all levels, a wonderful way to investigate that conversation is to go see The Vagina Monologues. They usually have a showing in February every year at universities (I know Naropa and CU does them) and other theatrical outlets. I highly recommend seeing or performing in it (multiple times even! each cast puts on a different kind of show). It’s great for education and pure fun.

As always, thank you for your presence with me and here reading, I’m always open to feedback / questions / anything else. Until next time, with love, Alicia

About Alicia Patterson

Alicia Patterson is a Psychotherapist / Dance Movement Therapist, Birth Doula, Bodyworker / Energy Medicine Practitioner, Dance and Yoga Facilitator in the Boulder / Denver area.
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