Nature’s Wonders for Sexual Health

Earthly Intimate

So a week or two ago we got a good lesson in store in terms of lubes, specifically Intimate Earth’s Defense Protection Glide. Now this was a great lesson about how Intimate Earth has healing and protection properties which includes (but not limited to): helping thrush, preventing thrush, and protecting against HPV.

While these points absolutely excited me because there are so many women out there who suffer constant thrush, and having an extra layer of protection for HPV – which is the virus that causes cervical cancer – I’m a sceptic at heart and this sounded very *essential oils will cure my life*, plus I’m a sucker for a good science deep dive… And I’m talking hours long.

So here’s how my journey went from “That sounds fake” to “Oh my god, Algae is a miracle”

Now Intimate Earth is great for the fact that it’s Vegan and cruelty-free, including great organic ingredients, being glycerin free (glycerin is okay in the right formulas, but that’s rambling for another day!), and paraben free; but these aren’t the winners for me. Defense Protection Glide has 2 ingredients that get me very excited now and those are Guava Bark, and Carrageenan.

We’ll start with Guava Bark, this plays an enormous part in traditional medicines across the globe, the study I read was specifically related to rural India, due to many factors the struggle to access good health care means many are still using traditional medicines to this day.
Studies have been able to show that Guava Bark is effective in fighting:

  • Gastrointestinal Issues
  • Malaria
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Oral/Dental Infections
  • Skin Infections
  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Pain
  • Fevers
  • Liver Problems
  • Kidney Problems

And on top of all that it has amazing antimicrobial abilities having efficacy against 34 bacterial species, 19 fungal species, 6 protozoal (little single cell organisms) species, and 4 viruses.

“But what does this have to do with my lube?” Great question! Due to the vaginal being such a delicate little thing, you can look at it the wrong way and bam a little bit of thrush/yeast infection has begun, this ingredient is exciting due to it’s ability to kill off the overgrowth of the fungus that creates them (yes, it’s really a fungus, it naturally occurs but thrush/yeast infections happen when there is an overgrowth)… There is so much history behind guava bark being used as a douche, treating BV and thrush, being used in a Sitz Bath for post pregnancy or any kind of relief of pain around the genitals.

As someone who has had her fair share this ingredient makes me do  a little happy dance thinking about how good this can be for all vagina havers out there. Not only is there years of traditional medicine showing the uses, but for those skeptics like myself there is studies dating back to the 1940s that show it’s effectiveness (not saying years of culture and traditional medicine means nothing if not backed by western sciences, I just like to know the ins and outs of everything, like the nosey person I am).

 

Here we are moving onto Carrageenan, I had no idea what this was until I did my research (couldn’t even pronounce it, but that’s just the blonde in me coming through). This ingredient is derived from red edible seaweeds and is often used as a thickener in foods and gels. “Why do I care about a thickener?” well you see, algae lack an immune system so they’ve developed these really elaborate chemical defense compounds against bacteria, viruses, and fungi. These compounds have been shown to be effective against infectious and pathogenic microbes, and show promising results fighting some human diseases.

So the key excitement with carrageenan being included in Defence Protection Glide is the protective properties it has, this ingredient can prevent this bind of HPV virions to cells, lowering your chances of getting the virus. This excites me for various reasons (including the link to cervical cancer that HPV has) there is an estimated 291 million women with a HPV infection at any time and there’s believed to be a similar amount of men too and while most of these infections don’t cause noticeable symptoms persistent infections with some HPV strains can lead to cervical cancer or other anal/genital cancers+, so including carrageenan in a lube is such a genius move to try and protect us all against something so common within the communities but the ability to be so serious and life changing at the same time.

 

While there has yet to be clinical trials to show all of this there is quite a lot of evidence pointing towards all benefits and no downsides yet, I will happily be using Defense Protection Glide in the future knowing what I know now, and hopefully you will be too… Because there’s nothing sexier than looking after the health of you and your sexual partners! ?

Honeymoon Cystitis

urinary tract infection

Cystitis is a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) that can last for a few days, with the most common symptoms including the constant urge to urinate and a burning sensation when peeing. There are numerous causes for Cystitis, including falling estrogen levels during menopause, using a birth control diaphragm, and even from changing tampons (if susceptible to UTIs, perhaps look at changing from tampons to menstrual cups).

However Honeymoon Cystitis is caused by sexual intercourse and almost only ever in women. This is for two reasons, firstly that a woman’s urethra is much shorter than a mans, and secondly because of the close proximity of the vaginal opening and anus to the urethral entrance.

Honeymoon Cystitis is typically caused when the bacteria E. Coli is spread to the urethral opening either from the anus or the vagina, from there it moves up into the bladder where the trouble starts. Despite originating from penetrative sex, Honeymoon Cystisis is not a STI. As such, and while safe sex is always recommended, condoms do not prevent Honeymoon Cystisis, and some studies even indicate a higher chance of getting a UTI with the use of condoms (perhaps try a non-latex condom if you have reactions to your current choice of protection).

Symptoms

Some of the typical symptoms of Honeymoon Cystitis are:

  • A strong and persistent desire to pass urine
  • A sensation of burning while passing urine
  • Passing a small quantity of urine frequently
  • Hematuria (presence of blood in your urine)
  • Foamy urine, sometimes with a strong smell
  • Low-grade fever
  • Feeling discomfort in the pelvis or lower abdominal region

While the spread of the E. Coli bacteria is the cause of this UTI, there are two completely different ideas as to what makes someone more susceptible. Some say it is the first time of penetrative sex after a long spell of abstinence. The other end of the spectrum says that it can happen after intensive or frequent penetrative sex.

Prevention

However both sides of this agree on ways to prevent Honeymoon Cystitis:

  • Urinate immediately after intercourse to ensure you eject any bacteria that could have entered the urethra
  • Drink plenty of water every day
  • Always wipe front to back to avoid bacterial spread
  • Using a good water based lubricant, even if there are no issues with vaginal dryness, will help provide a good glide and prevent micro tears, especially around the vulva and vaginal opening.

Treatment

It is recommended to see your GP should you experience any of those above symptoms, as some of these also overlap with symptoms of a few Sexually Transmitted Infections that only a blood test will be able to reveal. If it is Honeymoon Cystitis, your GP will probably suggest the following:

  • Prescribe a short course of antibiotics
  • Maintain fluids
  • Avoid alcohol
  • Avoid more penetrative sex
  • Cranberries (as in the actual fruit) may help with an active ingredient that prevents bacteria from sticking to the bladder wall. However, cranberry juice or capsules may not be potent enough for this to happen. In fact, despite popular belief, cranberry juice adds hippuric acid to urine, and Vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid, and actually feeds the bacteria that cause UTIs.

 

On a final note, while you can indeed have penetrative sex while suffering Honeymoon Cystitis, as it isn’t an infection that can be passed on to the other partner, you will feel extra discomfort and even exacerbate the problem even further.

 

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