My husband and I trekked up to Sun Valley last week to visit the Theodore Payne Foundation nursery. Theodore Payne was a dude obsessed with California’s natural flora and fauna. He loved its native plants. After his death, a foundation continued to honor his commitment to wild flowers and native plants. They have a quaint little house with books and gifties and a great shea cream by Ron the Botanist (I’m a beauty product junkie, if you couldn’t tell by some of my posts!). They grow and sell indigenous plants with a beautiful and well stocked nursery. It’s worth a trip.
Native plants and natural flora thrive in their native environment. Ladies (and gents) have natural flora that lives on and in our bodies, thriving in their native environment too. An obvious place is the vagina (this one’s only for the ladies, of course). Millions of bacteria. All considered part of your normal flora. This is just one interesting fact about the vagina.
Below, 8 interesting facts about the vagina (etc), normal flora included!!
- In human development, the clitoris and the glans penis both originate from the same structure – the genital tubercle. Early on, hormones command that structure to become a penis or a clitoris. Nerves, etc are the same.
- A normal vagina is between 8-12 cm long (about 3-5inches).
- Normal vaginal discharge consists of 1-4 ml of fluid in a 24 hour period. It changes throughout the course of your menstrual cycle – becoming more noticeable around ovulation (probably an evolutionary result – the more discharge you have the easier and more pleasurable sex, the more likely you’ll reproduce. Remember your special sex days? This is ovulation!).
- In each ml of vaginal discharge, up to 1,000,000,000 colonies of bacteria can be found. There are about 25 different types of bacteria that make up these billion colonies. These bacteria are considered part of your normal flora and help maintain an optimal vaginal environment (free of irritation and inflammation).
- Diet, sexual activity, medication, and stress can all affect volume / smell / character of vaginal discharge.
- Vaginal discharge is the most common reason a woman visits her gynecologist. It is impossible for us to evaluate the problem if you don’t have the discharge when you come see us. If you had the discharge last week but now it’s gone, guess what? There’s nothing for us to look at either!
- The most common causes of vaginitis (meaning: inflamed vagina) are: bacterial vaginosis (BV), yeast infection, and trichomoniasis. Don’t know what these are? I’ll tell you about them later.
- Causes of vaginal irritation are numerous: if you can name it, you can add it to the list: scented panty liners, spermicides, condoms, soaps, perfume, semen, lubrication, tampons left in too long. Want to add to the list? Email me and I will.
And there you go! I bet you’ll never look at native flora the same way again!