Thursday, July 12, 2007

Public Service Announcement

I consider it my duty to pass along relevant and potentially life saving information when it tumbles across my consciousness. Like Uncle Ben said, 'With great power comes great responsibility'. Granted I don't have the former, so rarely practice the latter. It isn't very fun, anyway. But in this case the information happens to involve one of my favorite things and something vital to every man, woman and child in the world: Vaginas.

The University of Idaho, based in Moscow (Idaho - duh!) of all places, recently released findings regarding the alarming lack of understanding when it comes to vaginal health. It seems women aren't very open or comfortable talking about their 'special place' with their own doctors, thus creating dangerous health problems and misdiagnosis. Not exactly a news flash. Wifey often blows (no pun intended) her OB/Gyn appointments off and, at one point, didn't go for over 3 years. Hey, her vaginal health effects me too!!

The big findings involve...well...allow Larry Forney, a professor of biology at the University of Idaho, to explain: “Women suffer from insidious health problems, including bacterial vaginosis and yeast infections, and those problems send them in droves to seek medical treatment. Unfortunately, prescribed treatments aren’t necessarily effective because doctors don’t understand distinctive differences in the microbial composition of the vagina among women."

Now we're talking! Let's delve into this microbial composition of vaginas among women. Seems different races of women have different 'natural' vaginal bacteria. Forney's (Am I the only one finding it amusing that his name rhymes with 'horny'? Yes? Alrighty then) team examined different types of vaginal bacteria from white and black women all over North America. A traveling pussy patrol if you will.

Three major findings:

1: There are at least eight (that's 8 for you numeric learners) kinds of normal vaginal bacteria 'communities' (Forney's term, not mine) among women.

2: Each of these eight communities is different.

3: Among these eight, some are specific to racial groups.

Why, you may ask (if you made it this far) is this important? Dr. Forney?

“Understanding the differences between these normal vaginal communities is the key to developing effective treatment and keeping women healthy....with this new insight into the vaginal ecosystem, we will be able to better understand a woman’s risk to disease and individual health care needs, and assist doctors and women to make more informed decisions about health issues and treatment plans.”

Forney goes on to introduce my new favorite term when he says the vagina is 'elegant in it's simplicity' and that healthy ones can self correct when there is a change or imbalance. Self correcting vaginas. GODDAMN I love the 21st century!!!

Yes, I kid. I make light of the situation and act like a 14 year old boy (hey, the shoe fits!), but please lovely ladies, make sure you keep things in balance. Forney says that when you pH balances change dramatically you leave yourself open to infections, which, if not treated or treated improperly, can make you predisposed to more serious problems. These include STDs and HIV.

Lads, pass this info along to your lady friends. Vaginal communities everywhere will thank you.

Remember, a healthy vagina is a happy vagina and everyone benefits from a happy vagina.

Today's distraction: Give this lovely lady a tickle and try to figure out which community she belongs to. Whichever one it is, I want to visit.

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