Dr. Betsy Greenleaf on Carbs and Vaginas

You are what you eat. We have all heard this before, but what does this have to do with your vagina?   As the author of the upcoming book, The Happy Vagina Diet, I will be touching on food and pelvic health in this series.

The body is an amazing interconnection of systems. Gut health can directly affect pelvic health.  Let’s delve into the foods we should be avoiding before we learn to have a healthier body.


Carbohydrates are sugars, fiber, and starches that are found in plants and dairy products. They are essential for fuel, and it would be difficult to live without them. However, many of our diets are overrun with simple carbohydrates found in sugars and processed foods such as white bread.

Why do we like to eat these foods?

Our brain reward system is stimulated when we eat these foods and it feels good.  For some people, eating a cookie has the same effect on the brain as ingesting a drug like morphine.   Sugar and carbs can be just as addictive.

How do these foods affect the gut?

  Diets high in processed foods and sugar are very inflammatory.  Specifically, inflammatory foods affect our gut lining leading to a condition called “leaky gut.”   Food particles and chemicals “leak” into our system, causing inflammation in other areas of the body.   

When we eat inflammatory foods, another problem occurs, we change our microenvironment (microbiome).   Our bodies have evolved to live in harmony with bacteria and yeasts in the environment.  We would not absorb specific vitamins, make feel good hormones like serotonin, or have a healthy immune system without these little helpers.

When our guts are thrown off balance, we are more prone to “bad guys” taking over.   Like the bad neighbors moving in, the quality of the neighborhood goes down and attracts more seedy players.  

How do these foods affect the vagina?

When the gut becomes overrun with these unwanted visitors, our immune system becomes less efficient.  We are more prone to infections.   As women, our anus, vagina, and bladder openings are very close to each other.  It is very easy for bacteria from one area to get to the other regions.   The presence of these germs along with inflammation can increase our risks of urinary tract infections and vaginitis.


Staying away from highly processed carbohydrates and sugars, eating a well-balanced diet, and incorporating fermented foods into our meals can keep our bodies and vaginas healthy.   And remember, a healthy vagina is a happy vagina.

“Here’s to a Happy Vagina!”- Your Friend, Violet

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