The Vagina:Brain Axis

The Vagina:Brain Axis is the hormone link that supports our sexual wellness and vaginal health. Much like the well-studied Gut:Brain Axis, it conveys an important understanding of how our parts interlock with the absorption of nutrients that support hormone secretions. To back up a minute, if you haven’t heard of the gut:brain axis, it has helped millions of people to change their diet in order to enhance their brain and body functioning. What most people don’t know is that the vaginal wall is almost as equally absorbent of nutrients and producing of hormones as the intestine. In fact, our brain, gut, and vaginal wall are the interconnected network responsible for hormone balancing. Hormone balancing is essential to mood, energy, weight gain, muscle development, immunities, and sexual satisfaction.

Dr. Betsy Greenleaf, the first female USA Board Certified Urogynocologist and one of the top researchers in the vagina: brain axis realm, is on Violet’s team. Dr. Greenleaf says:

Ninety-five percent of the body’s feel-good hormones, serotonin, is made in the intestines. A leaky gut can lead to depression and anxiety in some individuals. Additionally, 70% of the immune system cells are developed in the intestinal tract.

So what does this have to do with vaginas?

Firstly, stress, depression, and anxiety can worsen the over production of stress hormone cortisol, which further worsens the gut and increases infection risk. Cortisol production sucks away your sex hormones that support a balanced and happy vagina. With a compromised immune system, we cannot fight off the invaders. It is all a perfect storm: increased pH of the vagina with lowered estrogen levels leading to a loss of the healthy vaginal microbiome (beneficial bacteria that balances vaginal health) combined with a decreased immune system all lead to the risk of bladder and vaginal infections.

But infections are not the only issue. As we have seen, there is a gut-brain connection; scientists are now looking at the relationship between the vagina and the brain. It has been hypothesized that when the beneficial bacteria in the vagina are out of whack, a hormonal feedback loop affects sexual desire. Evolutionarily this makes sense. It would not be ideal for reproduction if the vagina is imbalanced; therefore, low libido would prevent the urge to procreate until the vagina reaches a healthy balance.

What does this all mean? Well, how about instead of thinking about our diet for weight loss or muscle-building reasons let’s start considering what we eat for optimizing our hormone production for great mental, physical, and sexual energy? Maybe this will allow us to make the choices that will also lead to losing a few unwanted pounds, too! At My Friend Violet, Dr. Greenleaf will share a monthly nutrition tip for you to have a Happy Vagina Diet (her new book coming out later in 2021). For now, make sure you have these things on your plate:

Omega-3 has numerous benefits for your body. You’ll find these healthy fatty acids in oily fish, such as salmon and tuna and in nuts, seeds and plant oils. Healthy fats help our brain, gut, and vagina produce the hormones we need for a vital life.

Betacarotene is a powerful antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A. Your vaginal microbes benefit from betacarotene. You’ll find lots of betacarotene in red, orange and yellow veggies, like sweet potatoes, carrots and capsicums, and in dark, leafy greens, like spinach, kale and broccoli. Antioxidants, of course, keep unwanted bacteria in check allowing your vagina to flourish with healthy microbiome.

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

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