Midwife Matters

Pregnancy preparations, women's health, and care options

The Midwife Solution

Today is International Day of the Midwife!!  To celebrate I am posting an article on how Midwives can be part of the solution to our nation’s healthcare crisis.  Read more about how adopting the Midwifery Model of care can do that.

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Vaginitis (Vaginal irritation/infection)…How to Avoid It.

Symptoms of vaginitis are extremely common, accounting for over 10 million office visits per year.  We often self treat with over the counter medications.  Moreoften however, we can are treating the wrong thing and need to be seen for the proper care.

Normal Vaginal Discharge:

Is white, clear, thick or thin.

Does not smell bad.

Amount of discharge varies especially if pregnant, using birth control or prior to menses.

Abnormal Discharge/Symptoms:

Causes itching of the vagina or around the vaginal area

Redness, pain or swelling around the vagina

Discharge that is foamy, greenish/yellow, or bloody

Bad/Foul smelling discharge

Pain when urinating or having sex

Pain in lower abdomen


Causes of Vaginal infection: 

Good bacteria from vagina have been destroyed by other bad bacteria

Reaction to something in the vagina such as a tampon or condom

Sexually transmitted infections

Sensitivites to soaps/detergents/lubricants etc.

Hormonal changes

Recent use of antibiotics


Each vaginal infection requires a different treatment, you should see your midwife if you have concerning symptoms.  If you are diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection your partner should be seen as well for treatment.


Wear cotton underwear, avoid thong underwear.

Wash the genitalia only with warm water, no soap.  The vagina is self cleansing.

Bath only in warm water, do not add any perfumes,salts, oils or bubbles to the water.

Use white, unscented toilet paper, avoid using baby wipes.  Wipe from front to back.

NEVER douche.

Use only non-scented tampons and pads, and use only if absolutely needed.  AVOID Always brand.

Use clear body soaps, nothing milky/creamy.  Especially avoid Dove, Ivory and Caress.

No fabric softener sheets.  No Tide detergent.


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What Happened to Paps Every Year?

Many of us entered our adult women years being told how important it was to get a Pap  every year.  But that science has changed and we now know much more about screening for cervical cancer.

The purpose of a Pap is to identify any changes to the cells of the cervix that may lead to cancer of the cervix.  A Pap does not diagnose sexually transmitted infections, uterine fibroids, ovarian problems, etc.  It is primary for the diagnosis of cervical cancer.

It is now understood that HPV (Human Papillomavirus) is the major cause of cervical cancer.  It is a virus with many “types”.  Kind of like there are many types of trees. The virus types that are more concerning have been labeled “High Risk HPV”.  In fact, there are more than 100 “types” and of those, 8 are linked to being High Risk.  Some are more of a nuisance and not a threat to cervical health.

After extensive research of cervical cancer and testing, the following has been determined to be the safest schedule for cervical testing:

No Pap before age 21.

Almost all younger individuals will have the HPV virus in their body.  For the vast majority of individuals the body will identify that virus and will do a self immunity process. This will clear the virus from the individual.

Pap every 3 years for women who have normal Paps and are between the ages of 21 and 65.

At 65 some women no longer need a Pap.

Your provider will clarify this for you.

Also women who have had a complete hysterectomy:  the cervix and uterus have both been removed, also no longer need a Pap.

If your Pap is not normal, your provider will make a plan for follow up that may include a colposcopy or just a repeat Pap in one year.  This is all based on the results from the pathologist..

Next to come on the blog:  Then what happens at an “annual visit”????


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