How getting wasted affects your vaginal ecosystem

Drugs and booze and vaginas

If you are doing a lot of partying you are putting pressure on your system. Drugs and booze force your body to process heavy-load, often-toxic substances, taking the focus away from protecting you from life.

Microbial invasions can more easily occur in any environment that doesn’t foster your happy microbial communities. This can be in your digestive system or your vagina, or anywhere else for that matter.

Toxins also tend to directly murder your friendly microbes, for example the gunk down the back of your throat that gets swallowed after snorting.

The drugs and booze themselves may not even be the major issue. Not getting enough sleep, not being properly hydrated and not eating properly all take their toll on your body’s ability to defend itself. If you are not providing your body with everything it needs to protect itself, weak spots occur.

In addition to this, you are clogging up your liver, one of your primary organs of elimination. Your body will prioritise alcohol and some other drugs over your normal body byproducts (metabolic waste, which is normal), allowing junk to build up in your body, weakening your system.

Innate immunity

Your cells all have their own little defence systems inbuilt. If you weaken your body in any way, your cells can struggle to ward off problems. Your vaginal cells work this way too.

Healthy flora, good blood supply, regular hormone levels, correctly toned pelvic structures, and a strong immune system can keep a vagina happy, but once you rock the boat too far in one direction, it can be easy for vulvovaginal and pelvic issues to arise mysteriously.

Do what you want, but know what you are doing

This isn’t a lecture about drugs or drinking – knock yourself out – it is simply a reality check for the impact excessive partying has on your body. This is particularly true when you are trying to either support your vagina to heal or fix a problem as insidious as bacterial vaginosis.

You should be making an informed decision about what you choose to put into your body. Choose carefully while you are trying to treat any vaginal problem, because it matters.

Many chemicals kill good bacteria on contact, so just think about where your party favourites end up. If you are snorting, swallowing or inserting drugs in your anal canal or vagina, they tend to kill your good microbes on contact; if you smoke cigarettes or pot, the smoke is a carcinogen and isn’t going to be supportive of the tiny life form of a microbe; and so on.

You get the drift. Be discerning. If you are having vagina problems, chill out on the substances and think about what you are missing out on until you are back on track.

The birth control pill and other medications

Some pharmaceutical drugs are known to kill good bacteria in the gut on contact. For example, the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) and paracetamol (Tylenol, Panadol Forte, and others containing codeine) are probiotic bacterial enemies.

This means that if you are on the pill or pain medication and suffer BV or yeast infections regularly, it is advisable to be chowing down on fermented probiotic food as a matter of course and looking to get off those drugs.

Antibiotics kill a lot of bacteria and should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.  

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)