One of the most asked questions I receive on The Vagina Blog is “how do I get rid of my bacterial vaginosis?” Today I’m interviewing Natasha Semago, the owner of VeeFresh to learn more about boric acid and what it can do for BV.
Natasha, tell us your story!
I started out as a court reporter and then I got into this. I really got into and founded this company because of my own struggle. I had spent my entire adult life struggling with BV and was tired of dealing with it. I was back and forth with doctors and I felt like I was fighting all the time to get treatment and was so frustrated by all of it. It began to cause a lot of depression and anxiety, I wanted to distance myself from even my husband. I felt like I had to have rules before sex, I needed to shower right beforehand and I was obsessed with my odor and what was going on. I started harassing my friends and family about what their vagina smells like and if my odor was unusual or normal.
Something that has helped me understand vaginas is the difference between scent and odor. Vagina’s have a unique scent, but a distinct odor is a reason to be concerned.
As I was reaching out to people, many were saying “No, I don’t have an odor” and I really started feeling even more isolated and alone. Even if they have or if people have had an odor before, because of the stigmas we’ve created, everyone hesitates to talk about it from fear of judgement.
Finally I was researching and I came across an article that mentioned boric acids suppositories for the treatment of BV and that they had been used for hundreds of years. I got some, I tried some and they worked right away and I cried. I really thought that BV was my life, I thought this is me. I thought I would always feel alone, isolated, that sex would always be scheduled and self-conscious.
I then went back to my doctor and asked her about boric acid and she said yes, they used to use that for BV all the time and it’s a great treatment. I was so frustrated she had never mentioned it! Which is why it is so important to do your own research going into your doctors appointments, even just so you can ask more informed questions!
My doctor then recommended I continue boric acid treatment instead of antibiotics because after using them for so long I was becoming resistant to the antibiotics. I have chronic BV and now I don’t have to deal with it because of using these suppositories.
People don’t always realize when you have an infection like BV you take on so much of the societal shame that we’ve created around things like vaginal infections.
The main symptom of BV is the fishy odor and thin greyish discharge. For me, my vaginal pH struggles to reset itself after my period and after intercourse, so using a product like VeeFresh helps me do that. Boric acid is used for many other things, even as an eye wash solution.
So what causes BV?
Really anything in our environment can disrupt your body’s pH including soaps, what we eat, what we drink, what menstrual products we use…anything. They’ve actually now proven that hormonal birth control causes recurring BV as well. I know many that have BV and think it’s an STI, go in, get an antibiotic that then causes a yeast infection and by the time they’ve cured the yeast infection they have BV again. It is a cycle that is so hard to get out of.
A boric acid suppository works because it has anti-fungal and antiseptic properties and it helps your body put itself back into balance.
You offer another product called VeeTract as well. What does that do?
VeeTract is to help with urinary tract infections. VeeTract is a combination of hibiscus and D Mannose. The way it works is D Mannose is a sugar that cannot be absorbed by the body and binds with the bacteria that causes utis. It then flushes out of the body along with the bacteria when you urinate. It’s an easy, natural way to help prevent and treat urinary tract infections.
Is it safe to use during pregnancy?
Check in with your doctor and see what they have to say.
For me BV causes me to feel so irritated. I’ve only had it a handful of times, I’ve been so lucky not to end up in a loop, but it just feels awful. There’s discharge, but it feels too dry and so itchy or burny.
What many don’t know too, is if it’s left untreated, BV can lead to much worse problems. BV can lead to Pelvic Inflammatory disease and that can lead to infertility. If you have BV and then you use something like tampons which cause micro tearing in the walls of the vagina, you’re just spreading the infection further.
Let’s talk more about the emotional impact of having this infection. You struggled with this yourself, you started the company, tell us about the response:
I get calls and messages daily from people that are so happy to finally have relief. People have said I’ve saved their marriage, their vagina, and fixed such a terrible problem in their life. There have been tears and so much healing. I don’t think we always realize how important good vaginal health is. This part of your life extends into every part of your life!
I love the outreach programs you’re creating – tell us more about them!
We’re getting a lot of messages from other countries looking for help, especially in countries that are suffering from economic struggles. Even though we ship worldwide, our product doesn’t always make it there and we’re looking into ways to get product there locally available to them.
For colleges, we created a handbook called “not your mother’s handbook” to help educate college students along with sample packs. College students don’t have a lot of money and don’t always have the resources to help themselves. I’ve been getting a great response from the colleges which is really cool! I’m hoping to figure out a straightforward way to raise more money for these efforts because it is so important to me.
So Natasha, how do you like to manage your period?
Does wine count? I need to step up my period game! My periods aren’t much of an issue so I haven’t put much effort into managing this. Currently I use tampons. I’m so nervous about trying new things, but I’m ready to step up my game and explore.
Natasha, where can we find you?