The Groundbreaking Guide Every Woman Needs
With The V Book, women will learn everything they need to know about the basics of vulvovaginal--or "V"-health, an essential yet often overlooked area of women's health. Dr. Elizabeth G. Stewart, the nation's foremost expert in vulvovaginal care and sexual-pain disorders, answers the questions about the all too common "V" ailments that women are embarrassed to discuss even with their doctors.
Drawing upon the latest medical research and two decades of experience treating thousands of women in her specialized gynecological practice, Dr. Stewart has compiled a wealth of information and advice. This
comprehensive and authoritative guide for women of all ages includes:
How your vulvovaginal concerns change throughout the life cycle, from your teens through menopause and beyond
How to pick a good gynecologist, and how to ask the right questions
Dos and don'ts of V hygiene--and why sometimes less is better
The safest use of tampons, pads, and pantiliners
How to handle common symptoms, such as redness, itching, dryness, and discharge
Which medical tests you should insist upon from your doctor
Tips for safe and pleasurable sex, and what to do when sexual intercourse is painful
The latest research on vulvodynia, the vaginal pain syndrome that won't go away
Diagnosing and treating yeast infections, allergies, and other ailments
What to do if your doctor detects cancer or precancer cells
And much, much more...
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
June 23, 2002
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The V Book by Paula Spencer
CHAPTER 1 The Mind Why V Health Starts Here Vagina is hardly a household word. Vulva and clitoris might as well belong to another language. They are blushers, vaguely subversive, not ready for prime time. They hide behind pet names and euphemisms ("my privates," "Pookie," "down there") if they're called anything at all. And then there's vestibule. That word's easy to say only because 99 out of 100 women have no idea that they have one, let alone where it is or what it does. (Don't worry. I'll show you later.) I feel pretty sure that a man would not allow some important part of his terrain to go uncharted for so long. Believe it or not, even medical professionals can be uncomfortable about V terms. My own vulvar specialty practice in Boston is called the Stewart-Forbes Specialty Service. It's named after me and my nurse-practitioner partner, Diana Parks-Forbes, because at the time we were deliberating about what to call it, no one in the medical group's administration wanted the word vulva or vagina in the name. As a result, I surprise many new patients when I first walk into the exam room. "You're a woman!" they'll exclaim. They expected a gentleman named Stewart Forbes. The practice's vague name is hardly helpful to me professionally, either. Whenever I write a business letter or call a colleague, I always have to clarify that I represent the Stewart-Forbes Vulvovaginal Specialty Service. (Even so, Dr. Stewart Forbes gets lots of letters!) I wish everyone could be matter-of-fact about the Vs. How much better my life-and your health-might be. The first step to being comfortable with your body, after all, is being comfortable thinking about it (if not talking about it). That's why I say that V health starts in your head. As a physician, I'm a big believer in "liberation biology," to use the term coined by Mary Carlson, associate professor of psychiatry and neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. That means using biological information to help you understand your body, shake your hang-ups, and take charge of your full potential as a woman. In V terms, that means recognizing that the vulva and vagina are healthy parts of the body to be protected from disease, explored and treasured in responsible sexual life, esteemed for childbearing. I'd like for every woman to feel free enough to learn her way around her own body, free enough to talk easily to her doctor if a problem crops up. Why are we so awkward about such commonplace body parts? Reticence about the vulva and vagina is nothing new. I'm no anthropologist or historian, but I do know that a veil has been draped over these parts for not merely a few generations but thousands of years. Knowing this past helps explain where our collective mind-set is today. Moreover, such information points the way to where our thinking ought to go. So let's start at the beginning. A short history of the Vs Once upon a time people did not feel negatively about the vulva and vagina. Tens of thousands of years ago, the beautiful design of the vulva was something celebrated, even revered. The yoni, a symbol of the female genitalia, took many forms. Flowers, fruits, a triangle, and a double-pointed oval shape were all used to depict the vulva. Yoni is a Sanskrit word for "womb, origin, source, sacred place"-honoring the vulva's role as birthplace, bringer of life. Today the word yoni enjoys a renaissance as a way to refer to female genitalia, although its use is hardly widespread. For a time, this symbol was worshiped as more powerful than its male counterpart, the phallus.1 This was a time when the basic facts of biology that we take for granted today were yet unrecognized. That women were fertile year round, unlike the rest of the animal kingdom, inspired awe. Menstruation-painless bleeding-was a mystery. A woman's periods, not a man's sperm, were li