Mommy Matters welcomes guest blogger Marisa Zocco of Elephant Journal! A University of Southern California-educated journalist and creative writer, she holds a firm belief in the power of the written word to connect individuals and inspire a healthy exchange of differing ideas—the bigger the difference the better.
“Go sit on a pack of frozen peas!”
It sounds like an ultra-clean version of a cuss or a curse.
But for a huge majority of women who’ve given birth, it’s one of the biggest postpartum blessings—that pliable, ice-cold goodness gracing a burning perineum after the big push.
Now, I might not be a mama yet, but it is my biggest, dearest dream. So, being 37 and childless yet interested in the topic means that I’ve been given all the gal pal TMI surrounding the “joys” of new motherhood—like wearing crack-to-crotch pool noodles of pads for the first couple weeks as fluids flow and hoo-has heal, for example.
My age also means that I’ve got some friends either in the perimenopause or full-blown menopause stage of life.
That said, there are two things our new mom and meno days have in common: first, the methods we’re given to help us deal with the discomfort of both phases of life are archaic; and second, the amount of chatter about them really ought to increase.
“The wisdom and compassion a woman can intuitively experience in childbirth can make her a source of healing and understanding for other women.” ~ Stephen Gaskin
So, here we are, ladies. Prepare to talk about it all. Because Joylux and Mommy Matters are bringing red light healing (and other innovative brilliance) to the lady-specific places the sun don’t shine—and they benefit all of us women—from maternity to menopause.
First of all, Roxanne, you really should put on the red light.
Not that way, though. In the medspa for your face way, but on the area beyond and surrounding your other lips.
It might sound a little Goop-y, but here’s the deal: red light has been clinically proven to help rejuvenate tissue and promote healing on a cellular level. When applied to our inner and outer skin and to our wounds, it can speed up recovery time and boost cellular health tremendously.
Enter these two godsends: Joylux’s vFit Gold and Mommy Matters’ NeoHeat. Both use quality red light technology to get right to the core of our vaginal tissue issues.
Here’s how it works in science-y lingo: Red/Infrared light penetrates the skin where it converts to photon energy, and those photons are absorbed by cells. Absorption of those photons activates the mitochondria, or powerhouse of the cell, which in turn results in the release of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) and nitric oxide (NO). That release fuels our skin’s cellular processes.
What’s that mean, in layladies’ terms?
Put simply, when that light and its heat proliferates our cells, it increases our blood circulation and improves our tissue health to:
Increase collagen production
Reduce inflammation and promote longer-lasting pain reduction, and
Accelerate tissue repair, which results in faster wound healing
In some countries, actually, women are even treated to a round of red light therapy while still in stirrups in the delivery room.
So basically, the vFit and NeoHeat are little at-home angels of red, healing light that help repair what goes on down there post-delivery, and during the great change of our wiser years.
With that in mind, let’s chat specifically about the new moms here first, for both the sake of being chronological and to make the point that, frankly…
Mommy matters. Period. End stop.
We’ve all seen it time and time again. We or someone we love dearly becomes a mom and in what seems an almost inevitable process, we mommies begin to lose ourselves. We disappear behind our children, partners, households and professional duties.
For many, that starts the day we’re sent home from the hospital. So focused are we on our new role that we never think to speak up to our doctors about the rather ineffective—and kinda weird—methods we’re told to use to heal the channel that not only birthed our babe, but also birthed the mother we’ve become.
I mean, 8 out of 10 of us experience some degree of perineal tearing during the birthing process. Not only is that incredibly painful, but it can also lead to infection and long-term issues like bladder leakage or pain with intercourse.
Honestly? Our bodies, dignity, and our potential for pleasure deserve something a little more sophisticated than, say, a pack of peas or a cushion-sized heating pad for our birthing aftercare.
“After I delivered my babe in 2010, I was sent home with an ice-packed rubber glove and told to sit on it for relief yet offered no mention of how to heal faster and repair the damage from labor and delivery,” says Joylux team member Amy Ostrosky (they’re like a little fam over there). “Fast forward to this year and you’ll hear the same remedy about sitting on an ice pack. It’s archaic, really.”
The NeoHeat perineal red light device is clinically proven to repair tearing wounds six times faster than other old-school methods—including donut cushions (surprise!).
Great. But I don’t have the time (or the ab strength) to do a 10-minute spread-eagle crunch while holding a red light between my legs, you say. And we hear you.
Dr. Taraneh Shirazian, Mommy Matters’ founder and the designer of its recovery products is both an Ob-Gyn and a mother of two, herself. That means she knows you’re likely to be up on your feet around the house more than you want to be, with your hands full of bottles (or a breast pump), burp cloths, or your babe itself.
And that’s exactly why NeoHeat is a wearable red light therapy device cleverly held in place with a specialized panty. You slip on a brief packed with red light power and let NeoHeat do its thing 10 minutes daily—while you do all the things—for two to four weeks.
But perineal tearing isn’t the only thing you’re bound to face in the first days after you become a new or born-again mom.
Here are 6 Things to expect postpartum—and their modern, high-class helpers.
1. Bleeding (lochia)
Heal Postpartum Panty
Lochia, a mix of blood, mucus and uterine tissue can be expected at a rate of "soak a thick maxi pad every two hours" for the first few days before it gradually reduces over 6 to 8 weeks. You'll want a super soft mesh pants that's breathable, super absorbent and C-section-friendly. Bonus: there's a special pocket to hold a soothing gel insert that can be frozen to relieve pain!
2. Stitches and Swelling
Soothe Perineal Spray
Between stitches and the swelling that occurs after you give birth, things are just a little, shall we say, ouchy, down there. You're gonna need relief, like, PRONTO. Mommy Matters' relief-in-a-bottle is an all-natural blend that provides cooling relief from stitches and swelling. Yes, please!
3. Poor Posture & Painful Pooch
Postpartum Belly Wrap
Posture directly affects breast feeding, and if you've experienced diastatis recti where your ab muscle parted to make way for your baking bundle, that might be difficult. You'll want to offer yourself comfort & support for your core, with compression to aid healing in your belly and embrace your cute little pooch as it begins to return to normal.
4. Stretched, Itchy Skin
Nourish Body Butter
About 80 percent of women get stretch marks during pregnancy, and 100 percent experience skin stretcthing, which can be an itchy experience for many. Nourish, hydrate & soothe your growing (and shrinking!) bump with Mommy Matters' all-natural belly cream. This thick, rich cream absorbs quickly into the skin providing moisture & relief from over-stretched, itchy skin.
5. Perineal Tearing
NeoHeat & NeoBrief
We just talked all about this. NeoHeat is clinically validated to accelerate wound healing, increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and provide rapid pain relief for healing that's 6X faster. Plus, it reduces the long-term risks of infections, incontinence (accidental bladder leakage), and painful sex! Be sure to pair with the NeoBrief before checkout!
6. And (down the road), Pelvic Floor Probs
Our pelvic floor controls our ability to hold in our pee while laughing, coughing, sneezing, or jumping around with our kids. It also controls the quality of our bedroom big finales. If you wanna boost your vulvo-vaginal health Joylux's vFit Gold® Device is Ob-Gyn designed to promote a stronger pelvic floor and more—ahem!—control thanks to the patented combination of red LED light and gentle heat.
Seeing that all that comes along with the new babe, I think that paints a pretty clear picture of just how deserved a little petunia pampering really ought to be after the big event. So, whether you’re:
A mom-to-be who’s a little frightened of what’s to come during labor,
A bestie or buddy looking to have a girl’s bottom-side with a baby shower gift, or
A mom of the mom-to be
Mommy Matters is there for support. But, specifically speaking to the ladies in the very last column—mom’s of moms-to-be, I have a strong suspicion that you might also be in need of your own marvelous treatment customized to your maturing body.
Let me acknowledge you: you’ve got your own stuff going on in and pertaining to your nether regions, and that deserves some attention, too. So!
A little Menopositivity for the wiser women out there.
The vaginal symptoms of menopause can be a stinking pain—literally. Between vaginal dryness, loss of libido and possible pain during intercourse, loss of vaginal sensation, and vaginal pH imbalance, the situation down south can definitely fall short of a rodeo—unless you count the hormonal ups and downs as the cause; then you’re really in for a ride.
Most medical education programs devote maybe one or two hours of their education to menopause (2), and only 7 percent of doctors feel adequately prepared to diagnose and treat menopausal women (3).
So, when it comes to solutions intended to treat things beyond a clinical means to managing our hormonal imbalances (aka just one tiny portion of what might need attention during our menopausal years), how much do you think is available to us?
If you guessed “not much,” that would be right—until Joylux came about.
What a disservice that this natural part of aging and womanhood so often remains such a mystery.
Fortunately, as the conversations we’re having about menopause symptoms and the solutions we women are using to quell our discomfort grow more common (that’s actually how Joylux was started—through those TMI type of conversations), we’re able to destigmatize and demystify our experience.
For example, here’s an interesting factoid I wasn’t aware of until last year: we women can enter perimenopause—when our ovaries gradually stop working and we start experiencing early menopause symptoms—as early as our 30s. But most enter into it between 40 and 44.
That said, some of the first and most noticeable changes we run into are changes in our skin. These changes have to do with our diminishing levels of estrogen and progesterone, combined with the presence of androgens which remain stable over our lifetime (4).
Those skin changes run the gamut, from skin spots, to excessive sebum blocking our pores and causing acne, to next-level dryness. But we’re not just talking facial skin or the stuff on the easily touchable parts of us.
Menopausal skin issues also plague vaginal skin cells, and just like your skin might have been showing signs of increased fragility and sensitivity, so might the cells lining your vaginal walls. Pain during intercourse, for example, is probably from friction causing microtears in your fragile vaginal lining. Unfortunately, you can’t treat your vaginal tissue with the same stuff you would your skin.
So, with no further ado, here’s a meno-positively not exhaustive but helpful list of less-than-ideal skin (dys)functions that might slide into your life throughout peri, and full-blown menopause—and their helpful solutions.
5 Menopausal Vaginal Woes & the goods to help you feel like the “old you.”
1. Ms. V Feels like a Stranger
From dryness to pain during intercourse, things change in the southern regions of our body as we go through menopause. Most of those issues stem from reduction of estrogen and collagen in our vaginal skin, just like on our face. So, if you'd give your face a red light facial, why not your hoo ha? That's what vFit does—& it works. Elephant tested and approved!
2. Sex is a wee bit Painful
When your facial skin is dry, it can hurt when you smile as you create microtears in you skin. That's what happens with your vagina as you age. It loses elasticity and tears during sex because of that. The same hyaluronic acid you use to keep your facial skin up to snuff is included in Joylux's photonic gel, and contains only safe and clean ingredients that increases vFit's light power by 45%.
3. You’re Itchy & Dry down there
Estrogen stimulates our body’s collagen and natural oil production, which keeps our skin moist and taut. As estrogen levels decline during the three stages of menopause, our vulva and vagina may become especially dry and itchy. Joylux's deeply hydrating, pH-balanced serum uses coconut oil, beeswax, and powerful antioxidants to soothe, soften, and rejuvenate your intimate tissue.
4. There’s a new Smell in town
During your reproductive years, vaginal pH is typically 3.5-4.5. As estrogen levels decline, it becomes more acidic, leading to changes in vaginal discharge and odor. Fortunately, Joylux's 100% aloe-based wash contains no water, only powerful and clean ingredients including mandarin orange blossom oil and arginine to keep skin hydrated, clean, (most importantly) fresh!
5. Your skin everywhere could use a boost
As estrogen and collagen supplies in our bodies dwindle and progesterone levels remain the same, we get skin issues like dryness, dullness, itchiness, and acne all over. Enriched with coconut, argan and avocado oils, Joylux'scsoap-free french-milled bar provides a rich, luxurious lather for a gentle, smooth and nourishing cleanse for your evermore delicate tissue.
Look, if we’re in menopause, unless we’ve hit it super early and are atypically young to be going through the change, chances are that we’ve aged in an era in which women were pretty much expected to disappear behind their families and working lives as years passed by.
As we age, it can sometimes seem we’ve become less valuable or even at times completely invisible to society and the medical world alike.
If that’s you, it’s frankly about damn time you had something that you could indulge in, something that meets your needs, and helps you prioritize yourself, your pleasure, your health, and your comfort.
Whatever bucket we’re in in life, red light can benefit our health.
Whether it’s the NeoHeat, vFit Gold, or one of those super trendy infrared facial rollers (which, by the way, aren’t anywhere near as concentrated or effective as the former two), red light, in the appropriate concentrations, can trigger tremendous healing and repair on a cellular level within our bodies. Repair we desperately need throughout the various seasons of life that we lead as women—from maternity to menopause.
Consider these your modern-day magic wands ready to usher you into new levels of comfort whatever stage you’re in.