Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Burning Pipe and a Ring of Fire

This is one of those posts that isn't for the fairest and most delicate readers.  Oh, what's that?  I don't have any of those types in my readership?  Well, then, let's talk about my vulva and vagina!

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I had a yeast infection once before and I wrote about it here.  Though I usually sport a remarkably low-maintenance vagina, guess who's doing battle with the yeasty beasties once again?  That's right. . .and, just in case you think I only write about my vagina or my boobs, I'm also going to include a warning and some advice that might be helpful if you ever have a yeast infection.

In the silent war being waged in my vagina, fungus is beating the heck of of bacteria.  Lest any of you high & mighty broads try to act like you'd never have such a horribly disgusting thing happen - think again.  Yeast is naturally present in the vagina in small amounts and that fungus is usually kept in check by the bacteria that is also naturally present.  Sounds like a real freaking picnic in your panties, right?  Apparently anything from hormone fluctuations, dietary changes, taking antibiotics, and small aircraft flying overhead could tilt the vaginal balance of power from bacteria to yeast.  When that happens, you get the joys of a yeast infection.

I woke a few mornings ago and was distressed to find that my vulva was sore.  I initially dismissed it, but it still hurt two days later and it started feeling really swollen and tender.  I asked my husband if he'd tell me how it looked.  I apologized for tasking him with something so gross and he indicated it all looked pretty normal so no apology was necessary.  The next day it started to itch and burn then it stung when I peed.  I recognized the symptoms from that one yeast infection I had a couple of years ago so decided a little OTC help would be necessary. 

Monistat 1 is what was procured to beat down the yeast.  It is a one-time treatment; a suppository.  Or, as I prefer to call it, an egg-shaped ball of pain.

For twelve-hours after inserting the Monistat 1, my vagina burned and THROBBED with pain.  I couldn't sleep.  I couldn't comfortably sit.  I was close to stuffing a bag of ice in my britches to cool down the fun zone because it felt like a fire might break out at any moment.  It's not an exaggeration to say that I briefly considered ramming a bottle brush up in my bits to scrub that miserable ball of horror right out.  My vagina felt assaulted.  It easily hurt ten times worse than the infection it was supposed to clear up!

After around twelve-hours of burning and throbbing pain, my vagina felt better.  Not totally normal, but not leaving me weeping and wishing for death.  I figured the mega-dose of anti-fungal medicine had done it's job and I was on the mend.

Until 1:30 this morning. . .

I was awakened out of a sound sleep by, you guessed it, burning and throbbing.  Only now I had the added benefit of itching.  My vulva felt like it was about to explode and my vagina was no barrel of fun either.  WTF, Monistat 1, WTF?! 

I somehow was able to doze off and dashed off a message to my doctor at a normal hour.  As a friend says, I should have included a box of cigars with my message because the man is a saint for putting up with my crazy shenanigans.  He responded promptly by indicating that he doesn't really recommend the one-day suppositories because they don't work that great and they do nothing for yeast infecting the exterior skin.  He prefers the 5- or 7-day treatments and a cream for the vulva.  Too bad I didn't contact him in the first place.

I was pondering why I suddenly had this yeast infection anyway.  Remember that hormone fluctuations can cause yeast infections.  I do have a hormone-infused IUD up in my uterus at this moment so perhaps that's the culprit.  I'm tending to say it is not the reason though as I've had it for months now and haven't had any problems like this before. 

One thing that I realized is that I've been eating a lot of starchy carbs lately and I usually do not.  Those sugary starches help feed the yeast which encourages growth.  Another thing is that I had stopped eating plain yogurt.  I ate plain yogurt nearly every single day last year because I was spending so much time in a damp bathing suit.  I got a little itchy every once in a while, but never developed a yeast overgrowth.  The live & active cultures in plain yogurt help populate the good bacteria that keep the yeast down to acceptable levels.  I also haven't been eating nearly the same amount of garlic that I normally do (I actually had a head go bad and that never happens) and garlic has anti-fungal properties so one would think it would help keep the yeast at bay too. 

In a nutshell (or would that be clamshell?!), I think my diet can be blamed for this recent yeast infection.  That's great that I might have identified why I have this going on, but I need some relief.  I'm going to take my doctor's advice because he's never steered me wrong before and see if it doesn't restore my ladyparts to their former glory.

Now, you all know I'm a bit of a hippie, but I draw the line with seeking a "natural" remedy for this stuff.  I think it's odd that I'm okay with squirting an anti-fungal up in my vagina, but I won't consider a natural remedy first.  I'll put all manner of weird or gross stuff in my mouth, but I guess I'm pretty particular about what I allow in my vadge.  For those of you who might be interested, I understand that raw peeled garlic cloves and plain yogurt douches will help restore the balance of bacteria and yeast.  Note that it is PLAIN yogurt.  You don't want to feed your yeasty beasties a sugary vanilla yogurt snack.  I also have heard that probiotics (consumed orally or inserted vaginally) can help as well.  I'm not a doctor and I'm not giving medical advice here so try it at your own risk, but do chime in if you've tried any of these remedies.

Back to the Monistat 1 for a moment. . .I wouldn't buy it for my worst enemy if she were suffering from a yeast infection.  I looked up my reaction and it's apparently not uncommon as the internet has hundreds of stories from women who had the same horrible burning and throbbing pain from using this product.  Again - WTF, Monistat?!  I can officially declare that Monistat 1 is the absolute worst thing I've ever had in my vagina.

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