I’ve wanted to write this piece for a while.
Like a really long time.
When I realized today that other people really are struggling with this thing too, I decided to .
So this is for the little sisters…
I’m talking about Vaginal health today because no one else is.
Mainly, Yeast Infections and abnormal discharge. (Omg Yay I know.) I’ve struggled with both and felt a lot of shame through the whole process. I didn’t really tell anyone, and when I did, I kept my voice really low.
And kept my legs crossed…. at all times.
I had gone to the OBGYN a few times and asked for help, but neither of them had anything useful to say to say to me. “Everything looks fine, just wear cotton underwear and don’t douche”
After a few weeks of particularly uncomfortable discharge, I called my aunt. My Tia. She’s the one that always asks me about how my sex life is (LOL)
I asked her if she had ever struggled with abnormal discharge.
“oh yes, almost my whole young adult life!”
When I asked her how she dealt with it, her voice got softer as she told me
“I just changed my underwear a lot”
I could hear shame strangle her words, and I got angry for her, for me, and for every other woman that struggles with this kind of thing.
The pain is bad enough but the shame is worse. The shame silences us.
I think for me, the shame came from the jokes that people made about women “smelling like fish” in high school. Those comments somehow aways linked back to being dirty, or promiscuous. (Our culture shames women for having a sexuality, but that’s another blog post… or 3)
I remember hearing people say those things in high school and still feeling shame even though I knew that those jokes weren’t true, because I struggled with weird discharge and I was a virgin.
On top of that, vaginal health is something that I was never taught, so I thought there must have been something really, REALLY wrong with me.
75 % of women have experienced a yeast infection or have struggled with abnormal discharge at some point in their life.
Why the actual EF do we not talk about this more? Why did it take 23 years for me to actually learn something about this, only after doing extensive research online??
So to fight the shame, to fight the stigma around the conversation about vaginal health, I decided to write this blog post.
Below, you’ll find a list of random things I learned (mostly about condoms) that helped me bring my vaginal health back to balance.
Here are the things no one taught me:
We have good bacteria in our body that “eats”, for lack of a better word, bad bacteria. Bad bacteria is fueled by sugar (Glycerin), and sugar is literally in everything. Candy, bread, processed foods, salads at McDonald’s…
I was eating a LOT of spaghetti, so I cut back on that and actually noticed a difference. (Yes, I was eating that much spaghetti). When the bad bacteria get out of control, it can cause yeast infections.
(There is absolutely more to this, so feel free to do more research here)
Healthy Vaginal PH is between 3.8 and a 4.5. Which is acidic. anything higher than 4.5 creates a great environment for bacteria to grow. So it’s important to know what changes this PH.
For my journey, it was important to know that this was the thing I was trying to balance. There are also lists online about different foods that affect your PH level that might help!
I saved the best for last. If you get heated easily about Feminist topics, clear your immediate physical space of any flammable objects before you keep reading.
If your vaginal area gets irritated during or after sex, I’m 90% sure that it has NOTHING to do with you and everything to do with the condoms you’re using.
I used to feel burning and then develop a YEAST INFECTION after having sex. For a second I thought I had either developed a terribly strong allergy to latex, or contracted some kind of horrible STD, but after some research, I realized it was the FUCKING CONDOMS.
The condoms you buy at the gas station or Walgreens or CVS or the grocery store are your generic “drugstore” brand, mainly (70%) Trojan, and have a bunch of chemicals that are absolutely DETRIMENTAL to your vaginal health.
These are the top Toxic Chemicals that can be found in your average condom:
1. Spermicides – the chemical used to kill sperm can also cause micro-tears in the vaginal walls, which causes inflammation and can sometimes can lead to infection. After my partner and I used a Trojan condom with spermicide, I was so raw that I could barely walk. Everything was inflamed and it was excruciating if anything touched it.
2. Benzocaine – This is a local anesthetic. Yes. It numbs you. It’s supposed to make men last longer, but it’s been tested and doesn’t really work. Instead, it actually can cause discomfort for men.
3. Glycerine – Glycerine is used in condoms as a lubricant. It can transform into a sugar if left in the vagina for too long (WTF?) and eventually throw off your body’s pH balance, which can increase your chances of contracting a yeast infection.
4. N-9 – Supposed to reduce chances of contracting STDs, but it doesn’t really do much for that. Instead, it is reported to tear down cell walls making both partners susceptible to UTI’s
5. Parabens – Supposed to prevent bacterial growth, but causes Estrogen imbalance in the body and throws off your PH levels, which can cause yeast infections.
When I learned about all of this I was so angry that these manufacturers give absolutely no shits about I ran around and told EVERYONE I could. It was the best way for me to blow off steam… education!
But the lesson here is balance. Health is found in balance, so it’s so important to listen to what your body is telling you to find and keep that balance.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use condoms. Definitely still use them, just make sure you are super CLEAR about what you are putting into your body.
I’ve used Glyde and L. Condoms and let me tell you the difference is incredible. Sex is NOT supposed to be painful. Who knew!? You can get them online or at Whole Foods!
Yeast Infection Remedy:
If you are just looking for relief from Yeast Infections I found some really awesome stuff that worked so quickly and helped me get rid of my issues FOR GOOD. (PS. Stop buying Monistat.)
Boric Acid Suppository – This helps level out your vaginal pH levels. I used before bed and put a liner on because there is a little bit a leakage during the night and in the morning. but after 2 nights I was clear. (Monistat takes 7+ days). I also used a few times during/right after my period to keep everything level because hormonal changes during this time in your cycle can cause an imbalance of estrogen which can also trigger abnormal discharge.
Vulva Cream – Immediate relief. Really.
In the End…
Don’t just take my word for it. Do your research, pay attention to how your body reacts to things. You are no over-exaggerating, it is NOT your fault and you are NOT dirty for having these issues.
Take OWNERSHIP over your body and what you put in it. You have so much power in your hands, don’t let culture, big pharma, or even your mom, tell you what is best for your body.
Only YOU know that.