I'm no expert. I'm just giving my opinion on what could possibly be something worse than menstrual cramps. I'm going to approach this subject in a honest and open manner. No holds barred. That way we can fully understand the issues with our bodies and quickly solve the problem. I'm just going to jump right into it. Are you ready?
Have you ever heard of Vaginal Yeast Infection, Vaginal Bacteriosis or Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)?
I'm certain that at least 1 out of 4 of women have heard of such terms or maybe even experience them before. Now I know this post may seem a little more curated for my female readers, but if you're a guy, don't be too quick to close this tab! You could learn a thing or two about your girlfriend's lady parts and hopefully be a little more prepared should she ever face such situations in future. In fact, those infections don't only affect women. Guys could get them too but you wouldn't know since symptoms hardly show up on male genitals.
Menstruation is widely known to be a pain in the arse. Apart from the constant need to visit a toilet to change the pad or tampon, we also have to deal with the other issues associated to having a period - extreme thirst, sore boobies, monstrous cramps, just to name a few. I personally can't do shit on the first two days of the cycle. I get really bad cramps. And just when I thought that's the worst thing I would ever face, I contracted a vaginal infection. It's nasty. Trust me, I'd choose having cramps any day.
Why are you talking about this Eunice? Shouldn't it be kept as a secret? Well, that's the problem! People don't talk enough about sex and the possible problems that may come with it. Often we hide and suffer in solitude. But I think it is important for us to discuss such matters.
Even Zayn thinks so.
"Everybody has sex, and it's something people want to hear about. It's part of everybody's life, a very big part of life! And you don't want to sweep it under the carpet. It has to be talked about." - Zayn Malik on his single "Pillowtalk".
It hit me when I brought the subject up during one of the After Hours shoots. I went something like "I think we should talk about Vaginal Yeast Infections. It's an issue I'm sure many woman would like to hear about." The response I got was pretty disappointing - "You mean like STDs and stuffs? I don't think we should talk about it." LIKE HELLO???? Yeast infections do NOT equivalate to STDs.
People have the misconception that such infections are life threatening, but they have no idea how common those infections are! If you've had one of those infections before, I'm sure you felt lost and alone a little at the start while finding a cure.
Well, don't worry! Eunice is here to tell you that such infections are perfectly normal and it is scientifically proven that 3 out of 4 woman will experience a yeast infection at one point of their lives. So even if you've never experienced one, I suggest you read on and listen up so that you'll be better prepared should that day come. *Choy! Touch wood!*
First of all, I think it is important that we all understand that these infections do not only occur due to sex. They aren't STDs or STIs. Which means your partner can't pass it to you. Which means... these infections occur due to changes that happen within your body, with your own bodily fluids. But could be aggravated by your partner's hoo ha.
Allow me to talk briefly about the infections and my experience with each of them. If you need more information, I suggest you Google! The following are written based on my experience, and everyone could have a different opinion.
Vaginal Yeast Infections
What is it?
Firstly, everyone has yeast in her vagina. It is a naturally occurring microorganism. When the pH value of a vagina (good pH range is 3.8 - 4.5) is disrupted, there is an imbalance in the system, which leads to an overgrowth of yeast. That's when you may get symptoms like itching, swelling and irritation. Your discharge may even be clumpy, like cottage cheese. Nasty. There shouldn't be any foul odour, but it's still nasty cause the itch is enough to put you off.
The following may cause a yeast infection.
-Weak immune system
- Poor eating habits (lots of sugary food)
- Hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle
- Lack of sleep
Basically, as long as you do something that disrupts your vagina's healthy pH balance, you may get it. Prolonged usage of soiled pads, tampons, panty liners or underwear may contribute to your risk of contracting a yeast infection too. The best way to prevent it is to make sure your nether regions is kept happy and healthy.
If possible, try wearing bottoms that allow your privates to breathe. I've learnt that tight skinny jeans just won't cut it. And make sure your underwear is cotton or made of natural fibres, and if that's too troublesome, just go commando (or at least do that at night when you sleep).
Also, make sure that both you and your partner are clean before having sex. Means go wash before you do it, even if it kills the mood. This is a no brainer, but wash thoroughly after sex too! Your partner's bodily fluids or any bacterial caught within the foreskin of this dick may upset your vagina's pH balance, which may lead to a yeast infection too.
AND! Wash with water only. Though there are many feminine washes available that promises to keep your privates smelling like a garden, don't use them! They do quite the opposite. Your vagina cleans on its own, feminine washes only disrupts the process.
My experience and how I cured it.
My experience with yeast infection lasted for about 1 week, but could have been cut short if I'd use proper medication earlier. I started out feeling really itchy down there, it was also painful when I had to use the bathroom and there was clumpy discharge. I went online, did a little bit of research, found out what it was and treated it immediately with a home remedy.
I'd use virgin coconut oil to soothe the itch (dipping a tampon in coconut oil and inserting it overnight) but the infection just wouldn't go away. I consulted one of my girlfriends and she recommended Canesten vaginal tablet to me. It is an anti-fungal tablet that contains Clotrimazole, which is inserted into the vagina over night. It basically kills the yeast nucleus. (FYI, yeast is a fungus.) The next day my vag was back to normal! Yay!
There are other ways to solve the problem. Other organic ways if you're the anti-chemical tree hugger sort. But if you wanna get it done fast and effective with minimal mess, go with Canesten. You can purchase it at Watson's or Guardian Pharmacies. Don't be afraid to ask the pharmacist for help, they're professionals in this field and wouldn't judge ;)
What is it?
Unlike my knowledge for yeast infections, I honestly don't know much about vaginal bacteriosis except for the fact that it emits a REALLY FOUL odour. When your discharge turns to a greyish colour and is watery and thin, accompanied by a fishy smell, you know you have vaginal bacteriosis. It isn't as uncomfortable as having a yeast infection cause it isn't itchy but the smell just makes you feel insecure and rather embarrassed, especially during sex.
The following may cause Vaginal Bacteriosis.
- Bath with antiseptic liquids
- Having a new sex partner
- Having multiple sex pertners
- Perfumes bubble baths and scented soaps
As I mentioned earlier, as long as you disrupt the healthy and natural pH balance of your vag, you're putting yourself at risk of developing infections. Prevention is always better than cure! So just don't do whatever's causing them.
My experience and how I cured it.
Unlike yeast infection, this infection isn't caused by overproduction of fungus (aka yeast), so it can't be cured with Canesten. It is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring bacterial flora.
My best advice would be to eat 140ml of yogurt everyday if possible. Yogurt is rich in healthful bacteria, or live cultures, called probiotics, which will help keep your vagina's pH balance in check. If you can't stand the taste of pure yogurt, opt for flavoured non-fat ones! I didn't do much to cure my vaginal bacteriosis infection. I literally just stopped using a feminine wash product and ate yogurt. The infection cured almost immediately the next day ;)
Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs)
What is it?
UTI oh UTI. This is something I'd try to avoid and prevent at ALL cost. It is the most annoying and the most uncomfortable of the lot. Ask any girl who has had UTI before, and she'd tell you the same thing. The last time I had this was about two years ago and I've been doing everything I can to NEVER experience it ever again. It hurts like hell when you pee and you'll constantly feel the need to pee, which results in frequent bathroom visits with disappointing outcomes.
- Introduction of bacteria into the urethra and bladder.
(This is reason why we're often told to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. If you do the opposite, you're introducing bacteria from your anus to urethra - the tube that transports urine from the bladder to the outside of the body - which will then infect your bladder.)
- Having sex can also introduce bacteria into the urinary tract (specifically anal sex)
Men may contract UTIs too but ladies are more prone as we have shorter urethras, allowing bacteria to access the bladder quicker.
My experience and how I cured it.
Since my last UTIs experience was quite some time ago, I can't remember how long it lasted. The pain is the only memory I have of it. Oh yeah! I also remember my pee looking cloudy and slightly dark. Curing it wasn't a hassle though! All you have to do if you get UTIs is drink lots and lots of water and cranberry juice to flush it all out. I honestly don't know how it works and am a little tired to search since I've been typing for the last couple of hours, so you can do yourself a favour and just Google it.
The whole point of this post is just to let you know that if you have any of those infections, please do not be alarmed or ashamed! They're perfectly normal and you're NOT alone in this battle. I managed to cure each and every one of my infections with home remedies or over the counter medication, but please seek professional medical help if you feel the need all right?
Also, talk to your girlfriends if you ever feel something isn't right about your vagina. We're all women, we all have the same thing, there's nothing to be shy about! Trust me, it's one of the topics my girlfriends and I enjoy talking about. It builds a stronger bond and trust between us.
If you're attached, talk to your partner about it too! I know how scary or embarrassing it can feel to talk about something so personal to your boyfriend, and you're afraid that he might judge you after. But trust me! If he loves you, he'll listen, understand and try to solve the issue with you. It will also strengthen your relationship!:)
The more open you are about something, the more confident you'll feel.
Alright gotta go! I'm falling asleep! Didn't expect to write so much about this topic. hehe