There was a point in my life when I got a lot of yeast infections.
Great opening line, I know. But listen, I blame synthetic underwear, not myself. Or maybe it was that I was eating too much candy. Too much fruit? Drinking too much beer? Having big thighs? Anyway, it was happening over and over again to me, and it was not pleasant.
There is something you should know about me, though: I’m kind of a hippie when it comes to my body. I don’t really take medicine, even Tylenol. I don’t use drugstore tampons -- only those with all natural fibers -- and I wash my hair like once a week, so you get the idea.
That said, have you ever used those drugstore yeast infection cures? UGH.
My hatred of over-the-counter yeast infection cures started in when I was a teenager. My best friend used to drive me to school every day. Then one morning, my senior year, she called me saying she was sick and couldn't take me.
"Whats wrong?" I asked.
She was all, "Well, keep a secret ... but I have a yeast infection."
A what?! It sounded deadly! I was a late bloomer, so at the time I was not clued into all that vagina stuff yet. It seriously freaked me out! That's when my friend proceeded to tell me this story about how she used a one-day Monistat cure and her body reacted so strongly to it that she woke up and was so swollen ("down there") that, she said, "It felt like I had a dick.”
That's right. A DICK!!!
THINK ABOUT THAT. THINK ABOUT HEARING THOSE WORDS AS A YOUNG IMPRESSIONABLE FEMALE. I was scarred for life. I mean, I didn't TOTALLY avoid using drugstore yeast infection cures from then on, but I was permanently wary about them. Who wouldn't be?
Fast forward to college. I had this boyfriend and I guess a few times I maybe got a yeast infection, and I used the Monistat 7 day thing. It was fine, but gross -- I really thought that stuff was so chemical filled! And I still do. No, I didn't like using it one bit.
So fast forward again to the period of time that I began this story talking about -- when it was literally like you’d look at me wrong and I’d get a yeast infection. Remember also that I’m total a hippie about my body, and a little bit of an alchemist -- I love DIY stuff. Now cue the internet. Uh-huh.
As we are all savvy Internetters, I’m sure we know what a dark abyss this place can be. YOU try Googling homeopathic yeast infection cures and see what comes up! I found ninety million weird things to stick up my vag, and I considered most of them. But yogurt is one that I had heard from friends, and so I figured I’d try it.
As yeast infection remedies go, yogurt is simple enough. It's not so much that you siphon it in there, though I suppose you could -- or use some kind of, uh, funnel or something. I would usually just dip an organic unbleached cotton tampon (see, I really am a hippie -- organic tampons!) in some Greek yogurt (this seemed stronger to me), and then put it up there overnight.
I don’t know that it actually cured anything but its definitely a soothing feeling. Like a milk bath for your vagina! I mean, I think it cleared some of it up, and Internet accounts attest to this method's efficacy.
The buck doesn’t stop there, though! I tried other things for DIY, all-natural yeast infection cures. Like what? Oh, dear readers, you may wish you never asked (even though I know, no, technically you didn't ask).
Okay, like … I've used garlic up there. GARLIC. Garlic? Yes, garlic! I would peel a clove really cautiously -- you have to be really careful it doesn’t get punctured because garlic juice is super stingy. Then I’d wrap up the clove in sterile gauze and put the little parcel up there with the gauze ends hanging out for easy removal.
I believe this garlic to have worked ... but I am also basically a witch living in Salem in 1690. No, but really, the garlic is good! Your 'gina is gonna smell like food, however. So you should know that. (Sorry.)
Other interesting yeast infection solutions? You can use tea tree oil topically (meaning don’t put it where you put a tampon, just on the outside) to help with burning or itching. This together with the garlic, together, I think really does work, but seriously-- with the garlic, the only thing is that your vagina will smell like pizza.
Every time I peed I would laugh about this, like, "Is these gross? Am I gross?" Also this is when I was working at a glamorous magazine publishing company and I always wondered if the woman in the stall next to me could hear me cackling and thought I was a complete freak -- which I basically am. (Cat, the beauty and health editor for this site who is also my friend, used to laugh at these DIY stories to my face.)
My ultimate conclusion is that all of this stuff kinda half-works for clearing up yeast infections. I mean, when you do them all together -- you know, putting the whole grocery store up your vagina -- I think that that works, along with doing the normal stuff like drinking more water and not eating too much sugar. You have to do it all.
In the end, though, I think the real best cure is probiotics, which I buy in pill form. They're basically that active cultures that come in yogurt. Cat is the worst health editor ever because she's emailing me with edits for this story asking, "What are probiotics?" Haven't you guys heard of them?
I buy the expensive stuff that you get at a legit health food store from a refrigerator and pay a pretty penny for. The good stuff isn't cheap, even if it is for hippies like me.
And, for Christ's sake, you BUY that stuff from a fridge, so KEEP it in your fridge! It's alive! It's July, you keep it out in this heat and it will die. You know, just like your dignity when someone finds “super yeast combating formula” pills out on your dresser. So TUCK THEM AWAY IN THE CHILL CHEST. That's slang for 'fridge.
Listen, I’m sorta a hippie, but I also want to have babies without deformities some day -- CRAZY, I KNOW. If you’re like me I’d advise thinking twice before reaching for those insane one day-cure all-baby deforming-drugstore cures. Why not ask a loved one to help you shovel yogurt into your lady parts? HA. No, in all seriousness, do your body a favor and have an adventure in off-label food usage. Think of the stories you will be able to tell your perfect children!
Now you know I have to ask -- what are YOUR yeast infection cure stories? Let's all just go there.