I’ve found two things that, until recently, were fool-proof ways to earn myself a yeast infection: taking antibiotics and having an IUD. The antibiotics thing is mostly out of my control (I combat the antibiotics yeast infections with probiotics but that only does so much). The IUD thing, however, I’ve since managed to solve.
An IUD is an intrauterine device, a form of birth control inserted into the uterus. Mine is a Mirena, the hormonal kind. (I tried to get the copper, non-hormonal IUD but it is slightly larger than the Mirena and, turns out, my uterus is too small. The copper IUD fell into my cervix. Luckily, the Mirena has stayed in my uterus. I have a cool ultrasound image of my uterus I wanted to insert here but I can’t find it right now.)
The first several months of having my IUD, I got a yeast infection nearly monthly. My doctor told me that there’s no research showing a connection between IUDs and yeast infections, but that if the discomfort persisted, I should get it removed. My mom also told me that when she was on hormonal birth control, she suffered from regular yeast infections. With this disappointing news in mind and the yeast infections persisting, I decided to change a few other things before giving up my IUD.
Wearing skirts and dresses: The same doctor mentioned above is a regular skirt wearer. She told me she never wears pants because she finds that her vagina is healthier and more comfortable when she lets it breath. I started wearing more dresses and skirts and, while I didn’t notice a drastic change, I did find myself more comfortable.
Sleeping naked: I don’t know why I ever wore pajamas to bed. Maybe because I’m from Minnesota, where it’s freezing 5 months out of the year. Regardless, I definitely shouldn’t have been sleeping in underwear all those years – being naked is way comfier! This produced a major change for me: my yeast infections stopped happening! I still have my Mirena and I’ve been infection-free for months.
And here you’ll find 5 other vaginal health lifestyle tips that I actively practice and agree with.
Beyond what I’ve described, there are a few other vaginal health tricks you can try. I’m not as experienced with these so I would recommend doing further research before trying some of them:
- Drink cranberry juice: a friend of mine who used to suffer from bacterial vaginosis (kind of the opposite of a yeast infection, I guess; also a bacterial imbalance) did this for a while, in addition to wearing cotton undies.
- Use garlic right at the beginning of a yeast infection: I know people who’ve stopped a yeast infection in its tracks by inserting a clove or part of a clove of garlic in their vagina. You have to do this early on in the infection for this to be effective. I also have read cautions against this so, again, do your own research.
- Yogurt can be more than food: there’s nothing like cool yogurt as relief from the stinging or itching of a yeast infection! Apply liberally. Get ready, it’s gross.
Hooray for healthy vaginas!
Written by Magdalena Kaluza.