You're Not Alone: 75% of Women Experience A Yeast Infection
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "early 75% of all adult women have had at least one "yeast infection" in their lifetime." It is believed that around 5%, will get recurrent infections, defined as 4 or more infections per year. On top of the discomfort of the illness, painful side effects from over-the-counter and prescription genital infection treatments are also common. I personally experienced a very painful allergic reaction after trying one over-the-counter option. The need to see a medical doctor such as an OB-GYN when you experience genital infection-like symptoms is very important. Your doctor will let you know exactly what kind of illness you have. Please do not attempt to self-diagnose as the vagina is often an unpredictable host. But what do you do when the medical options have not provided you with lasting relief?
A short search will tell you that the internet is FULL of forums of yeast infection or BV sufferers. The women looking for help range from teenage virgins who's vaginal infection led to accusations of poor hygiene or promiscuity, to married women wondering if they are suddenly "allergic" to their husbands. My heart breaks for them, especially when reading one women's account of a 10-year long yeast infection. Every anonymous comment echoes our society's lack of support and understanding of women's sexual health needs. The research dollars are missing from our society. The physician training is missing. The sexual education is missing. The feminine hygiene and beauty product safety regulation is missing. Women consistently pay the price for all of these societal deficiencies.
There are millions of women who are afraid they have done everything they can and believe vaginal infections will be a constant in their lives. They have tried all over-the-counter measures, most of the alternative measures, spent thousands of dollars on out-of-network ob-gyn infection disease specialists, did multiple rounds of clotrimazole, did multiple rounds of fluconazole, tried prescription steroids, had biopsies performed, seemingly endless hormone testing, seemingly endless STD testing and did not achieve any relief. One of my physicians was so resigned to my recurring infection he felt it appropriate to tell me that "this is just how some women are for the rest of their lives." You can imagine the absolute despair I felt after that comment. Then, consider my horror, when I realized so many women are also suffering in silence. I was surprised to already know some of these women, who confessed their own suffering after I opened up about my struggles.
The amount of confusing information regarding women's genital health means it is so important for me to share what has brought me relief. Making my own milk Kefir ended years of pain. Previous attempts to consume prescription probiotics and even-store bought yogurts and kefirs did not provide me the quick relief I experienced after my first batch of homemade kefir. I hope if you are suffering from genital infections such as candidiasis or bacterial vaginosis, that you will give milk kefir a try. Milk kefir is an inexpensive solution that you can introduce to whatever care plan your physician has instructed you to follow. If you are not currently using medication, you can try kefir my preferred way: on its own with very little monitary investment. I am certain you will love it after you start seeing its health benefits.