Adulting with Erin: Yeast infections are a beast

By Erin Bothwell | April 11, 2018 7:04pm
by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

It happened to me, and it can happen to you. (Does anyone else listen to Diana Ross and the Supremes’ “The Happening?" No?). 

Yeast infections happen. Let’s be honest, if you’re a woman, you will probably get at least one in your lifetime. The (good?) news is yeast infections may be horrible, but at least they’re not completely sexist. Men can get them too, although it is less common. 

If you have female genitalia and a yeast infection, your vaginal area will riot against you. It will itch and burn. Imagine the scene from “Game of Thrones” season 7 when Daenerys orders Drogon to set the Tarlys on fire. A yeast infection is like a miniature version of that in your pants.  

In addition to having fire pants, according to the Mayo Clinic it may hurt when you urinate, and the genital area may turn red, swell or be extra sensitive. Read more about symptoms you may experience here

By the way, I’m not writing this to gross you out. I’m writing because yeast infections are pretty common, and we need to talk about what’s going on in our bodies. I didn’t know anything about yeast infections until I got one, and since I thought they were some type of rare medical fluke, I announced my infection to people like I’d been diagnosed with a terminal disease. No one was shocked or surprised, although most were sympathetic. It was the least dramatic medical reveal ever. 

Sometimes people will ask you what you did to deserve a yeast infection. The truth is, a yeast infection is a destination you can get to through various roads. Candida (yeast) that regularly resides inside you can become imbalanced if you douche. Yeast infections are not sexually transmitted infections — although it is possible to acquire them through having sex with an infected partner. They do not come from a magician casting a spell to slowly transform you into a loaf of bread. 

The real kicker is that antibiotics can cause yeast infections. That’s right. Doctor prescribed medicine can mess with your genitals and cause you to have an infection for which you will have to take yet another medication to treat. Is it a giant scheme? Maybe. 

Side note: I think what did mine in was a week of bathing exclusively via bubble bath. In my defense, it felt like a really good idea at the time. You see, I poured in enough bubble bath so the bubbles would fill most of the tub and I would end up sitting in about three inches of water. I was really just conserving water by using so many bubbles. But bubbles do not maintain the PhD of the vaginal canal. Wait, I think I meant PH. You get the gist. 

Sometimes yeast infections just happen all on their own — or because you are STRESSED and want to sit in bubbles and pretend nothing exists beyond the bathroom door. 

Treatment is relatively simple. If you’re a first-timer, you should probably see your doctor to confirm you have a yeast infection (it could also be bacterial vaginosis or a urinary tract infection). Your doctor will likely perform a swab test or a urine test and prescribe you medication if your test results are yeast-positive. 

If yeast infections are old hat, you know the drill. Go to a store that sells feminine hygiene products and pick up an over-the-counter treatment. I also bought $20 worth of chocolate, but that’s *optional.* 

Don’t worry. Yeast infections are irritating, but (as I learned) pretty normal. We will survive.