Vaginitis as defined by Mayo Clinic (at Mayoclinic.org) is, “an inflammation of the vagina that can result in discharge, itching and pain. The cause is usually a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria or an infection. Vaginitis can also result from reduced estrogen levels after menopause.
The most common types of vaginitis are:
- Bacterial vaginosis, which results from overgrowth of one of several organisms normally present in your vagina
- Yeast infections, which are usually caused by a naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans
- Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and is commonly transmitted by sexual intercourse
- Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis), which results from reduced estrogen levels after menopause.”
Treatment of these types of infections varies and I will direct you back to the many of the medical based websites out there on diagnosis and treatment. My intention here is to talk about how women suffer through these symptoms and how I am challenging the way it gets treated.
Millions of women each year get yeast infections, and almost every woman will have one in her lifetime. Many women, once they’ve had one, will self-treat and not seek out further medical attention – they just go buy the over the counter medication. If you’ve never had one, please, please see your preferred OB/Gyn medical professional first!
The point is: there are loads of us women out there getting them! But I find we are not talking about how much these infections are distracting us, and consuming our day. I know, it’s not good manners to do so, but I am going to start. Women will have a range of intensity with the burning, itch, swelling, and odor, but my experiences have been overly intense. I would like to announce to the world that it can be really hard to work and keep focus when we have one of these! I remember barely being able to drive home one night because the symptoms were so bad, and I would have preferred pain to the itch making me go out of my mind. I have found that falling asleep is the worst because there is nothing to distract me. Talk about mental torture!
Many of us know that you need the medication and how to get it, but how does a woman get some relief before her pharmacy opens up the next morning and then wait for the medicine to start working? I asked this very question to my nurses line one evening and got the answer to dispense plain cold yogurt up there (how do you really get that up there, and how do you deal the with the downstream mess?), or try a warm sitz bath. As a physical therapist, I thought “aren’t we supposed to cool inflammation, not heat it?” But I was desperate, and I tried it. Awful! Hands down, it added fuel to the fire for me. Forgive me for being so blunt here, but the only way I fell asleep that night was with an ice pack between my legs. I believe the answer for immediate relief of symptoms is icing. (Notice I did not say cure)
In my shining hour that night, I thought that there had to be a more clean, safe, and dignified way to cool these tissues. And cooling really worked! It continued to work for me as I developed the S/he*Pak. The itch, heat, swelling, burning all settled down and I dare say helped the tissues heal faster than medication alone, just like it does for athletic and accidental injuries. I don’t have data to prove that S/he*Pak shortens the duration of a yeast infection yet, but what do yeast like to proliferate? Warmth and moisture. And since when do we heat inflammation? We ice it. The role for heating is in preparing healthy tissues for activity or stretch, not injured or infected tissues for healing. I can say from personal experience that using the S/he*Pak a few times per day has helped me get relief and have a better (and sane) experience while I am waiting for my medication to kick in. And I liked that it calmed both the internal and external tissue as well. Win, win relief!
What can you do about your vaginitis? See your OB/Gyn professional and get the medication.
What can you do about your symptoms for immediate relief? I invite you to consider icing/cooling with She*Pak!