At the risk of being accused of “over sharing,” I have decided to talk about yeast infections. I have not had one in about three years but this past week let me tell you, I could bake a loaf of bread in my vagina. Women get this annoying infection all of the time and we don’t talk about it because to admit it is to confirm in the minds of many that the vagina really is a p0lluted place.
Yeast infections are accompanied by a thick white discharge, redness, swelling, and itching. Believe me, the minute you have one the toilet brush suddenly seems like the most appealing lover that a girl could ever hope for. If you have never had one it is best to get it diagnosed by a doctor before buying over the counter medication to deal with the problem.
Like periods, yeast infections are something that we suffer through in silence. Unlike menstruation there is even less conversation about this issue. This is yet another sign of how disconnected we are from our bodies. With the medicalization of labour and delivery, women have lost our traditional ways of healing and we have learned to become ashamed of our biological processes; whispering about it occasionally to friends, only to discover that they are just as ignorant of female biology as we are.
Can you imagine announcing that you are cranky because you have a yeast infection or freely scratching yourself with impunity the way that men do? If even saying the word vagina is deemed faux pas in public, touching yourself is definitely out of the question. Our vaginas are deemed the property of men and therefore unless we are washing them or neatly trimming our pubic hair they are understood as a no “fly zone”.
There are still women that douche regularly because they believe that their vaginas are dirty. Many don’t even know that they are supposed to have discharge or that its consistency and color can change as we go through our monthly cycle. We would not tolerate such ignorance about our hands, or legs but when it comes to the vagina, the occasional hushed whisper often suffices.
This wilful ignorance continues on because mothers who are not aware don’t teach their daughters. How many women still wipe back to front, instead of front to back? If you can take the time to clip your fingernails. and brush your teeth, perhaps investing in your vagina might not be such a bad idea considering you are going to be in possession of one all of the days of your life.
So yeah this week I had a yeast infection. It was less than pleasant but you know what, it is part of being a woman. We need to acknowledge all of the things our bodies do even when it makes us uncomfortable.