November 22, 2012

I woke at 2am this morning with an itchy vagina and a sore foot.

I’ve recently taken a strong course of antibiotics to treat a urinary tract infection and, as part and parcel, I now have thrush.

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I also have plantar fasciitis in my right foot.

I like to share my nighttime aches and pains with my husband Mikey. He’s never grumpy when I wake him even though he has a two-hour commute to work and gets up at 5am. He’s the type of man who is unafraid to tackle the sanitary aisle of the supermarket and is not fazed by anything vagina-related (I guess he has to be, being married to me).

So when I woke him to share my itch and ache, he just rolled over and mumbled something about being too tired and started snoring again. “That’s funny,” I thought, he’s usually quite sympathetic and makes an offer to grab me a Panadol or to go to the pharmacy for me. He will then kiss me on the head and give me a quick spoon before heading back to his side of the bed.

I eventually went back to sleep and when I woke, Mikey was already in the shower. I went in to use the toilet and through the clear plastic shower curtain, Mikey was giving me the swoony-come-hither-amorous eyebrow look. Puzzled, (as I think I look like Sideshow Bob in the mornings), I asked what the look was for. “You told me your vagina was ‘itchy’ during the night, so I thought we could, you know, do something about it (wink, wink).” “I was too tired when you asked me during the night.”

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“Ohhhh, right!” “When I said my vagina was ‘itchy,’ I meant scratchy itchy, not SEXY ITCHY!” Lordy! Here I am with full-blown lady problems and Mikey thinks I have an itch that needs scratching! If he wasn’t such an adorable man I think I’d flick him in the testicles.

I later went to the pharmacy with my three-year-old daughter to pick up the single-dose capsule to treat my vaginal thrush. When she asked me why we were going to the chemist, I told her I had to buy medicine to treat my itchy giny. Now some may think this is too much information to share with a toddler, but Mikey and I have agreed to be very open with our daughter and to always speak the truth. She’s a girl and she has a vagina*. We speak about it like we speak about every other part of her body. We never want her to be embarrassed or to think her ‘precious little lady’ is dirty.

I went to the dispensary and whispered what I needed, but I shouldn’t have bothered. In my daughters clear and concise outside voice, she said, “Mummy, is your giny still itchy?” “Um, yes, it is Muffy Moo, thank you for sharing that with everyone waiting for their medication!” You can only love the things kids say and I did share the information with her after all.

Now that the treatment is working its magic and my vagina has stepped away from the spotlight, I thought it timely to remind us all how to avoid vaginal thrush in the future. And the list goes something like this:

•   Wear cotton briefs and avoid wearing tight-fitting panty hose and synthetic underwear.

•   Wipe your bottom from front to back after going to the toilet. This will prevent the spread of Candida albicans from the anus to the vagina.

•   Avoid using perfumed soap to wash the genital area.

•   Avoid using bath additives, douches or vaginal deodorants in the genital area.

•   Avoid using perfumed toilet papers and menstrual products.

•   Wash regularly but do not wash and dry yourself harshly.

•   Consider changing your clothes-washing detergent and don’t use fabric softeners.

So until next time, love your lady bits and share your stories. Every time we share, it makes our problems become a bit more normal. SJx

*Yes, I know the correct term for the female genitalia is vulva, but vagina is more commonly used, so I’m going with that.

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