The itch that you can’t scratch

IC taught me to take better care of myself
August 8, 2018
Menopause not in retreat
August 8, 2018

I f you happen to be interested in vaginal complaints, then you have surely come across texts about thrush, or vaginal yeast infection. You probably know about Candida albicans, the microorganism that causes thrush, and you know that it is not only impossible to treat it with antibiotics, but you are likely to get it after a course of antibiotics. You see, antibiotics are usually not selective enough, and while their primary target is pathogenic bacteria, all other bacteria suffer, including the ones that are responsible for keeping a yeast infection at bay.
If you happen to read these kind of articles, you must have read that some women are more prone to yeast infection than others. Well, I’m in the first group.
I don’t remember having thrush often before my first baby. Also, I cannot remember not having it after the first delivery.
After I gave birth, I had no idea what hit me. I had an episiotomy, a small cut made on the perineum in order to avoid any tissue tearing. The stitches, though, were done badly and a couple of days later I had an infection. So I had been prescribed strong antibiotics, that probably changed my vaginal flora enough for thrush to start.
But you know how it is when you have a little baby: all of a sudden, you are out of the picture. It doesn’t matter if you’re hungry, thirsty, aching or itching. There’s a baby that needs taking care of.
So months later, when I started thinking about sex again, I realised that I do not feel that great down there. It was as if itch turned into pain while I wasn’t looking, and I was suffering every time we tried to have an intercourse. I talked to my gynecologist about it, but however much she looked, she couldn’t see that anything is wrong.
It turned out, months later, that I had vaginal dryness, too. It can sometimes occur in pregnancy and during breastfeeding. Now, on its own, vaginal dryness can be annoying, painful and disturbing. But even more, it can cause a disruption in the vaginal flora, which often results in yeast infection and bacterial vaginosis.
By the time I got to the bottom of it all, a year and a half had gone by and I was pregnant again. That’s when the serious problems started. The hormonal change that happened in pregnancy, together with the previously untreated vaginal dryness had made me start suffering from serious and chronic vaginal thrush. I used antimycotic creams prescribed by doctors and midwives, and they helped – for about a week. Then the itch would come back. I used vaginal probiotics and they helped a little too – the itch would get just a bit milder. But nothing could relieve me of the constant itch that I can’t scratch.
I tried to watch my diet – but it’s an impossible task when working full time, taking care of a toddler and having an ever growing belly. My diet was unhealthy, I knew that, but I couldn’t do much about it.
I had an anti-itching spray that I was carrying everywhere with me. And I used soothing compresses in the evening, because my crotch would get sore from the inadvertent night scratching.
But the most correct, and at the same time absolutely useless, advice that I got was: “You will have to wait until you give birth, the hormones will get sorted then.”
It made me angry.
But it was true. Only after I gave birth the agony stopped. It’s the day after I gave birth that I realised that the constant itch was pushing me into depression.
I still occasionally have a thrush infection, but never as bad as it was before. Hope it never will be.

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