Okay ladies, can the chatter and listen up.
First, a few words about this homepage. If you are offended by blunt, uncensored talk, have no sense of humor about female problems, or are looking only for corporate-sponsored, FDA-approved information about yeast infections, you've come to the wrong place. Please go directly to the Monistat homepage. Do not pass go, do not collect $200. You really don't want to read any further.
For the rest of us, I mean, YEAST. Yeah, vaginal yeast infections are nasty and annoying, but for most wimmin most of the time, they aren't debilitating or life-threatening. So what's the big deal? Well, to my mind, the conventional treatment of vaginal yeast infections is a nutshell of what's wrong with the way our society deals with wimmin's health issues. Most of us treat a yeast infection by running to the drugstore, handing $20 to our corporate masters, and walking around miserable for days with disgusting slime dribbling down between our legs, not even sure if what we have is really a yeast infection. Simple information on prevention and alternative treatments is ridiculously hard to find, in part because there's little profit in it and in part because men don't suffer from vaginal yeast infections. I'm hoping to help fill that gap, and to make a small contribution to the larger goal of helping wimmin take control of our bodies.
Wimmin also need to learn more about vaginal yeast infections, because there may be a problem brewing. Here's the deal. Many ointments for yeast infections are available in pharmacies, and the drug companies bombard us with hype about their yeast infection products. Many wimmin assume that every vulvar or vaginal itch they have is due to a yeast infection, and run out to fill their crotches full of powerful antifungal creams. But sometimes it isn't really a yeast infection. The problem is that when you expose your naturally-occuring vaginal yeast to these drugs, some of the yeast may be resistant. Only the resistant ones thrive and multiply and then next time you get a yeast infection, you've got a crotch full of drug-resistant yeast, and you can't just run to the pharmacy and shell out $20 for a cure; you have to go to a doctor and get something much stronger. As much as 25-30% of yeast infections may now be resistant to over-the-counter treatments. Bad, bad news, particularly for wimmin who have other health problems in addition to yeast. Remember how penicillin used to be a miracle antibiotic, and then farmers started including it in cattle and chicken feed and people stopped finishing their prescriptions and every bacterium became resistant and now penicillin is a joke and can't kill anything? The same thing is happening with drugs for yeast infections. So I figure the more we know about yeast infections, the better we're able to make intelligent decisions about treatments and prevention.
Having said that, a word on what I am not trying to do here. This page focuses on symptoms, causes, and treatments for vaginal yeast infections in wimmin who are not immune compromised. I have only a smidge of information on genital yeast infections in men, almost nothing on yeast infections in women with HIV, and no information at all on systemic yeast infections. Also, my information on the page is primarily aimed at wimmin living in the US, although most of the comments about causes and home remedies should be relevant for wimmin living in any industrialized country.
Yeast. Ugh. If you've ever had a vaginal yeast infection, i don't have to tell you what misery life can be. If you haven't, well, rock on with your bad self, girlfriend. If you're not sure, i've prepared a handy list of symptoms of yeast infections as well as other types of crotch rot to help you figure out if your problem fits the bill. I've also compiled some stuff on the biology of yeast infections, mostly as it pertains to the more practical matter of causes and prevention. I've tried to include both those factors that are recognized by The Official Medical Establishment, and those that really do contribute but haven't yet been given the medical-science seal of approval.
If you already know that your problem is yeast and you want to know what to do about it, well, we're here to help. As I see it, there are a number of options, depending on your personal philosophy, budget, and access to state-controlled medical resources. I personally always start with the do it yourself route, which is effective most of the time if you catch those little yeastie bastards early enough. If that doesn't work, i escalate to those nasty over-the-counter remedies that are sold in pharmacies. If that doesn't work, you probably have to get tough and go see a licensed physician to gain access to prescription treatments. I know, Iknow, it's awful, but that's the kind of society we live in.
I have a small section that deals specifically with genital yeast infections in men. If you have a vaginal yeast infection and are having unprotected sex with a man, you should be aware that he could get your infection. Check it out.
And that about wraps it up. Hopefully by the time you've gotten through all the assembled information, your yeast problems will be solved, your crotch will be happy, and you'll be happy. Enjoy.
If after reading these pages you still have questions, please read the FAQ; odds are you'll find out right there that I can't answer your question.