There I was, lying face up with my knees to the ceiling. Naked and staring at the lights while getting my vagina swabbed from front to back.
"Yeast Infection," my doctor told the nurse. "Yup, I knew it from the minute I saw it," she replied. I didn't know whether or not I was more confused or embarrassed. How in the world did I--a germaphobe who showered three to four times a day--get a yeast infection?
"Don't worry Kim, this is the norm. In fact, 80% of the women who come and see me during the Summer have it. It's warm out and vaginas tend to get more moist during this time of year--it makes for the perfect environment for yeast."
It took me a few days to muster up the courage to make that appointment for my gynecologist but I knew something was up when I started to feel less normal. To be frank, my vagina was way more moist than usual and although Trina and Khia once boasted that being super wet would be a gift, I quickly learned that it was something more like a curse.
You see, my twenties has brought me a bunch of reality checks that my vag wasn't ready to cash. Gone are the days of eating mountains of sugary candy and wearing those tight and silky five for $25 Victoria Secret G-Strings.
In my twenties, I have learned that my vagina needs a little more TLC. First up, this yeast.
But before I popped the Diflucan my doctor prescribed me, I was on a mission to find something that was more on the organic side. So I tested just about every online at-home remedy to see if it worked and lets just say it was an experience like no other.
Disclaimer: This is the writer's personal experience. xoNecole is in no way recommending these remedies as absolute truth. If you are experiencing issues with yeast, please consult your doctor before trying any of these remedies.
First up, "The Garlic Tampon". Garlic kills yeast, they said. Old Wives Tales say that you have a few options when it comes to garlic. Consume it, any way you'd like (liquid or solid). Stick a clove in your vag or soak a tampon in garlic and sleep with it inserted overnight. So I tried them all and I want to let you know the most important step that just about everyone forgot to mention. DILUTE - because although garlic may kill yeast it also sets fire to the rain. Either I didn't have it inside of me long enough to kill the yeast or the remedy just didn't work, but unless you have an inferno down there and don't mind going to work/school smelling like you're cooking I'd say, use this remedy at your own risk.
Next, I tried yogurt. Tons of it, as yogurt is said to have the "good" bacteria that is used to fight the "bad" bacteria. However, if the yogurt you are using isn't plain and unsweetened, you run the risk of making the infection worse and this, my friends, was my case.
Lastly, I tried apple cider vinegar; after all it worked wonders on my natural hair. However, just like garlic, ACV burned and unless you're Usher and willing to "Let It Burn" this might not be the remedy for you.
It was at that very moment that I realized that internal impurities couldn't be fixed using exterior solutions. So I began taking a look at my diet and cutting out the sugary things that I had been binging on over the past few months--gummy bears, soda, and that good ole Chik-fil-A lemonade, and it was almost at that very instant that I was able to start tackling the Candida that was attempting to cockblock me.
So what finally worked for me? A sugarless diet, a trusty pair of 100% cotton underwear, incorporating more garlic and sugar-free yogurt in my meals, taking a shot of ACV each morning and that good ole Diflucan.
Lesson learned: You don't have to die to kick it.
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports