Aunt Vadge: itchy, swollen, cottage cheese discharge – what’s wrong with me?

Hello Aunt Vadge,

I’m 16 and I’m sexually active. I have slept with three people before, which at times I haven’t used protection with them (but I have been test for STI’s and it came back negative each time).

I have recently had a water [urinary tract] infection which I went to the doctors and got tablets for. After my tablets were finished, I started to get an itchy feeling in my labia majora, and over the days it’s gotten worse.

Now my whole clitoris has swollen up and become really sore when I move or sit down. Also I have had lots of discharge some of which came out and looked like cottage cheese

Please help
Age: 16
Country/Area: Liverpool

Dear Gemma,

You seem to have a very clear case of a post-antibiotic yeast infection! These are really common after taking a round of antibiotics which kill all the good bacteria that keeps the yeasts in your digestive system and vagina in check. If you think of it a little bit like an ecosystem, where each bacteria or yeast keeps the others in check. Antibiotics kill bacteria, but not yeast, so yeasts are left to have a small party. This results in the exact symptoms you are experiencing, and you are suffering this fate with basically every woman who has ever had to take antibiotics.

It’s really uncomfortable, but luckily, it’s easy fixed. You have a few options.

The first is to adjust your diet – often just removing carbs can have an impressive impact on vaginal yeast infections, since the gut and vagina are very closely linked in terms of bacteria colonies. Whatever’s going on in the gut is often going on in the vagina. (More details below.)

The second step is critical anyway, and is to repopulate your good bacteria – which you MUST ALWAYS DO AFTER ANTIBIOTICS. Every single time. Otherwise, you leave your body open to all sorts of bacteria, yeasts, and viruses that it would normally be protected by. Your good bacterial colonies were killed by the antibiotics too, so once everything is dead, you need to regain these bacteria. Good bacteria make your whole body work properly, and without them, we end up sick and have stomach problems.

The third is that you can do a tea tree oil douche with warm water, then do a yoghurt douche. If you do all of these things, in the steps below, you will very likely feel completely ok in a day or two.

Here’s what to do:

Step 1: Stop eating white carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, white rice, and potatoes, for a couple of days (if you can – I realise you probably aren’t responsible for the shopping in your house). Yeasts love these foods because there is a lot of sugar available in them. Yeast feeds on sugar.

Step 2: check your house, ask your parents or siblings if someone has some tea tree oil. If not, and if you can afford it, buy some Australian tea tree oil at the pharmacy at Step 4.

Step 3: Beg, borrow or steal about 5-10 quid and go to a health food store nearby. Ask the person at the counter for live probiotic plain yoghurt, to treat a yeast infection. It must must must be alive, with a high probiotic count, no added sugar, colours, flavours or preservatives. Plain sour yoghurt. We are going to add this back to your system to get the good germs back so they stop the yeast from overpopulating, like introducing goats to keep the grass down. You probably want to buy a big tub, because you are going to eat it and also stick in into your vagina until your problem is solved.

(If you have enough money, ask them for a probiotic to solve a yeast infection – they will know what to give you. Take four capsules per day in four different doses throughout the day.)

Step 4: go to your local pharmacy and ask for a syringe cannister – you will want about 20ml at least, but it can be bigger. They are cheap, maybe 50 pence or so. These are also often found in the baby section, but ask. If you need to, ask for tea tree oil.

Step 5: If you have the tea tree oil, you need to do a tea tree douche. This means a large cup of warm water and about five drops of tea tree oil, and then fill up your syringe cannister, lie on your back with a towel underneath, and fill your vagina with the warm water and tea tree oil. Hold it in for as long as you can, then squirt it out onto the towel (or do it in the bath). Repeat a few times. You may notice that your symptoms abate somewhat from this. You need to repeat the douche a couples of times a day until your symptoms disappear, then you can stop.

Step 6: Then, put about 20ml of yoghurt into the syringe cannister, lie back with a towel under your butt to catch any drips, and very gently push the syringe cannister tip right into your vagina. Squeeze the yoghurt as far into your vagina as you can, then remove the cannister. You may want to insert a small tampon to hold the yoghurt in, since it can get pretty messy without it. A panty liner may also work. I would advise testing this out while you are at home, because the yoghurt can go everywhere, and it smells and is messy!

Your other option is to make a douche out of the yoghurt, and after the tea tree oil douche (don’t use them at the same time), mix 20ml of yoghurt with 20ml of water, and repeat several times.

Step 7: eat a few spoonfuls of yoghurt four times per day, making sure you have enough for your vagina, and your mouth.

Your problem should quickly be solved if you do this for a couple of days. When the itch and discharge stops, you’re done.


  • Don’t use pure essential oils like tea tree on your skin without diluting them a lot – you can have a bad reaction and burn your skin. They are really strong.
  • Don’t make a habit of douching – it can leave you susceptible to other infections.
  • The  reason you maybe got a urinary tract infection in the first place is because your bacteria needs a bit of support, so see our fermented foods page to get some ideas on how to keep your bacteria levels healthy with cheap foods and drinks you can make at home by yourself.
  • You need your good bacteria in your vagina to keep it healthy, and smelling and tasting delicious.
  • Try to always use condoms when you have sex, since it protects your vagina from germs from your sexual partner that can prevent UTIs. You’ve seen how horrible this infection was – the others are worse! If you don’t know how to use condoms, learn via YouTube videos from experts. Don’t leave your sexual health up to the people you are sleeping with, because they don’t know either. Your vagina will always end up worse than their penis (if they are guys) because its a closed environment that things get trapped in.
  • Also, you don’t want to get pregnant at your age – visit your doctor again to get on birth control. There are many options available.

Please write back anytime – we’d love to hear from you!

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge