Aunt Vadge: I’m scared I have herpes, but could it be yeast?

Dear Aunt Vadge,

So I’ve been with my current partner for about 11 months now. I am on birth control and we don’t use condoms. I think I’ve had a yeast infection for a while now, but for the last three months I think the symptoms have progressed. Sex is not very enjoyable.

In the beginning it feels fine, but afterwards I’m sore and I notice two, sometimes three, tiny cuts appear on my perineum. They only appear after sex, or if I itch too hard, or when he inserts his fingers. I know I need to go to the gyno but I’m afraid of what I’ll hear that’s why I’ve put it off for so long.

My general symptoms are itching around the inside and the opening, swelling after sex, and thick white discharge. I don’t have any odor whatsoever. I’ve been doing some research online to see if I could diagnose myself, but when I do, all I see is genital herpes and I’m terrified of that.

That’s also why I have put off going to the gyno because I’m afraid that they will tell me I have herpes. I don’t think it’s herpes because I’ve never had any flu-like symptoms or the pins and needles sensation. The cuts typically heal within two or three days max, but they always return after sexual activity, and I just want to make sure that they are from the yeast infection or if they are or sound like herpes. Any advice or reassurance I could get would be great. Thanks so much.

Yours,
Freaked Out
Age: 21
Country/Area: United States

Dear Freaked Out,

Sorry to hear you feel so nervous about something being really wrong with your vag. That must be making you really anxious!

I think you can rest assured you definitely do not have herpes. It just doesn’t sound like it. What it does sound like is an ongoing yeast infection –  you are right.

Luckily there is plenty you can try at home, and if those treatments don’t work, you know you have a different issue on your hands, but let’s start basic first.

I’m going to take a wild leap and assume you are on the pill. This is because the pill kills good bacteria on contact in your gut, and coupled with our crappy diets, can quickly lead to chronic yeast infections.

Essentially when you are dealing with vaginal yeast blooms, you are really dealing with a bloom in your intestines. This is easy to treat. You need to starve the critters, and put good bacteria in that are competent at fighting yeasts. If you are still susceptible, you may have yeast biofilms in your gut, which are also reasonably easy to treat.

Here are the instructions for dealing with yeast infections.

To summarise the plan:

  1. Cut down on simple carbs – white foods – pasta, rice, bread.
  2. Take a probiotic containing Saccharomyces boulardii or Jarro-Dophilus Women 10 bn CFUs x 2 per day.
  3. Use the probiotics vaginally 1-2 per day, but make sure they are in vegetable caps, not gelatin or enteric-coated vegetable capsules. Jarro-Dophilus Women needs to be transferred to vegetable caps for vaginal use – instructions here. 
  4. If you still have issues/have blooms very easily (like eat pizza/drink a couple of beers, boom, bloom), add InterFase Plus 120 caps jar. You have biofilms.
  5. Failing this, write back.

This should make a huge dent within a day or two, but keep going until you feel full relief – may be five days. Adjust as you need.

Clearing out your gut bloom and keeping on top of it in future are your goals. Don’t be scared of your vag – understanding what happens, how, when and why is part of getting to know your body, and knowing is always preferable to not knowing. Yeast is one of your best case scenarios! Very manageable.

Warmest regards,
Aunt Vadge

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.