I finally dragged myself to the college health center complaining of yeast infections, and I got some prescription medication. But I experienced the same issue over and over again: Sometimes it would go away, and then it would just keep coming back. I found myself in this nonstop cycle of going to the health center every few weeks. And it’s not like I was just going in for a routine exam—it felt very intimate and embarrassing to get a pelvic exam every few weeks. I mean, nobody wants to be in the stirrups more than they have to. It was really disrupting my life, not just from the visits, but it also started to take a toll on my self-confidence.
After months of return visits, I started to become my own advocate, and shared I really didn’t think the medication was working. Then I was put on a longer-term course of antifungals (a weekly Fluconazole pill for six months). It did work in a sense, the symptoms briefly went away—but then a couple years later, the same cycle started all over again.
I was put on another six-month course of antifungal therapy, but then I started getting an allergic reaction (swelling, hives, the works). As it turned out, I’d developed an allergy to the antifungal. However, at the time, I was so desperate for the vaginal symptoms to go away, sometimes I’d still take the medication and hope that maybe (maybe!) the reaction wouldn’t be as bad as the last time. But it always was. My doctors eventually switched me to another medication, but the recurrent cycle still continued.
This whole experience went on for five years—through college, through grad school, and my move to New York.