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I know what you mean, erinjane. I hold all MDs up to the unrealistic standard set by the doctor who looked after me since I was a kid. It's an unrealistic standard cause how can a physician I don't know well measure up to someone I've known all my life, who's had a long time to get to know me as a patient and know all about the context of my life? He treated my mom, brother, dad too, so he had a sense of our whole situation, and that makes a huge difference in the quality of treatment you get.

He died a few years ago (really young, in my opinion, he was barely past retirement age) and it's been awful trying to find good care for my mom ever since.

Physicians are pretty scarce where we live, even though we've got three teaching hospitals near by and we're close to one of the largest medical schools in the country. Technically, we're "overserviced". Still, it's been a series of trial and error situations here too: so far, I've been able to find a female MD to look after my mom who decided (without doing any sufficient testing) to put my mom on synthroid. After suffering side effects for a week or so and telling the MD about it, my mom had to be rushed to the hospital because she was suffering from atrial fibrillation. She was 80 years old at the time and she'd never suffered from or been diagnosed with any heart condition whatsoever before. The emergency ambulance ride finally forced the MD to take my mom off the drug, but she decided to put my mom back on the drug when my mom went into the hospital for a surgery on her hip. No one knows why she did this, and once again my mom experienced the same side effects but instead they were happening at a time when she was extremely vulnerable. So, in addition to recovering from surgery, she once again experienced the heart symptoms and was once again dosed with even more heart treatment drugs to counteract the effects she experienced on the synthroid, just to keep her alive. My mom ended up staying in the hospital for 6 weeks as a result--with more complications arising the longer she stayed.

After that, I had to go and find yet another MD for her. And that MD was/is arrogant enough to insist on imposing the same kind of nonsensical drug prescriptions on her as his predecessor. This guy has even threatened to disallow my mother access to diagnostic tests which could help monitor her health under treatments he's not crazy about--which I think is unethical (hey! She pays for those tests and she's entitled to whatever she needs!). He seems threatened by everything she does that isn't to his order--if she takes a vitamin pill, he orders her to stop immediately. It's like everything he does has to be obeyed to the letter or he'll make sure she can't get a blood test, or access to any kind of diagnostic test she may need. For a long time she hated this guy but felt like no one else was available to look after her, so she was stuck.

I did manage to find a local doctor who's capable and very good to my mom, however, and it's ironic because he's a cardiologist--a specialist my mother never would have needed to see if she hadn't been compromised by a bad prescription. He's older, more experienced and specialized, but most importantly he's very careful to pay attention to her reactions to any prescriptions she may be on and he doesn't have a problem with changing her dosage or even taking her off a drug that's not helpful in favour of one that is more suitable (whereas the other two would refuse to do this). It means she can't see him as often, and his scope of medical knowledge is not as broad as a GPs, but at least she feels like she's got someone on her side.
It's like that where my grandma lives, chacha, in this little town in Missouri. It's such a hellhole and their hospital sucks so doctors don't want to stay there, especially good ones. My grandma had a pretty major health episode a few years ago- she has electrolyte and thyroid problems and suddenly she felt really sick, and they found that her sodium levels had dropped dangerously low. My mom had to go stay with her for about 3-4 weeks, and my grandma was so delirious and wacky because of it, like a sudden case of Alzheimer's.

Anyway, the doctors were no help. My mom was doing research about what could be causing it, like a stroke or something, and the doctors would just pooh-pooh her and say, "that's nice, ma'am, but we're the experts here", just totally condescending....meanwhile none of them could figure out what was going wrong and kept denying her what would seem to be the proper tests.

Eventually, they found a doctor who had some sense, and would actually listen to what my grandma was telling them (which was hard, because even in her greatest moments of clarity, it was hard for her to speak) and figured out how to get her balanced out again.

I wish we could get her to just move to Chicago where the decent healthcare is plentiful, but when you're 85, stubborn as hell and have never lived anywhere else, that's a little difficult. She's better now, though, but I just fear for the next time this happens.
85 and stubborn as hell! describes my mom these days too. Which reminds me I've got to get out of here and go and see her today, as soon as possible.

It's amazing how much difference something like a lack of salts in the body can lucky your grandmother is to have found someone with enough experience to know that electrolyte imbalance was causing her problems (because, really, that's the only way any doctor would know to think about that possibility when doing a differential diagnosis).

I think our experiences (Erinjane's with her mom's former doc, my mom with her docs, your grandmother with her hospital experience) are actually the norm and that our medical systems are really set up this way and they can't change. It's horrible because the system itself almost guarantees good treatment will be impossible to find. Whether towns are so underserviced that good doctors just can't stay if they want to keep learning, or hospitals are so overcrowded and understaffed regarding all kinds of personnel that doctors can't spend much time with you at all and won't spend time with you in order to be "efficient"'s no wonder over 200,000 people a year die from conventional medical treatments in North America alone. It's like you have to stay on top of absolutely everything they do--and really work at learning as much as you can about what could be going wrong so that you can try and keep your loved one safe in the event their doctor can't be around or isn't watching the effects of his/her work on your mom/grandmother/whomever you care about in their care.

It's so frustrating but all you can do is persist--keep looking until you can find someone you feel you can trust and work with well. It doesn't make anyone any healthier to stay with a doctor who's neither interested or capable, or too wrapped up in always being seen as "the unquestionable authority".
it's frustrates me that people have to go through so many hoops to get good healthcare. having worked in a hospital myself, i feel like i've seen behind the curtain, and i know i will be terrible to deal with when my parents do(god forbide) ever become ill. i've learned that you have to be demanding and literally in their faces to get attention. healthcare is a business in America and most hospitals and doctors freak at the threat of loss of business or lawsuits. sometimes. but, things shouldn't get to that level.

i'm glad those of you found good doctors. i think GP are great for common ailments, but if you are dealing with a special problem (and have good insurance), then you should see a specialist. it's like going to a podiatrist to check out your teeth. granted i know i live in an idealistic world...
Hey Everyone!
Long time lurker here, just finally joined. I've really enjoyed the community here and everyone's stories experiences and honesty.
I'm posting in the general section because i'm really not sure where else to put this. For the past 5-7 years, I have been experiences with my general abdominal/reproductive area. I've been to several doctors and specialists and no one can figure out what I have or really gave my complaints any validity. My symtoms aren't severe so no one takes me seriously, but I just know that there is a serious consistant problem.
I started to investigate when one of my partners was concerned about the amount of pain I experience during intercourse (you mean sex isn't supposed to hurt?) I went the local clinic, they told me I had a yeastie, and sent home with the usual. That was just the beginning. Over the next year, I experience every type of infection you can have down there (BV, yeast, and urinary), on many different occasions. Often, the 'cure' for one would induce another type. I eventually stopped going to doctors because they've never listened to me or taken me seriously. I really believe that these infections are the symtoms of a problem, not the problem itself. My other symptoms include: increasingly irregular bowel movements, mild to exteme pain during intercourse both inside and outside, pain and frequency of urination, cramping following orgasm, bloating, and a constant, yet dull ache and feeling of 'fullness' in my abdomin. I've considered everything from ovarian cancer, to pelvic inflammatory disease, to endometriosis (which my grandmother was diagnosed with and seems the most likely considering my symtoms).
Are there any other women who have experience a situation like this? What do you think I could say to really make someone pay attention? Any guidence in this would be greatly appreciated; I have never experienced a normal sex life without any pain, and this seems to becoming more and more unattainable.
Thanks everyone!

The Laurax
I don't think a normal and enjoyable sex life is unattainable, and you're right: your symptoms are not something to be suppressed and ignored--they are actually trying to tell you that something is wrong. They're like an alert which should lead to your getting well--and you can't get well if you just silence them.

Which is probably why whatever you've been given hasn't completely taken care of the problem. In a way, the fact that the symptoms keep returning indicate your body's still trying to heal itself.

Endometriosis could be what's happening (it could be likely--it's not really "hereditary' but we often find ourselves experiencing similar or common patterns of illness, in families). That should be assessed. Your symptoms are really general, so even if it actually is endometriosis or a similar illness, there are "stages" of this ailment which tell you how far along it has progressed. At the very least someone should do an internal exam to see what's going on. Depending on other symptoms, you could have something very simple to something a little more complex than endometriosis, such as Polycystic ovarian "syndrome" (another ailment named after the vague and general nature of the symptoms). Although a diagnosis is not necessary for all the medical treatment options available to you, it's always good to know exactly what is taking place internally.

Conventional treatment for endometriosis involves the use of hormones (surprise) as well as surgery--again, depending on the extent to which growths have progressed. However alternative medical therapies are also available to you; many of these are a lot less invasive as well as being extremely effective. Homeopathy, for example, is a very effective treatment for endometriosis...and it can be very effective despite the general and nondescript nature of the symptoms you're experiencing, as they're not the only important symptoms (there are many, many others that are specific to you and not to a "diagnosis"). But it is a holistic form of medicine, which means you don't just take a magic pill and expect things to clear up overnight without becoming aware of all the contributing factors to the illness. All you have to do is read other forums on this board to see how some people really just want a quick fix and they aren't willing to do what's necessary to get well, no matter what form of treatment they opt for--then they blame their doctors when they're not cured instantly. That's a mindset to avoid no matter what approach to you take to treatment--it's really self-defeating.

Has anyone done an internal exam, or done an ultrasound to determine what's actually happening? Has anyone actually performed an abdominal exam (where they "felt" the internal organs in the abdomen to get an idea of what is taking place in there? Not many docs still do this, but it should be the first "step"). It sounds like a clinic would not have performed any of the diagnostic tests (maybe just they just took a small work up, asking basic questions and diagnosing based on that alone). Anyone actually done a gynecological exam? If these have taken place and yet no one's been able to determine what's happening, then you need to find a doctor who specializes in reproductive/sexual health that you feel will take the time to find out what's wrong before you decide how you'll approach treatment.

As to what to say to get them to take you seriously? My ears perked up when you said "painful intercourse", and my first thought was endo or PCOS. When you mentioned your grandmother was also diagnosed with this, I thought: Endo or PCOS could be something to rule out. I'd never downplay the symptoms as not being "severe"--painful sex should not be ignored as it does indicate something's wrong. Instead, note when your symptoms started, note that they are constant or persistent, note when they are worse (in terms of during the day/night as well as during your cycle, if this has any effect); and try to describe the pain's location and radiation precisely, as well as how your cycle might affect or change these symptoms. If you're still not getting responses or you feel you're not being taken seriously by your doc despite your own thoroughly expressed concerns, you must find another doctor who will know enough to act accordingly. Don't give up! Dealing with doctors is like any other kind of consumer transaction: don't assume they're all clueless just because you meet one who isn't capable. Keep searching until you feel you've found a doctor you can work with.
Has anyone seen this site yet?

I rated two of my bad doctors. tongue.gif
Thanks Chacha.
I really do need to go back and give it another shot with the docs. I've had a million basic gyno exams (feeling internally and the outisde) I mentioned to one doctors to consider endo as a possibility and she flat out told me I definately didn't have it. No tests, barely any history, and just the simple gyno exam. From what I've read about endo, it's symtoms are as you said vague and often not the same in all cases, so I really don't think she had enough information to totally rule it out.
Unfortuately I've never seen the words 'painful intercouse' illicit much of a respose. I always get the question about whether I've been abused and this is all psychological and in my head. I have always had loving and wonderful partners, and I had a very normal introduction to sex. The problem is, there really is very little research done about women's reproductive health, because most of medical research is funded by (duh) men.
I will definately also mention PDOS as well when I return; I haven't heard of this condition before. And i need to stop being so 'nice' to doctors and really demand what I need. I'll keep y'all posted. Thanks
hey, i have a question about fat in foods.
i usually opt for the full fat dairy, yogurt, cream cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, butter, etc. i don't usually eat a lot of dairy but i have lately (not all organic unfortunately, and no raw as it's not to be had in this area at All) and i'm wondering about the health implications. i have always been slim, have a high metabolism and a hard time putting on weight and while i know that i need to watch my heart as much as a heavier person i don't know if naturally fatty foods are good or bad for that.
Hey pepper, great question. It's one I've been wondering about as well. Just about everything I've read and heard from what I generally consider reputable sources say that saturated fat (eg, fat from dairy and other animal products) is generally bad for us and our hearts, whereas unsaturated fat (eg, fat in things like olive oil) is generally good for us. However, there is a minority that disagrees, saying that [natural, good quality] saturated fat is healthy and essential to our diets. Chacha is among that minority and I imagine she will weight in on the matter soon. (Hi chacha!) Actually, you could also just go into the becoming healthy thread and check out the archives to get her point of view.

I'm no doctor, so I don't pretend to be able to decide who is right. The way I've settled the matter for myself is to just eat what I want (within reason of course... all in the context of a pretty balanced diet), knowing that either way there is some evidence that I'm doing the right thing. I don't like dairy all that much so I don't end up eating lots of saturated fat, and I'm very comfortable with that.

Ok, I have a general sexual health question for y'all: lately I've noticed that the area outside my vagina (just inside the labia) is looking especially pink/red. It doesn't itch or otherwise feel irritated/different. Still, it seems like this isn't normal. Anyone else had this happen? What could this be? Thanks!

P.S.- Erin, thanks for that link. Cool idea.
Pepper, Octi, here's an article which describes the biochemical need for saturated fats in the body.

For anyone who is interested: here's a whole number of articles you can look at to get more information on any kind of fat you might want to know more about, including great descriptions on the differences between trans fats, polymerized fats, saturated fats, and unsaturated fats.

The sex question is interesting. How long have you noticed the reddish colouration? Is there only redness, or is it accompanied by swelling, or does the area also feel hot? Can you see any other colourations (such as paleness in spots, or deeper redness in the labia minor?)

Purple colourations I can tell you about. Red--that's not one I'm familiar with, other than it often occurs with irritations or inflammations either in the uterus and/or cervix (which can be extended to the labia, or externalized) or on the labia itself...but you're not feeling any of that.
awesome, you rock!

eta, ok, i avoid canola and i always have, even organic. i can't remember what i read or where but it was convincing enough to put me off edible canola forever. it's good for massage but not for food so far as i'm concerned, and there it is in the cancer causing list on that second link. do you know of a study to support that chacha? i really want that info to pass along to the co-op here, there's canola in EVERYTHING there!
i just watched a news story about how after the 2002 US announcement about the suspected increase in breast cancer due to hormone replacement therapy 15 million american women had stopped taking it by 2003. the resulting Dramatic decrease in breast cancer (the type of cancer fueled by estrogen) cements the study results.
symptoms of menopause include headaches, mood swings and hot flashes, to name a few. all of which can be at least partially treated with alternative, natural remedies.

what do you think of that? yesterday the epidural linked to breastfeeding problems, hormone replacement therapy causing cancer, doctor's are trying to take us out girls. is it any wonder that i don't hardly trust them at all?
pepper, that's scary stuff, indeed! I've heard/read some shifty things about various birth control pills as well, which is one reason I decided to go off them for a little while.

chacha, regarding my sexual health question: I'm not experiencing any of those other symptoms you mentioned. Just a deeper pink than usual in general, and yes, a deeper more red color in the labia minora. I think I first noticed it about three weeks ago, right after my last period. I mentioned it to my acupuncturist, who is also a nurse practitioner, and she suggested it was "contact dermititis" from rubbing against pantyliners and such during my cycle. But that doesn't seem quite right, as it's more irritated in the area that *wouldn't* have contact with my underwear or anything else really. I haven't been watching it regularly, but I think that it got better and then came back recently. Just wondering if it's the sort of thing I can wait for to go away, or if it could be something wrong that needs medical attention.
Pepper, try this link to an article on Canola oil and it's development as a marketable oil. The studies are referenced in the article by footnote--just look on the bottom of the article for the study details. You may actually be able to access the study article if its journal publishes or archives/is archived on line--do a search on Scholar Google using its details and see what you can come up with.

I think you'll find the article really, really interesting too. I bet a lot of people don't realise Canola means "Canadian Oil"--one of the most highly subsidized genetically modified crops in the world. And I'm not surprised it's all over the place where you are: you're in the West.

I also found those HRT stats to be really scary--but the worst part about HRT is that when the bad news hit, the big marketing push for "BioIdentical" hormone replacement therapy went into gear, looping already successful "health" authors like Suzanne Sommers in with her health book publications and really promoting the new Bio Identicals through as many doctors as possible. They have been touted as "The Healthy Alternative", when in reality they are still as problematic as any other kind of HRT. Now the big push is on in Naturopathic circles who desperately want "in" on the treatment, because NDs want their share of the huge and growing Bio Identical market. It's already seen as a "natural" alternative to HRT. And ironically, so many of the promoters of this stuff have become cancer patients themselves (including Sommers), even while extolling its virtues. Horrifying.

Actually, the idea of a seventy year old woman on BHRT who's still having a monthly period is horrifying to me...but Sommers makes that sound like it's a minor inconvenience cause it means you get to have sex! As if 70 year old women don't have sex without daily applications of hormones! There is NO science whatsoever behind these hormone treatments--just a lot of speculation and marketing.

Octi, I tried to find out what the colour changes could signify--and the most common causes are hormonal (it usually happens during the development of secondary sex characteristics, and also during pregnancy). If there are lesions as well as colour changes, then you need to check things out with a gynecologist. If there are any other signs of irritation, such as itchiness, or skin changes like rashes, cuts and tears, thickening, then you have to start thinking of what could be causing the irritations. I remember learning that changes in the colouration of the labia from pink and red to dark purple actually indicate a state in pregnancy (45 days after a missed period seems to come to mind for me--but I can't find this in my texts anywhere, it's something I learned from someone else with a lot of experience treating pregnant women). That's not to indicate that's what is happening with you (unless you are really late on your period and the colour changes are really dark, not just rosy red): it's just to show that hormonal changes will alter the colour of the skin there. It is often just normal, and part of the way things work. It could be happening because you recently stopped using the BCP, or you may have had cortisone shots/creams as part of your treatment with your injury...any of those are just as likely to bring about that change.

But if you are experiencing irritation there, or if you're really worried, you really should go and check things out with a gynecologist. Have the appropriate tests done and all the possibilities ruled out.
Chacha, thanks for following up on my question. The role of hormonal changes is really interesting... no chance of me being pregnant, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's because of going off the pill, as you suggested. BTW- I checked again last night and it seemed less pink/red than before. Maybe it fluctuates daily/weekly with my cycle--? Hm. Anyway, since there's no other changes I think I'll just ride this out, then.

Maybe this will sound stupid, but: a lot of times I don't know when my vagina is doing something normal or abnormal, if I should be alarmed or not alarmed, simply because I never see other women's vaginas. In fact, the only ones I've ever seen apart from my own were in pornography, and I think it's safe to say that my idea of normal *anything* shouldn't be based on porn!
very interesting discussion in here.

my naturopathic doctor has been telling me about how other oils...the ones listed as cancer causing, etc. in one of the links chacha bad. it is tough because i love to eat baked goods. but, oils are used to bound so many of the things that i love to eat. at the same time, these oils make it hard to digest in our systems. rats.

since i've been on a detox, i have eaten ALOT less sugar than i ever had in my whole life. i know, i'm only 31 and being dramatic, but seriously, the consumption is low. if i get sugar, then it is usually naturally in foods like my fruit. i was curious about the connection of overconsumption of sugar (whether granular or in carbs) for women. especially during our menstrual cycles and menopause. i would get REALLY moody and irritable during PMS. i would joke that i would feel bipolar almost. but, since i've watched my sugar consumption (or eliminated it really) i don't feel insane like i used to during PMS.

pepper~i remember during PMS i used to crave cheese, ice cream, cream cheese, salt (popcorn and chips), and chocolate (or anything sweet really). i'm sure i was deficient in some area.
Star, I'll weigh in on the connection between women and overconsumption of carbs/sugar. While I believe there's probably some biological element at work, I think part of the story might be sociological: men tend to go for "comfort food" that is savory, hearty, home-cookin' type stuff, while women tend to go for sugars/sweets/junky food. This makes sense to me, because men associate home cooking with eating the stuff that they get lovingly prepared for them by moms/wives/etc., whereas women associate home cooking with *doing* the cooking, so it's not as relaxing and comforting!

star, do you eat less sugar on the detox bexcause you're craving it less, or because you know you have to restrict it for the detox?
i'm eating sugar less because i'm on the detox and discovered i have a food sensitivity to sugar. i'm still craving sweets. it seems to be helped by fruit. it seems like i want sugar when i am stressed and/or premenstrual. turbojenn told me that there are parasites in our colon? or stomach? that breeds on the sugar, which explains our craving. i don't know if i'm paraphrasing this information right. but, it kinda freaked me out. in a good way of course. biggrin.gif i actually like to have a sweets as something to comfort me.
_octinoxate, if you wanna see what other normal, everyday girls vulva's (or other body parts look like) check out the everyday bodies project at Vagina Pagina on lj.

I think you'll have to add the community before you can see the pictures though.
The vagina, and our lack of familiarity about it, is the largest problem (in my opinion) in feminism. On some level, we still believe there's something wrong about it, we're never taught properly about it's appearance or its function or its anatomy (believe me, medical "science" is seriously wrong on what the tissues of the female sexual system actually look like, STILL!) and we still don't really believe on some level that it isn't really "ours".

Most women only ever see a vagina in porn! I think that's really damaging to us, in terms of our own psyches.
Most of us don't even get a chance to really "experience" our menstrual cycles before they're suppressed with hormones. So we really are a big mystery to ourselves.

But there are ways of rectifying this! Anatomically correct diagrams and illustrations are very, very, very slowly making their way into the anatomy and physiology textbooks and in books written by women for women, such as the Boston Women's Health Collective's Our Bodies Our Selves.

For what it's worth, I don't think there is anything abnormal about colour fluctuation in the mucosal tissue (lips, nipples, labia). Hormones fluctuate all the time (albeit not so drastically as when events like hormone introduction or pregnancy take place). We're all interacting and acting and reacting with our surroundings all the time, so it's to be expected.

As for the sugar cravings and sugar/carb associations for women--there are all kinds of reasons why certain foods are craved, and individual foods are better indicators of deficiency or need than just "carb/sugar/junk".

Straight sugar craving--for things like candy, fruit, or even plain sugar on its own make me think of thyroid deficiency right off the bat; but also, particular sugary foods that are craved (matched with particular types of behaviour) can indicate parasites. Cravings for things like chocolate (again, in light of other behaviours exhibited) can indicate a need for the substance itself or a deficiency in specific minerals. It all depends on more than just one individual thing, you can't always just determine what's taking place from looking at one symptom out of context. Generally, I consider what people crave as a means of determining not only what's going on nutritionally, hormonally, or systemically, but also what is being reflected in those choices in terms of psyche. A person who craves ice to crunch on, crispy foods like potato chips, nut brittle, and even hard dark chocolate to crunch on might very well also display a great deal of anger in their interactions with other people, or in response to problematic realities in their lives. Similarly, a person who craves fatty, sweet, rich foods really feels the need for comfort, support, and a desire to be "safe"--a need for a type of deep nurturance on all levels, and they will often act this out throughout their interactions and relationships.

All levels--psychological, emotional, mental, spiritual, physiological--are reflected in these seemingly meaningless and seemingly "controllable" symptoms.
I love that I came in here to ask a question about vaginal health, and the first words I see in the thread are "the vagina..." Heh.

Pardon me for not reading back in the archives to see if this has been covered, but I have a question that I'm hoping someone can answer. I hope this is the appropriate place - if not, maybe someone can re-direct me.

I just finished a double-round of antibiotics (AB) last weekend. When I get AB, I always ask for Diflucan.* One pill is generally supposed to cure yeast infection, but not always. So, the doc gave me 2 extra refills "just in case."

I finished the last AB last Sunday, and sure enough, the first signs of a yeast infection appeared Monday morning. I took the Diflucan. It said on the package that the medication stays working in your system for 5 days. But I still have itching and "cheese." It's a pretty mild case (considering the 2nd AB round was Cipro), but it's still annoying, and I want it gone.

So basically - sorry this is so long - I'm wondering if anyone has any experience on how long you should wait before getting Diflucan refilled?

*I'm not into Monistat or any other suppository method, not even yogurt (even though my own doctor recommends putting yogurt on a tampon and shoving it up yer cooch!)...though yes, I am *eating* yogurt.

Thanks in advance for your help!
eating yogurt is not all that effective in replenishing bacteria in the colon, unfortunately. taking an enteric-coated probiotic supplement and adding freshly ground flax seeds to your diet should get you on the right track. you can insert an acipohilus capsule into your vag if you like, that might offer some immediate relief.
there's a yeast thread too, those girls prolly have lots of good home remedies.
i agree chachaheels. it is not just a feminist issue either. i believe women need to take ownership of their own health and part of it is learning about your vagina. it seems most women choose certain forms of bc 'cause they don't want to be bothered. i've had some friends who won't use certain types of barrier devices because they don't want to put their fingers inside of themselves. my first response, "well, you let someone put his dick in you." women still get disgusted by their own vaginas. makes me think of that sex and the city episode where charlotte never looked at her vagina.

omg. that thing about sweet foods is so me. mainly with the fatty, sugary things...yeah...i need alot of comfort emotionally. and i knew about the crunchy thing being related to anger. i guess i'm wondering why i still crave the fatty sugary things...but, i know it is the reason you said and i'm going through alot of stress right now. makes alot of sense.
i must just be such a whack-job. crunchy foods delight me, like total child-like sweet happy dee-lite.
and i've had my own hand in my cootch. no joke.
Doodle, aside from using probiotic suppositories to counteract the yeast overgrowth, about the only thing that can take care of the damage done by the anti-biotic is boric acid. It's been used for a long time to treat yeast infections and other acute infections in the vagina. You can find boric acid suppositories at a compound pharmacy--they're usually made up for you, 12 to a package, 600g. boric acid per suppository.

You buy one or two threads of the suppositories (start with one) and use one or two a day for about 10 to 14 days--that's the standard dose. That's it. It's not for long term use, you'll probably need to wear a panty liner to bed because the discharge will increase at first (ALWAYS a good sign--never suppress a discharge!) and then the boric acid will help your own body do its job of curing itself.

Try to avoid anti-biotics of any kind in the future, or at least make sure you get an intensive pre and probiotic supplement to take before, during, and after taking the anti-biotics (and by intense, I mean more than 12 billion live organisms plus a sufficient amount of fructo-oligo-saccharides as well). Most MDs now just send their patients to get this when they send their patients out to get their anti-biotic prescriptions filled: a really good one I recommend specifically for yeast problems like yours is Genestra HMF Replete sachets. You take these orally following the onset of the yeast infection after the use of anti-biotics, once a day for 7 days. It's pricey (compared with other probiotics), but it works. You should be able to find this at a health food store or pharmacy that carries practitioner-driven lines of supplements.

Diflucan, I think everyone will agree, is ultimately not effective. It just temporarily suppresses the yeast overgrowth. When the yeast overcomes the diflucan's anti-fungal properties, it comes back with increased virulence. Trying to kill it, without changing the body's own ability to maintain a suitable internal balance on its own, is just a futile battle.

erinjane, I checked out the vagina pagina live joural... neat place!! It's great idea. Unfortunately I wasn't able to find/access the pictures, though. I added vaginapagina as a friend on my LJ... could you tell me how to navigate to the pictures from the main vagpag page, instead of the link? (The link wasn't giving me access.) Thanks!
I think you have to add yourself to the community from the info page, not just friend it. Once you do that the link should bring you straight there. Otherwise the main page at has different sections down the left side. Look under "VP Resources" and it's the third link down.
Hey, thanks for your help, everyone! I was really interested in the scrip question, though. Just phoned the pharmacist to explain the sitch and get her input. She said b/c of the antibiotics, it IS different than other yeast infections, so it *might* need a second dose. Basically, she felt if it was bad enough for me to try now, go ahead and refill the scrip, but if I could wait it out two or three more days, it might not come to that. Which is kind of what I'd guessed, but I wasn't sure. It's not raging, so I decided I'll wait out the two or three days, then decide.

I do know my body pretty well, so I always ask for Diflucan when I get antibiotics (both of which are rare needs for me). Honestly, it is the proven best method for me. Also, I had no choice on the antibiotics, since it was a potentially deadly bacterial infection. As much as it pains me to say it (especially as a radical feminist), sometimes pharmaceuticals can be the best solution, depending on the person and the problem.

Anyway, thanks again!
Is is possible to be allergic to silicone? Not liquid silicone, like breast implant silicone, but solid silicone?

I wear one of these every night for my snoring. It's got silicone that's molded to my teeth, which is then attached to hard plastic in the middle for stability. I've had it for a couple of years, but I've only been wearing it regularly for a couple of months because my snoring was bothering my boyfriend.

Everything was okay (not great- it's kind of uncomfortable) until last week when the area around my lips, but on the inside of my mouth got all irritated and puffy. At first I thought it was just from being rubbed up against the appliance all night (but it was weird that it took a couple of months for that to happen), and my mouth was really dry around the front of my teeth for a couple of days. I've been using Biotene mouthwash for a few days and it's better, but the area itches and there's little bumps, like a rash. It still feels kinda raw, like when you scrape the inside of your mouth. The inside of mouth doesn't look redder or anything, but it does hurt when I eat acidic food like OJ or tomatoes.

I can't tell if it's an allergic reaction (I know there's some stuff you can gradually develop an allergy to after being exposed to over time, like latex or certain chemicals- except for issues with liquid latex, I always thought silicone was one of those safe, hypo-allergenic substances, like stainless steel- I could be totally wrong, though) or it's as a result of being rubbed against the thing, but why wouldn't it have happened sooner?
Sorry for barging in but I need to know when to take a pregnancy test. My last period was only 2 weeks ago but it was light and only lasted a day, whereas normally my periods are 2 days, sometimes 3. I'm kind of alarmed because I've heard you can be pregnant and still get pseudo-periods. Is that correct? Is it too soon for me to take a test?

I don't think I've subjected myself to a huge risk, but I'm also not on any hormonal birth control. I do NOT want to be pregnant and if I am I want to know ASAP. The sooner I can start making arrangements for it to vacate the premises, the better...
I don't think it is too soon for you to take a pregnancy test. The home pregnancy tests can tell you as early as the first day of the missed period. So don't wait any longer. It could be pregnancy, but a missed period or a period with very scant bleeding can be the result of recent changes in routines, added stress, etc. Best to just get a test and find out for sure.

Pollystyrene the symptoms of the effects of silicone in the body are numerous, and they do include symptoms in the mouth but these are usually more like abscesses than they are like rashes. It sounds like there may be contact sensitivity and inflammation from wearing the mouth piece, which could be from the exposure and friction of the silicone parts as well as sensitivity to any of the metals which might be in the piece as well (if there are any metal parts).

As for why things are happening now instead of earlier--again, it could be the silicone, which always acts very slowly in the body. It's possible it could be the cause but there's no way to tell from here. It could easily be a combination of things that you never reacted to in the past, and suddenly developed susceptibility towards (so think back to when the symptoms came on, and what was happening in your life at the time for some clues).

Have you stopped wearing the piece, and has that actually made the irritation calm down? Or does it persist even though you've stopped using it at night?
my apologies for barging in here, too. i have a heart related question. actually, i'm not sure if it's my heart, but i'm guessing it's so. sometimes i feel a fluttery feeling in the middle of my chest (i'm not sure if it's in the exact centre or if it's to the left), for a few seconds, if that. then it feels like i have to cough and it feels a little itchy. does that make sense? i had that feeling today, and i can't remember the last time i had it, but it was recent, because i remember being a little concerned about it.

i also suffer a little from anxiety and panic attacks, though i haven't had one of those in a while. i just read on a health website that sometimes that can affect the rhythm of the heart.

just curious if anyone has felt anything similar or knows a bit about heart flutters - if this is what this is!

i'm going to try to make an appointment with a doctor...

The fluttery feeling could be nothing, but it could also be any number of things. It's too general a symptom to consider just by describing it, so you really should go and tell a doctor about it--particularly when it comes on, what it feels like, how long it lasts whenever you experience it, and whether or not you get any other symptoms with it (like the "cough" sensation you describe--do you actually cough, or experience any changes in your ability to breathe?). Also important to note would be any changes you've experienced in your energy levels lately, as sometimes, heart "flutters" or changes in heartbeat rate can result from things you wouldn't expect to be connected (like hyperthyroidism).

Anxiety and panic attacks can definitely change the rhythm of the heart while they're going on, but I don't think it's common that the changes they bring on become permanent. The best thing to do is find out if everything is OK with you, and have the doctor do a little physical and blood tests to rule out anything serious.
Not pregnant! I couldn't wipe the grin off my face for an hour.
yay! Glad to hear it, hellotampon. BTW- I laughed about "making arrangements for it to vacate the premises."
QUOTE(ambercherry @ Dec 28 2006, 07:05 PM) *

my apologies for barging in here, too. i have a heart related question. actually, i'm not sure if it's my heart, but i'm guessing it's so. sometimes i feel a fluttery feeling in the middle of my chest (i'm not sure if it's in the exact centre or if it's to the left), for a few seconds, if that. then it feels like i have to cough and it feels a little itchy. does that make sense? i had that feeling today, and i can't remember the last time i had it, but it was recent, because i remember being a little concerned about it.

i also suffer a little from anxiety and panic attacks, though i haven't had one of those in a while. i just read on a health website that sometimes that can affect the rhythm of the heart.

just curious if anyone has felt anything similar or knows a bit about heart flutters - if this is what this is!

i'm going to try to make an appointment with a doctor...

cut down on the energy drinks and caffeine ...they could be making you have a few premature ventricular contractions which is what it sounds like...harmless unless you have long runs of them...15-20 bet would be to let your MD check it out...good luck
QUOTE(_octinoxate @ Dec 29 2006, 11:41 PM) *

yay! Glad to hear it, hellotampon. BTW- I laughed about "making arrangements for it to vacate the premises."

well I don't allow trespassing in my uterus!
QUOTE(chachaheels @ Dec 27 2006, 04:50 AM) *

Pollystyrene the symptoms of the effects of silicone in the body are numerous, and they do include symptoms in the mouth but these are usually more like abscesses than they are like rashes. It sounds like there may be contact sensitivity and inflammation from wearing the mouth piece, which could be from the exposure and friction of the silicone parts as well as sensitivity to any of the metals which might be in the piece as well (if there are any metal parts).

As for why things are happening now instead of earlier--again, it could be the silicone, which always acts very slowly in the body. It's possible it could be the cause but there's no way to tell from here. It could easily be a combination of things that you never reacted to in the past, and suddenly developed susceptibility towards (so think back to when the symptoms came on, and what was happening in your life at the time for some clues).

Have you stopped wearing the piece, and has that actually made the irritation calm down? Or does it persist even though you've stopped using it at night?

Sorry I didn't reply earlier- I kept meaning to stop in! Until this week I did continue to wear the appliance. Even though I was wearing it, it had begun to calm down a little- I didn't have the itchy feeling, my mouth didn't feel as dry. I haven't used the Biotene in awhile, and my mouth is only slightly sensitive to acidic foods (not quite back to where it was before all of this started, but not as bad as a week and a half ago).

I haven't worn it since Sunday night, and my lips still feel kinda puffy, but no rash or anything. Le Boy is on vacation this week, so I haven't been wearing it, since he can sacrifice a little sleep. I'm going to have to start wearing it again when he has to go back to work next week, though.

Besides having the lip irritation, having my teeth locked in place all night is really uncomfortable, and this week, since I stopped wearing it, my lower jaw has been all funky- I think it got so used to not having to support itself that, and this is just my theory, the muscles weakened so now it hurts to not wear the thing. This sucks.

Hopefully, soon I'll get a new job and dental insurance, then I can get a new appliance. There's one called Aveo TSD that doesn't fit over your teeth- it's like a little cup that suctions to the end of your tongue, then there's little panels that come off of it that sit on the outside of your teeth, so you're sort of biting the tip of your tongue, but it won't slide back. That feels like a more natural position for my mouth. Part of the problem is that I have a small mouth and this thing is just too bulky.

I had a urine test done for a drug test that I had to take for a new job.

When the Dr. gave me the results he said I had high levels of ketones in my urine and that I was posioning my body.

What causes the ketones? (I have been reading about it a little online, and what I read said that it is used in Atkins diet and people think its good)

Can taking too many vitamins cause this?

Also, he said I had anemeia (sp is all jakk'd up) why did I get that?

I admit that I have probably the worst diet that one can imagine....Daily foods always include candy, chips, juice, pop, FRIED food, take out 4 to 5 times a week, food prepared at home is always premade that needs to be baked in the oven, or those stir fry things. I always have to have extra sauces, seasonings, etc. No fruits or veggies...No water either unless the water from pop and juice counts...I do have milk, when there are no groceries I'm on a cereal diet and I always drink the rest of the milk after I finish my cereal.
(I know my habits are all wrong, but for some reason I don't have the discipline to turn it around. Esp. since the way I eat does not effect my weight)

I am always tired and have no energy (I attribute that to poor diet also, but even thats not enough to train myself to eat better) Even though in the New Year I am supposed to be eating healthy. I spent $250 on fresh fruits, vegetables, wheat stuff, and all the things that are supposed to be good or healthy, yet I have yet to touch any of that stuff yet and am still going out spending more money on takeout...

(I guess I rationalize this all out in my mind two ways, food is my "addiction". I eat it because I love how it tastes. I love food. And also because I am a grown woman and can shop in the juniors department.

(But the ketones thing is freaking me help!)
Hey, Polly, it's kind of random, but what you're describing sounds like thrush... an oral yeast infection. Nursing babes get it a lot, and your symptoms sound similar. Try boiling your piece, and cutting out excess sugar & wheat for a few days (yeah, I know)....

FS, I had high ketones when I was preggers... it means that your body's not getting the nutrients it needs from the food you eat, and is McGyvering your system in an attempt to survive. The anaemia is from a crap diet, as well. Vitamins will only top you up - they can't replace good eating...

Start slow (no more $250 trips to the GC) - just get a few bags of baby carrots, apples, bananas, fresh stuff that's easy to eat out of hand that you can grab. When you order out, ask for extra veggies, & get the sauce on the side. Skip the pop, and try juice & seltzer...
Having high levels of ketones in your urine means you are in ketosis. This is NOT a bad thing, necessarily, in fact it's a stage that's part of normal metabolism. In the process, which creates ketone bodies, the body is actually breaking down stored fats to use to create "it's own glucose", if you will, for energy. The ketones are used everywhere in the body for energy, but they are especially essential to the neurons and red blood cells, which use the ketones exclusively for energy. So ketones are actually vital for cell health, and they're not necessarily indicative of something bad. (Tart, unless you were severely undernourished, I'd say the ketosis you experienced in pregnancy could very well have been your body producing the absolute best form of energy available for brain and nerve cell production in your baby--high cholesterol levels in pregnant and nursing women also serve this purpose as well, so your body was not really "McGyvering" so much as being extremely efficient in trying to create the best baby brain possible. Ketones are actually immediately used by babies as a form of energy--it's the best they can get).

Extra ketone bodies that can't be used in this breakdown are usually excreted in the breath (which will smell like acetone, or nail polish remover when the body is trying to remove them) or in the urine. This is another one of those excellent reasons to drink a lot of water when you're dieting--it will help flush the excess ketones from your system, which does mean you don't have to "work off" that energy with even more exercise.

Usually, ketones are produced when you change your diet from one that is rich in sugars and carbohydrates to one that eliminates many of these macronutrients from the diet. Ketosis happens when your liver breaks down fat to create energy, in a process called lipolysis (which literally means "fat breaking"), when the body isn't using the glucose from sugars and carbohydrates as energy sources (which you've taken pains to remove--as in the Protein Power diet, the Atkins diet, and if you really want to go back into history to when the "diet" was first written about, all the way back to Banting in Sweden, over 200 years ago).

So, as for the cause of ketosis--removing all refined sugars and carbohydrates from the diet, and keeping the insulin levels low and stable, for the most part, will force the body to utilized stored fat for energy instead of the glucose provided more immediately by the sugary/starchy foods you might have eaten before making the change, which puts you in ketosis. The body will then use up its fat stores and not its protein mass as a source of energy, which is all desirable, really. It is never caused by the use of vitamin supplements, and generally, ketosis is not a sign that you've "poisoned" your body. But I know why your doc may have said this: there are still a lot of uninformed doctors out there who believe that ketosis is a sign of pathology under all circumstances, and this idea has recently been challenged and dismissed as faulty.

However: if you're eating glucose rich foods and maintain a diet that is highly glycemic (meaning you eat a lot of sugary foods and refined starchy foods) yet you still produce excess ketones, then something's not right. Chances are, in that case, that the sugary food intake AND the ketosis may indicate a diabetic tendency. You'd need to have a blood test to test for the pH of the blood as well as for blood sugar; and you will need to change your diet in order to reverse this.

If ketosis isn't produced by sugar avoidance, it can be an indicator of starvation, as in, the body's breaking down fat stores only because it has to, for survival (as it often does in anorexics, or in people who've lost tremendous amounts of weight during fasts or extended dieting plans involving small amounts of food). It depends on who experiences the ketosis, and under what circumstances. An overweight person on the Atkins diet who experiences ketosis while avoiding the sugary foods is actually doing great, without risk of "starvation" because the Atkins diet provides a sufficient amount of fat and a much more "normal" and rational number of actual daily calories in its plan. A person who, say, has been put on a drastic low fat, low carb diet with highly restricted caloric intake (say, a 500 calorie a day diet) for an extended period of time will experience ketosis as well, but once the fat stores have been depleted and ketosis continues, the body will actually be starving since dietary fats and sugars are not being made part of the long term diet plan (this explains why the metabolism slows right down for these people, and they begin to gain weight even on such an insignificant amount of food).

Ketosis can become severe and cause a condition called Ketoacidosis, which actually acidifies or lowers the blood pH to less than 7.2. Ketoacidosis is caused by diabetes, and comes as a result of having too much sugar in the blood and not enough insulin (or not enough sensitivity to insulin in the body's receptors). These two conditions are often confused, but there's a big difference between them, so you have to make sure you're clear about what's actually going on with you.

Why do you have anemia? Well, there are all kinds of reasons for that, including everything from heredity to diet to external conditions which may have an effect on your body's ability to store and eliminate iron. But you can generally "treat" anemia not by supplementing with Iron, but by supplementing with good quality B vitamins as well as from adding specific fats and foods to your diet. Anemias come in all kinds of variations, too--find out what you've got exactly.

Polystyrene, I have a feeling the mouth guard you've got is one of those "one size fits all" variants that may not actually fit you at all, for whatever reason (sometimes the concept itself just doesn't work well--it's a big block of plastic, dammit! How can everyone be okay with that?). I hope you're able to get one of the new mouthguards you described, they sound a whole lot more comfortable and natural to me.
Tart, I was worried about thrush too, for the first few days- my mom had it a few months ago, so I knew all about it. That's why I was using the Biotene- for my dry mouth and to restore the balance in my mouth. But now a lot of the irritation is gone- I'm sure it will come back next week when I have to wear the thing every night again, though..... can thrush start to happen, and then go away? I'm just thinking that with all sweet stuff I was eating around Xmas, that would make sense that it started to happen, but I never got the yogurt-y tongue ickiness or the yogurt-y breath.

Yeah, I don't know if the appliance comes in more than one size. You'd think an unfortunate side effect of the rising rates of obese children would mean more sizes in snore/apnea devices.
They usually take a cast of your mouth and make the appliance to fit you--at least, they used to. If they really are making "one size fits all" appliances now, it would be hard to fit most people. Faces, palates, teeth, dental archs--they all seem so individual, and I can imagine that any deviation would be really, really uncomfortable, especially if sleep's concerned. I think you're right in believing the other design would be more comfy and just as effective, and I hope your wish for access to dental care comes true soon, Pollystyrene.

It does sound like thrush could be a problem too--tart's advice is good (try the boiling advice if the sugar avoidance puts you off!).
i have an unusual question...

why is your own body odor (ahem, etc.) not offensive when other people's is?
i noticed a funny thing when my son was breastfeeding, his poops and stuff didn't smell stinky ick to me either. it wasn't until he stopped breastfeeding entirely that he got p.u. to me. isn't that funny?
I read this book by Diane Ackerman years ago, called A Natural History of the Senses. She writes about how the brain actually developed out of our sense of smell, in her words, "We smell, therefore we think" (to paraphrase). She makes a good argument for the idea that this sense was (and is) so fundamental to our survival that the entire brain developed out of the olfactory nerves.

One thing about our sense of smell is that it is selective in sensitivity. Notice how, when you're in the throes of passion or sex, you don't smell things like your lover's breath, which is probably enriched with cigarettes, food, alcohol, coffee, whatever? That's because we stop being sensitive to each other's scent during that part of the sexual interaction (or we'd probably never get together). There's probably a lot of truth in the idea that our baby's poop isn't that offensive to us especially during the breastfeeding time. They're really still part of mom (after all, the breasts just take over the job the placenta did...Technically, baby and mom are still very much connected). After that time, though, baby becomes his/her own person, with his/her own processes and smells. You probably don't smell baby's offensiveness just long enough so he can stay alive long enough to become viable on his own, while you're bonding with him. After that, he's stinky, but you love him, so you'll put up with it. So I really do think it's nature's way of making sure mommas look after their stinky babies, too.
One thing I'd advise if you're considering replacing the xanax with something more natural is to work with someone with expertise in botanical medicines (so, an herbalist) as well as someone with expertise in holistic or naturopathic nutrition.

It would be ideal if you could find a "specialist" in each modality because it isn't common to find someone with equal amounts of experience and knowledge in both areas. Valerian's quite a useful herb if you're restless and too wound up to sleep, if it's used for a limited time. As with any herb, too much of the herb at any one time, or use of the herb for what turns out to be a prolonged amount of time, will cause the symptoms you wish to stop. When you work with an herbalist, however, they can prepare mixtures of herbs, monitor dosages to help you come off the xanax (you can't just stop using it--and your MD should be the one who weans you off the xanax) and change the herbs you're taking so that you can continue to get well without aggravation. Herbalists provide case management, which is vital (it greatly improves your chances of restoring your health with herbs). When herbs are just purchased over the counter and their use isn't monitored by someone who can be objective about their effect on you, they can't really be effective and can often (most often) just do harm.

Nutrition therapy is also an excellent support both to help change the dependency on xanax, provide your body with the nutrients it needs to address many of the issues you've been taking xanax to treat, and ensure the best nourishment for your body so that you can become pregnant and carry the pregnancy through to birth (though the benefits to you and your baby won't stop at that point).

Sometimes you can find an especially well trained and experienced ND who can use both modalities in your case with equal skill--these people are hard to find, but they're out there. If you want, I can list the types of certifications to look for when you're trying to choose a practitioner to work with--accreditations and regulating bodies in your area who can recommend practitioners who've met their standards.

I also have to suggest finding a qualified classical homeopath, because homeopathy's extremely effective in the treatment of emotional/mental ailments such as the anxiety and depression you're talking about. Since homeopaths address these symptoms in every single case (as well as the physical symptoms in each case as well) you may find that it's the simplest and most effective method for you, safe to use throughout your pregnancy (again, under the care of a qualified classical homeopath!) and in the long run, a lot less work for you. Some NDs choose classical homeopathy as a specialty during their training, and receive specific accreditation in this field (and this is how you can tell which NDs are actually trained in homeopathic medicine, and which ones aren't--it's a very different medical system from other types of alternative medicine, and it requires long term training and clinical experience to do well, something not all NDs wish to devote time to. Anyway, if you receive coverage for care from NDs in your insurance plan, this can help make homeopathy more financially accessible to you). I can also help you find someone well trained and qualified who practices close to where you are if you like--just say so here.
And I sent a PM out to you in response--hope it finds you!
Just wanted to pop in and say I had my question from last month answered (so that if anyone else has the same thing happen, they can use the info)... I had been asking about if it's normal for your girly bits (by which I mean vulva... why do I use these euphemisms?) to go darker pink/reddish for a bit, in this case, just after getting your period. Chacha had suggested that it may just be normal hormonal changes. Turns out in this particular case, it was an under-the-radar, otherwise unsymptomatic yeast infection.
So the skin discolouration turned out be be because of a low level inflammation? Hmm.
Good to know it's a possibility (and sorry I missed that call, octi!) Hope you're getting some relief for it.
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