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Author Topic: cleaning toys
audreytoo
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I'm wondering if my frequent yeast infections are due to the soap my partner has been using to clean our silicone toys?

I'm on my third YI of the year now, again a couple days after we have intercourse using the toy. She washes it with anti-bacterial soap and warm water, which is what the toy company said to use. Is there a gentler type of cleanser that we should switch to instead?

(Just as a reminder, the providers who I've seen for this have ruled out diabetes, other STIs, BV, diet, and other factors in our effort to figure out the cause. The only other thing mentioned was that I do sweat a lot because of a medication I'm on, which could make the area moist and thus more prone - but there isn't anything I can do to fix that so I'm looking into other options)

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Haleigh H
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Audreytoo,

Thanks for posting your question. I've been there and frequent yeast infections can be really frustrating especially if you don't quite know why you are having them.

Here are a couple of posts that I have found really helpful, The Why And How-Not of Yeast Infections and Yeast Infections.

The second post says, "Washing too much, or using harsh soaps on and in the vaginal canal can disrupt the acid balance." It sounds like switching to a scent free, hypoallergenic soap would be a good thing to try.

I hope this is helpful. Let us know if you have any other questions [Big Grin]

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Haleigh

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Karybu
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One other thing you might consider is covering the toy with a condom when you use it. That way, if it is the soap that's an issue, it won't come in contact with your vagina.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Heather
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I'd also add that I'd say antibacterial soap is not a great choice (there's a lot of problematic stuff about anti-bacterial soap, in general). I'd personally suggest something way more mild, like a castille soap.

Mind, none of this may have anything to do with your yeast, but like Karyn said, your best bet in case it does would be to cover the toy with each use if it's shared or NOT to share toys in the first place.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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audreytoo
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Ok will try castille soap. And I never have and never would share toys!

I have an appointment with a different doctor tomorrow (this will be the fifth one I've seen about the yeast so am curious to hear if she says anything different from the other 4!)

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Heather
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My personal advice, if you want it, is that if you haven't tried seeing someone outside the standard western healthcare system yet, and have the ability to see a doctor of chinese medicine or a naturopath, that they're next up.

I'd just say if you keep seeing people working in the same kind of medicine, changes are you've already exhausted the various takes and approaches any of them will ave.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Karybu
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Seconding Heather's suggestion: I have no experience with Chinese medicine, but when I was dealing with chronic yeast, seeing a naturopath was a huge help.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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audreytoo
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Karybu, can I ask what the naturopath suggested? I am not able to afford to visit one at the moment, and I admit I am pretty skeptical of non-Western medicine.
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Karybu
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It was several years ago, so I don't remember all the details, but the first thing I was told to do was keep a food diary for a few weeks, and she gave me a full physical exam like you'd get from any Western healthcare provider, blood tests and urine tests and everything. (This was in Canada, so the regulations around who can do what may differ from the US, but there naturopaths can do the same basic healthcare as MDs.)

After looking at what my eating habits were like, she then put me on a very restricted diet, partly to help control the yeast but also in part to check for underlying food allergies. I was limited to a LOT of fresh vegetables, minimal fruit, no wheat or wheat products, no sugar, no dairy, no caffeine, no alcohol, no red meat, no soy, no peanuts, no preserved anything. I also took lots of different supplements, way upped my water intake, and used some sort of natural vaginal suppository (I can't for the life of me remember what was in it). In addition, I stopped using any kind of hormonal birth control - up to that point I'd been using the NuvaRing for several months. Within a week, aside from the wicked awful caffeine-withdrawal headaches, I was feeling a lot better, and after a month, when I started reintroducing foods like wheat, rye, barley and fruit, I was back to normal. I haven't had a yeast infection, or any kind of vaginal infection, since then, and that was about seven years ago.

I totally understand your skepticism, and I was totally in the same boat, but I was getting desperate because I literally had a 24/7 yeast infection, no treatments were working, and it had gone on for so long that I'd developed lichen sclerosus. At the time, I was finishing university and waiting for an appointment with a specialist in Vancouver, but one of the drawbacks of a public healthcare system is that non-urgent referrals can take months, so I decided there wasn't any harm in trying something else while I waited.

Is my experience going to be the same as everyone else's? Not at all. (I still, to be honest, think that Western medicine is the way to go for most health issues, but it's pretty clear that food has a massive impact on us, moreso than people often realize, and naturopaths are trained to see a health problem as part of an entire lifestyle, diet included, not just a collection of symptoms.) There's no guarantee that it will work for everyone, and it's a really tough diet plan to stick to - especially making sure you get enough calories - but trying it out for a few weeks isn't going to do you any harm, so if you want, it's worth a try. There are plenty of resources on the web regarding how to do the "candida diet" if you're curious, and the kinds of supplements and such that can help.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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audreytoo
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Hi Karybu - thanks for the detailed response. I've heard of the candida diet, and unfortunately I don't think it would be an option for me as I am currently recovering from an ED where I used to restrict food categories. (I see a therapist and part of my treatment is learning that there are no "bad" or off-limit foods and to eat what I crave when I'm hungry). That diet sounds like it would really interfere with my recovery and even 3 weeks could throw me off badly : (

Also, I take low-dose hormonal birth control pills to suppress my period. I am open to stopping those but only if there is another way to get rid of the period (My ED actually started because I knew I could stop menstruating if I got to a low enough weight). Does taking the pill continuously cause yeast? My doctors have never mentioned that. I'm genderqueer, and menstruating causes severe gender dysphoria for me (to the point of suicidal thoughts).

I'm feeling super depressed lately because it seems like there are no solutions out there for someone in my situation!

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Karybu
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I'm sorry, I should have checked your posting history - I recall you mentioning before about your struggle with an ED. So, no, the candida diet would probably not be a good choice for you.

Unfortunately, I don't really have any other suggestions, because coming off the pill would probably not be a good choice for you either (although I'm surprised that none of the providers you've seen have mentioned that hormonal birth control can contribute to vaginal infections because of the changes it causes to cervical mucus and discharge). However, Heather or one of the other volunteers might have some more to contribute, and hopefully you find a solution soon.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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Heather
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Alas, eating disorders are also often linked with yeast. (And, like Karyn said, so are oral contraceptives.)

I wonder if the doctor you're seeing for your ED, and any doctor you're seeing about the yeast have gotten in touch with each other? In other words, have they been able to consult together, so that everyone involved around this has the whole picture of your health history and current issues?

If not, I'd suggest that: with this next doctor you see, I'd give them the name of the doctor for your ED and ask if they might be able to talk together to jointly consult on this. It might help.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Also, as something that's just one of the can't-hurt-might-help group, there are some foods you CAN eat -- as in, eat as many of these as you want, so this isn't about restriction -- associated in being helpful with managing or reducing chronic yeast.

Those are:
- Probiotic foods like yogurt and kefir
- Citrus fruits, red peppers and other foods with high Vitamin C content (which can help with the physical inflammation involved with yeast)
- Garlic (a natural antibacterial, or, as those of us who are Italian think of it, God. [Razz] )
- Foods high in fatty acids and Omega-3 oils, like flaxseeds, olive oil and salmon
- Grains like brown rice, barley and oats: unprocessed, unrefined grains, in a word.

Obviously, you can check in about any or all of these with any healthcare provider you're seeing.

[ 05-14-2013, 09:28 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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audreytoo
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Thanks Heather, I love most of those foods!

Are there any vitamins or supplements you would recommend? (I currently take a multi-vitamin, cranberry pills, and pro-biotics)

The doctor today also suggested using condoms with the toys (and no sex until I heal) - what brand of condoms is recommended for someone with a sensitive and yeast-prone vagina?

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Heather
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To my knowledge, condoms aren't associated as being an issue with yeast: it's lubricants that can sometimes make people with yeast issues more inclined to infections, namely those with sugars (like some flavored lubes) or high glycerin formulas.

So, per condoms, whatever you find you prefer is likely just fine.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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In terms of what vitamins or supplements, if any, are the right choice for you, this is the place for a nutritionist or naturopath.

I'd just make sure anyone you're seeing knows you're taking the cranberry and the probiotics, since they may or may not suggest you continue, or use both.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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