Haley Jakobson's battle with chronic yeast infections - picture of vulva salve on the beach

My Battle With Chronic Yeast Infections & the Magic Vagina Potion That Gave Me Total Bodily Autonomy

words by Haley Jakobson (she/her)

A yeast infection ruined the Lizzie McGuire movie for me. What should have been, and was for many, the most exciting day of a 10 year old’s life, all I can really remember is feeling unbearably itchy and uncomfortable, my legs squeezing together as I resisted the urge to claw at my own vagina. 

On Halloween a few years earlier, I snuck so much candy — a yeast infection’s lifeblood — that my father found me writhing on the floor of our basement, after having downed a liter of water in ten minutes because it was the only thing that appeased the burning fire of nature’s cottage cheese destroying my cotton underwear. My sweet dad had to carry me to the bathtub, and even at eight years old, I was so embarrassed that I couldn’t “control” my own body.

Drinking gallons of water, taking lukewarm baths, and eating no sugar or bread were the only recommendations the specialist my mom took me to could give me. Because I was a child, I wasn’t allowed to use Monistat or the holy grail of yeast infection medications: the Diflucan pill.

When you have chronic yeast infections, you become obsessed with thinking about your vagina. In the middle of class, if I felt the slightest tingle, I would panic. Did I eat too many Sour Patch kids at the sleepover last weekend? Wear spandex shorts for too long? Miss my probiotic two mornings ago? Or, the most deadly risk of all, did I forget to wipe front to back? It’s hard enough for a teenager to love their ~blossoming body~ and harder still when you feel like your vagina has already betrayed you.

When I was finally old enough to be prescribed antifungal creams and Diflucan, I rejoiced. Finally, a cure! Little did I know that Monistat is like holding a lighter to your labia and Diflucan is easier to get on the deep web than have a gyno prescribe it to you. And even when they do, the spiel they have to give you about the potential side effects of the antibiotic — basically, like, death, lol — makes you feel like you’re taking your vagina skydiving with no promise that your vulva parachute is going to inflate.

The process of getting the meds was insane — the cottage cheese inspection followed by an invasive swab for proof which is ridiculous because, again, there was clearly a farm-to-underwear situation in my pants.



The process of getting the meds was insane — the cottage cheese inspection followed by an invasive swab for proof which is ridiculous because, again, there was clearly a farm-to-underwear situation in my pants.

My mom had to beg the doctor for extra pills, and we would hoard them, only taking them if I was at the point of no return. But it was worth it. The Diflucan was a miracle, because within 24 hours, my yeast infection would disappear.

I have literally no shame in telling you that there was a time in my life where I would have sold my soul to the devil for an unlimited supply of those pills. Especially when I started having sex.

Any foreign object that made its way into my vagina immediately gave me a yeast infection. Penis with condom? Yeast infection. Penis without condom (okay, we were all stupid once)? Yeast infection. Fingers? Yeast infection. Tongue? Yeast infection. Strap-on? Yeast infection. Scissoring? Yeast infection. 



READ MORE: How to Soothe & Prevent Pain During & After Sex



Having sex with new partners was a minefield. Having to think about the consequence of intimacy with a new person made sex difficult and hard to enjoy, because I was hyper-conscious of “contamination.” If you’ve ever screamed “IS THAT THE SAME FINGER YOU TOUCHED MY BUTT WITH?!” during sex, you know it doesn’t exactly enhance the mood. 

There was, however, a turning point.

Picture this gorgeous scene: I’m in Greece, reunited with my long-distance boyfriend, and we’re in bed. It’s the middle of the day, the ocean breeze is blowing through the sea-facing window of our Airbnb. He’s crouched between my legs, spooning sugar-free yogurt into my vagina. That’s right, I had one of the worst yeast infections of my life because I hadn’t fucked my boyfriend in six months. It almost ruined the trip. I could barely leave our bathtub. Until something miraculous happened: I learned I didn’t need a prescription to get an antibiotic. I could just waltz into the pharmacy, no stirrups or swabs, and pick up the pills. 

I was elated, and then I was enraged. Why the fuck did I have to go through hell to take care of my own body in the States? For the first time, I felt total bodily autonomy when it came to my yeast infections. It was no different than picking up some Advil —
shame-free and low stakes

After I got home and my stash of Greek meds ran out, I refused the exams. I wouldn’t even go in to see my doctor. I told them that I knew my body, knew what was wrong with me, and that it was crazy to have to get an exam when this stuff was over-the-counter in Europe. I knew the side effects and risks, and my medical history was more than enough proof that I needed the medication. And shockingly, that worked.

For a couple of years, I was able to get my prescription relatively hassle-free. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling that it was totally unfair that there wasn’t something better out there, that I had to take a really intense pill a couple times a year, and that I had to wait until my infection was unbearable to even take it. 



For the first time in twenty years, I felt almost instant relief from something other than medication.


When I started dating my current partner two summers ago, I really fell off the vulva hygiene wagon. We were falling love, in the stifling hot Brooklyn summer heat (a lethal combination of fluids), and the sex was so good that I let some butt-to-vagina cross contamination slide. You can guess what happened next: a double fucking whammy, a raging yeast infection AND
bacterial vaginosis. Oopsie

But this time, I tried something different. A friend had mentioned a local holistic company called Momotaro Apotheca, that apparently had this
magic vagina potion that helped yeast infections. Normally, I wouldn’t have fallen for that. I’m an ex-yoga teacher that is very jaded when it comes to wellness culture. I wasn’t about to be Goop-duped if I could help it. But I was love-drunk and that tricked my skepticism into optimism and so I bought the stuff — this miracle salve that could supposedly soothe my poor vagina, and even get rid of my yeast infection all together. Yeah, right

really — yeah…right. As in, the Salve fucking worked. For the first time in twenty years, I felt almost instant relief from something other than medication. It smelled good. It felt good. It was in pretty packaging, and it made me feel like I had another step in my skincare routine and not like I was a slave to Big Pharma. I truly couldn’t believe it. 

Two years later, I have yet to take Diflucan again. At the slightest sign of a vagina-tingle, I hop into the safety of my own bathroom and grab the Salve from my shelf. 

I am no longer filled with panic or dread, and though I am still known to scream “NO BUTTHOLE FINGER” at my partner sometimes, I don’t immediately start drafting an email in my head to my doctor. Instead, I apply the Salve as a precaution, and go to sleep knowing I’ll be absolutely fine. 

To be able to pack the Salve in my go-bag for trips, to know there’s no obstacle to feeling better, and to finally see that I’m really not alone in this struggle — it has been life changing. It makes me feel empowered, autonomous, and shame-free. So sometimes my vagina thinks it’s a charcuterie board. Who cares, I live in Brooklyn, I’m quirky

The best part? I can finally watch the Lizzie Mcguire movie in peace.

Related Reading 

3 Must Reads on Bacterial Vaginosis

What You Should Know About Yeast Infections

Is it Possible to Prevent Infection and Irritation — For Good 

Decode Your Vaginal Discharge

A Complete Overview of Vaginitis: Comparing UTIs, BV, and Yeast Infections


Meet the Author

Haley JakobsonPortrait on Grey Background

Haley Jakobson (she/her) is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York. In her work, Haley explores mental health and wellness, queerness, sex and trauma, and bodies. A poet in the digital era, Haley reaches an audience of 20k readers on her instagram page @haleyjakobson. Haley is the co-founder and Artistic Director of Brunch Theatre Company, an inclusive platform for emerging theatre artists. She self-published her first book of poetry, Write Like Prayers, in 2017 (all existing copies sold). Haley’s first novel, Old Enough, will be published in 2022. She is a Gemini and, yes, that does matter. 



Momotaro Apotheca and its materials are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. 
All material on Momotaro Apotheca is provided for educational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition. 



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1 comment

Yes! Beautifully written and I can unfortunately relate to all the awful parts of it! Fortunately I also relate to finding the salve and finally feeling so much relief! Enjoy the summer – no matter how hot it gets!

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