words by Alysse Dalessandro Santiago (she/her)
Transparency is a really important part of my platform. Whether it is sharing how I made peace with my diabetes diagnosis or talking about pee-proof undies, I try to keep every conversation on the table. There's no shame in caring for your body in the way that feels good to you. Today, I'm going to be sharing how Momotaro's pH balanced vaginal care products have helped me in managing medication side effects and boosting my vaginal wellness.
Finding out I had type 2 diabetes at the age of 28 transformed my life. I was a person who hated taking medication of any kind. I struggled with taking a pill as part of my routine for more than a few days at a time. When I found out I had a chronic illness, I started to make peace that daily medication would be a part of my everyday life moving forward. I bought myself a cute pill case and eventually, I found my groove.
Stress plays a significant role in blood sugar management and I found myself struggling to manage my diabetes while planning a wedding. My doctor added another medication to my routine to supplement what I was already taking. She breezed over the side effects and I didn't think much of it. Shortly after starting this medication, I started to notice vaginal discomfort.
Studies show that people with diabetes, especially those with unstable blood glucose levels, are more likely to get genital tract infections such as yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis. And that's more likely than an already pretty high likelihood; 30% of people with vaginas get BV and 75% will get a yeast infection.
Studies show that people with diabetes, especially those with unstable blood glucose levels, are more likely to get genital tract infections such as yeast infections or BV.
In my case, I can easily trace the changes in my vaginal health back to the introduction of this new medication. Due to the connection of diabetes to genital infections, I convinced myself that was the cause of my discomfort even after MULTIPLE tests over the course of a few months showed I was negative for both a yeast infection and BV.
One night I was watching television and I saw a commercial for that new medication I was taking as I had many times before. You know the part of the commercial where they breeze over the medication side effects while showing someone painting or riding a bike? I listened to that part of the commercial for the first time. That's when I heard that vaginal irritation such as swelling, pain or tenderness of the skin was a side effect of this medication. Everything made sense!
My doctor prescribed a topical cream that my insurance barely covered and didn't really help. Then I discovered Momotaro Apotheca. My story of playing a guessing game with my vaginal health is not unlike the story of Momotaro CEO and co-founder, Lindsay Wynn.
Inspired by her own recurring BV and yeast infections, Lindsay set out to create a solution for herself. Lindsay had found that the potency of over-the-counter and prescription medicines to treat BV were actually causing damage to the friendly bacteria needed to protect the vagina. With her partner's background in biology, they tackled this problem together and Momotaro was born.
Together, they developed the Salve. It's a product that can provide soothing relief to the dryness, itching and irritation while also addressing pH imbalance in the vaginal area. Tea tree is one of the certified organic ingredients and the reason you may feel an instant cooling sensation when you use Salve. This plant-based topical heals organically and only takes a dime size amount applied to the vulva once a day.
While I used Salve in managing my medication side effects, Momotaro also offers an organic Tonic, great for tackling ingrown hairs and can provide moisture to sensitive skin. This product can be applied topically to the skin. You can also add five to ten droppers to a warm bath and soak in the relief!
Hydrosol rounds out the Momotaro family. It's a water soluble toning spray that can provide balance. Whether you are post-sex, post work-out or just feeling irritated, this spray can provide the relief in a spritz—anywhere on your body.
I don't only love Momotaro Apotheca because their products provided so much relief to me—I love what they stand for as a company. I first discovered Momotaro when lesbian trans power couple Jari Jones and Corey Kempster modeled for the brand. The couple remains the brand's profile photo showing their commitment to the LGBTQ+ community not just in June but all year long.
Momotaro's feed is full of aesthetic images that show people of all genders and body sizes. The language on their website isn’t gendered. Rather, there's an inclusive approach towards trans and non-binary folks who ma y have vulvas.
I like that Momotaro is doing the work to not only tackle the stigma in discussing vaginal health but they are also expanding who is included in the conversation. Learn more about how Momotaro is changing the vaginal wellness game and try them for yourself.
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What You Should Know About Yeast Infections
The Bitter Combo of Sugar and Stress
The Intersection of Sexual and Mental Health
The Radical Love and Laughter of Jari Jones and Corey Kempster
Eating Disorders, Anxiety and Depression: What I Learned About the Mind-Body Connection