“I posted a video on TikTok showing several packages of ointment for the treatment of candidiasis, a type of vaginal infection, empty, in a joke. You can even tell by the choice of my audio. I never thought about posting it. It was something very intimate of mine. Not all my family knew what I went through. Now that the video has gone viral, 12 million people have seen it. And I never imagined that so many girls would have had similar experiences to mine.
I was in a relationship for about two years and after four or five months together I started getting repeat thrush. A problem that went on for years, but I could never find a solution. To make matters worse, candidiasis began to be interspersed with vaginosis, an infection that causes itching, pain and a bad smell.
I went to several doctors. I was so desperate that after two months of going to appointments continuously, as soon as a doctor asked me how I felt, I burst into tears. I was desperate. I thought the problem was with me.
The physical complication was shaking my psychological a lot. I became insecure, I had trouble relating. I thought there was something wrong with my body.
My mother even raised the flag that she could be my boyfriend, but I ruled it out right away. I never believed it could be something like this.
As I don’t have health insurance, I made a lot of consultations with private doctors. And treatments are not cheap. Some doctors told me that my boyfriend also needed to do the treatment with me, and he did. All in private doctors that I paid for, for me and for him. I thought he was going through this because of me, I didn’t have the courage to say he needed to pay.
After a while, maintaining the treatment in the private network became unsustainable. My problem was so recurrent that I went to the office twice a month. Doing some quick math, I must have spent more than R$10,000 on treatment in two years, about R$600 a month. It got to the point where the medicines were no longer effective, which made me desperate, and for my pocket it was also complicated.
Then I started the treatment in the public health network. As I continued to seek treatment every 15 days, and to take medication frequently, I didn’t have a specific doctor who followed up on my problem. It was very rotating. Because of the frequency, the doctors took my case to a general group to discuss my health situation. In the end, they ended up sending me to therapy. Another expense that didn’t work. They also told me to do physical exercise, along with the medication. I was full of hope for yoga and nothing. I tried alternative medicine, teas… everything possible.
It is important to make it clear that I did several types of exams during this period, all of them had normal results. And they were frequent: blood tests, colposcopy, pap smears. This made me even more distressed, because I didn’t have an obvious change that could be treated.
I did the recommended treatments, got better for four or five days, and the symptoms returned.
Until, one Easter, I found out I was being betrayed. That’s when my chip dropped. Despite ending our relationship, we continued to see each other eventually for another six months. I was hoping we could get back together, but I ended up finding out he already had someone else.
I never had confirmation that the health problems I had were due to the betrayal. That certainty only came when I started having a relationship with someone else and, since then, I have never had anything else.
With my ex, I had sex without a condom. I was on the pill, my concern was getting pregnant, I didn’t foresee any kind of infection. I trusted him with my health because he was my steady partner, I trusted him. Even with the doctors saying I needed to use condoms, we didn’t.
I know I was very lucky because not because I didn’t catch a more serious illness. One of the most liked comments on my video is from a girl who also trusted her boyfriend, ended up getting HPV from him, had 90% of her uterus compromised by the disease and thought she couldn’t even have children anymore. Fortunately, she managed to get pregnant.
When we were done for good, I didn’t feel anything anymore. I never had problems with my vaginal health again. I was relieved, as I realized there was nothing wrong with me.
I didn’t even know what it was like to have normal intimate health. Even my pocket was relieved. But I also felt angry and I was left with a sense of injustice because there is nothing I can do. The law even provides for punishment for cases of contamination of diseases, such as HIV, but, for Justice, I don’t have enough evidence.
After our relationship ended for good, I didn’t talk to him anymore and I didn’t even confront him. The new girlfriend won’t let me get in touch. I sent some messages but he doesn’t respond. She had a great emotional dependence on him, she always did everything to please him. It took me a long time to get over this setback and, to this day, I can’t say I’m 100%. I was depressed, I didn’t want to leave the room, I didn’t want to relate anymore, it was painful.
When the video went viral, I felt hugged by many women who have also gone through the same thing. I received several messages on Instagram from girls talking about recurrent thrush and asking me if I think they are being cheated on. But I’m not a doctor. The only thing I can say is: look for a health professional, use a condom and be aware of the signs of the relationship, not just the physical ones.”
Giovanna Fernandes, 23, International Relations student and administrative analyst
what the doctors say
Although candidiasis is not considered a sexually transmitted infection, as its transmission does not occur exclusively during sex, it can happen that, during intercourse, the microorganisms that cause the diseases are transmitted from one partner to the other. But this only happens if the fungus is of the rarer non-albican type. The albican type is what is already present in a woman’s body.
“The problem has to do with a subtle imbalance in the vaginal flora”, says gynecologist and sexologist Carolina Ambrogini, coordinator of the Aphrodite Project, a female sexuality outpatient clinic at UNIFESP (Federal University and São Paulo), and of the sexual dysfunction improvement course. women from the same institution. She explains that excessive sexual intercourse, stress and a drop in immunity can lead to this imbalance.
“Sometimes, the flora takes a long time to recover. It’s not the doctors’ fault or the treatments. Those who have a repeat infection have to check their diet, do physical activity, not keep sweaty panties and have sex with a condom, for example. In addition, our body is not dissociated from our emotions”, says Carolina. And the use of condoms, in all cases, is essential to maintain the integrity of women’s intimate health.