8 Nigerian Women Talk Dealing With Vaginal Infections

August 17, 2021

Vaginal infections are normal occurrences for everyone that has a vagina. However, they are not talked about enough because of the shame surrounding most women issues. In this article, eight Nigerian women talk about having vaginal infections. 

Bald woman looking sad in hospital cloth

Chichi, 23 

I keep a clean toilet and I avoid general toilets so it was odd when I noticed my vagina was itching. It felt good to scratch it so I did and when I did, the itching reduced. One day, after a night of itching, I woke up to see that the skin there had peeled. It was painful so I told my friends about it. They told me I probably have an infection. They gave me the drugs they use but I also went to see a pharmacist, who gave me something else that cleared the infection and stopped the itching. 

Bisola, 19

I didn’t know I had an infection because I didn’t experience any symptoms until one of the guys I was having sex with told me. He said since I was not having any symptoms, I didn’t need to worry. I had had sex with a different person and that person complained about having a sharp pain while urinating. That was when I took it seriously. By this time, I had already given it three guys. I went to the pharmacy and got treated for it. 

Jumoke, 25

One day when I was in SS3, my lower abdomen started hurting. I thought it was appendicitis so I went home. My dad took me to the hospital and the doctors ran some tests. When the results came out, the doctor said it was pelvic inflammatory disease. My dad started shouting at me and accusing me of sleeping around. He called me a prostitute. I was just 14 — I had not even had my first kiss. The doctor had to explain that it was from an untreated urinary tract infection. He gave me drugs and that ended. 

When I was 19, I had another infection. I had started having sex and I noticed some discharge. I told my friends about it and they suggested drugs I could take. I eventually took a test and found out it was candidiasis. I couldn’t my parents this time so I kept it to myself. 

Tare, 20

I had an infection when I was in 100 level. My vagina was itchy, red and leaking foul-smelling discharge. It was also painful when I urinate. I googled these symptoms and I saw that I had a yeast infection. I also googled again how to treat it. The internet said I shouldn’t scratch when it itches, use warm water to wash up and use anti-bacteria medication. I ended up using a cream and it went within a week.

Zainab, 24

I was doing my diploma and I went to see my boyfriend. We had sex while I was with him. Eventually, I returned home. My parents noticed that I was always weak so before I returned to school, they took me to the hospital to run tests. They didn’t say anything until the day I was going back to school. My mum brought out the test results. She asked if I was sexually active and before I could answer, she said my test results showed that I had a sexually transmitted infection. I couldn’t say anything to her. 

The ride to school that day was incredibly long. My dad called me a loose girl and that he’s ashamed that his first child won’t be getting married a virgin. My mum was sad because my dad kept saying, “See your daughter.” He said stuff about how she didn’t do her part as a mother. He said a lot of degrading stuff to me on that ride. When I got to school, he took me to the school hospital. There, he told the nurses that I slept around and got an infection. Every day when I went there for treatment, I was reminded of the mental trauma I faced. It was a tough experience. 

Tosin, 19 

This year, I’ve had three yeast infections. They kept reoccurring until I realized the cause was the lube I was using. Funny enough I found out on a TikTok video. The person said that the glycerine in lubes could cause yeast infections. I checked mine and saw that it was the major ingredient. I haven’t gotten an infection since I stopped using that lube. 

Winnie, 20

I have had vaginal infections three times. The first time I had one I was in secondary school. My vagina was itching but there was no discharge. When I got home, I used some creams for it and it got better. The second time I had a urinary tract infection. That one was terrible. Urinating was painful and I peed blood. Sometimes I won’t be able to walk because of the abdominal pains that came with the infection. I took some drugs for it and felt better eventually. 

The most recent one was a sexually transmitted infection. It also caused painful urination, abdominal pains and itching. It was really uncomfortable especially when I was in public. Itching it hurt and it took a long time to go away after treatment. I always tell ladies to be careful with the toilets they use and the people they have sex with. Infections are a very unpleasant experience. 

Gina, 21

In 2019, I had a yeast infection. My discharge was like cottage cheese and my vaginal itched like crazy. I was scared so I told my friend. She said it was an infection and it was normal. I went to see a pharmacist and I was prescribed drugs that cured the infection. Since then I have had vaginal infections a number of times and I can say we don’t talk about it enough. 

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Mariam Sule

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