No Artificial Sweeteners for Me

For the next two weeks, I am making a change to my diet.  Lately I’ve felt a dependency on diet sodas, and artificially sweetened treats. I am challenging myself to cut out all artificial sweeteners in my diet for two weeks. Artificial sweeteners include saccharin (Sweet n’ now), aspartame (Equal, Nutrasweet) and sucralose (Splenda). The diet sodas I drink contain aspartame. All of the sugar free snacks  I make contain Splenda, and my favorite store bought sugar free treats contain Splenda or saccharin. My diet will consist of vegetables, meat/fish, and a little cheese. To drink I will have water, club soda, caffeine free hot tea, or caffeine free black coffee.

I decided to make this change to my diet because many diets for controlling recurring yeast infections and urinary tract infections say to avoid artificial sweeteners. I figured there must be something to it, if several of the diets say it’s a no no. Although I have not had a full blown yeast infection in over a year, I still get that little twinge feeling down there the week after my period and have to increase my dose of Azo Yeast pills to prevent myself from getting a yeast infection. I’m hoping this change to my diet will fix the irritation at the end of my period.  Other than 1 week out of the month, I don’t have to increase my Azo Yeast dose. My hypothesis is during that specific week when I’m most prone to a yeast infection, the artificial sweeteners aggravate things down there. My urinary tract doesn’t seem to be bothered by the artificial sweeteners at all. Pure sugar and white carbs are the only things that spark a UTI for me.

I also made the decision to stop using artificial sweeteners for two weeks because I am curious to see how the rest of my body feels without the artificial sweeteners. Maybe I’ll have more energy, maybe I’ll be less grumpy, or maybe I’ll sleep better. I’ve read you can actually become addicted to artificial sweeteners, much like a person can become addicted to regular sugar. Artificial sweeteners make your brain confused because the enzymes in your mouth start to prepare your cells for an insulin surge when you taste something sweet. With artificial sweeteners, the insulin surge never arrives and your brain feels cheated. This temporarily distracts your brain, but before long you’ll be craving the sweet taste again.

I always tried to keep my artificially sweetened snacks to a minimum, but lately I’ve been eating more and more of them. My weakness last week was CarbSmart ice cream bars–chocolate shell with vanilla ice cream in the middle on a stick. They taste just like the regular ones and are oh so delicious. Six come in a box and I had eaten all six in the course of 24 hours. At first I say, “I’ll just have one”. I have one and feel satisfied but then ten minutes later I want another. The cycle seems to repeat itself. It could just be all in my head but after an artificial sweetener binge,  I feel something similar to a sugar rush. I feel a little light headed and energetic temporarily and usually later on I get a headache.

Today is my second day  of not having any artificial sweeteners. It is purely a sweet free diet since I don’t eat regular sugar anyway. Yesterday I did fine. Although I won’t say it was easy. After dinner I found myself wanting a Diet Root beer. I would have wanted one of those ice cream bars, if there had been any in the freezer.  I ate a piece of beef jerky instead of grabbing the Diet Root Beer that was tempting me every time I opened the fridge. Foods high in protein are said to help sweet cravings. I felt very sleepy at about 9:30pm, which is extremely unusual for me. Normally I got to bed around 1am. I felt good when I woke up this morning, which is expected after about 10 hours of sleep. I wasn’t hungry, so I waited until lunch to eat. Right now I’m really craving something sweet though. I just ate lunch–chicken wings and a salad and a few pieces of beef jerky. The jerky didn’t seem to kill my urge for something sweet this time but I’m still holding out. It would be sad to not even last two days. Tonight I’m going to the grocery store because I don’t have much food here. I’m thinking if I keep plenty of things to munch on, then I’ll forget all about the artificially sweetened stuff.

After my two weeks, I may give Stevia a try. It’s a sweetener that contains no sugar but isn’t artificial. The local grocery stores don’t carry it, so I’ll have to order it online. I haven’t gone the Stevia route before because artificially sweetened products are much more accessible. I’ve found some sugar free gum online with Stevia, but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of pre-packaged products out there with stevia. Because of this, you have to do the cooking yourself. I will keep you posted on my two weeks without artificial sweetener results. Wish me luck!

To Shave or Not to Shave

We’re talking about pubic hair here, in case you didn’t catch my little phrase. In today’s time, shaving your pubic hair seems to be the norm. All the nude pictures running around on the internet show a shaved vagina, so it’s no wonder people think it’s the norm. Don’t feel left out if you’re still choosing to go natural. There are many benefits of both and either way you choose, you are not alone. Some opt for a completely shaved look, while others may just shave the bottom half near the vagina entrance and up to the area surrounding the clitoris. Others may shave some type of design or have a racing stripe running down to the clitoris. Obviously, what you do with your pubic hair is a personal preference. There are several different options for removal. Shaving  is probably the least painful but must be done at least once a week or else it will start to itch. Waxing lasts longer but is a little painful. Hair remover creams can sometimes irritate the area. Laser hair removal I’ve heard is extremely painful but definitely gives you long term results. There are many reasons for shaving. Some people feel cleaner or sexier when they are shaved down there. You don’t have to worry about pubes poking out when you wear a bathing suit. Shaving also makes the area more sensitive and some feel they get aroused more quickly. Many women also feel more comfortable receiving oral sex while shaved down there.

Personally I have been down both paths. In my early teens I sported the full on bush.  I could have cared less what I looked like down there. Then my high school sweetheart suggested I shave my pubic hair. I was surprised, a little confused, and quite scared to try it. I barely touched myself down there washing in the shower, and now I was about to go on uncharted territory with a razor. The idea of shaving had never even crossed my mind before. I decided to give it a try though. I trimmed with scissors first, and then shaved with shaving cream and a cheap disposable razor. I cut myself several times. I also got really bad razor burn. It hurt to put pants on. I didn’t try shaving again until college. For the remainder of high school I  sported a neatly trimmed bush. When I shaved in college, it seemed to work out fine. No razor burn. I had learned the tricks of the trade. I invested in a decent razor, Mach 3. I always shaved with the grain, never against. I’ve heard of some girls shaving against the grain to get the closest shave, but my area was always way too sensitive to shave against the grain. Most of the time I shaved in the shower and always with shaving cream. The warm water and steam helps loosen and soften the hair and gives you a better shave with less irritation.  I continued shaving until about a year after I was married. I decided to just let it grow. Once you start shaving, sometimes it’s hard to stop because you know you’ll have to bear the growing out itchy stage.

One of the reasons I let it grow was because I read some where that your pubic hair actually does serve a purpose. For one, it is said to better retain secretions that make your partner more sexually attracted to you. Since growing it out, I have noticed a slightly stronger vaginal scent. It’s the same scent as always, so it doesn’t stink, but I just smell it more. When I was shaved, and I stuck my fingers between the top lips and then smelled my finger, the scent was very faint. If I do it now, the smell is more prevalent. Pubic hair also acts as a protector against friction during sex. After sex, my pubic area was sometimes red from all the rubbing on bare skin. The area above the clitoris was especially red. The big selling point on going full on fur was that pubic hair helps keep bacteria from entering the vagina. Any bacteria that would normally go into the vagina while shaved, gets stuck to the pubic hair and is washed away when you shower. Pubic hair can help prevent unnecessary infection by trapping bacteria. I decided since I had such a history of recurring yeast infections and urinary tract infections, it might be wise to let it all grow. In addition, often times the methods used to remove all of the pubic hair can upset the pH balance of the vagina. Particularly shaving cream, shaving soap, and hair removal creams can all upset the pH in the vagina. These products come in very close contact to the vagina opening when you choose to go completely bare. This may not bother the average person, but for people like myself, it can aggravate the vagina and throw your pH out of whack, which  can invite infection.

Maintenance down there is now a breeze. There aren’t really any detailed instructions for growing out your pubic hair–just let it grow. Some may want to do a little housekeeping down there once in a while. I try to keep mine fairly tidy. About once a week I shave the sides with a mach 3 razor. I do this simply because I wear bikini style underwear, and I don’t want my pubes sticking out. Once a month, I run a beard clipper on a number 3 setting over all of my pubic hair. I like to keep my hair long enough to pull on but not long enough to braid. I save a lot of money on razors now that I’m not shaving the whole thing bare. One more thing I will add, sex feels better. Rough sex no longer irritates the outer pubic area. If you experience recurring infections, you might want to try going au natural down there.

TriNessa Review

TriNessa is the generic form of Ortho Tri-Cyclen birth control. It has a combination of female hormones, and these hormones prevent the release of an egg from an ovary. It also makes it more difficult for sperm to reach the uterus because it causes changes in your uterine lining and cervical mucus. TriNessa can also be used to treat severe acne. It should not be used while pregnant or breast feeding, and like with most birth control pills TriNessa increases your risk of blood clots, stroke, or heart attack. You shouldn’t smoke while taking TriNessa. The 28-day pack of pills contains 7 reminder pills (pills that contain no medicine). The reminder pills in my pack are green. You don’t have to take the reminder pills. Depending on the instructions from your doctor, you will either take your first pill of the pack on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period begins. The pills must be taken every day until you reach the green pills. Once the days on the green pills are up, start a new pack.  The birth control is more effective if you take it at the same time every day. I would advise to take these pills with food to help prevent or at least ease stomach upset.

For years I was on Ortho Tri-Cyclen because at the time I did not have insurance and was getting my birth control from a clinic. Ortho Tri-Cyclen was the only type of pill they had available. I seemed to do fine on Ortho. I was switched from Ortho Tri-Cyclen to TriNessa once I got insurance because TriNessa is what my insurance company covers. At first, I thought the pharmacy had given me the wrong birth control but they assured me TriNessa was the generic form of Ortho and there was really no difference. I’ve been taking Tri-Nessa for about a year and a half. I didn’t match the side effects to TriNessa until recently. I’ve been researching all the various pills I take and came across comments of people taking Tri-Nessa that had very similar problems. I always assumed it couldn’t possibly be the birth control because generic is supposed to be the exact same as the non-generic–or so I thought.

Now that I trace back in my mind the beginning of these little problems I’ve been having, they all seem to have started when I began taking TriNessa. For starters, I often feel dizzy and nauseous. Especially nauseous with-in an hour of taking the pill. At times I thought I was going to get sick. The dizziness happens off and on throughout the day. I sort of feel like I’m walking around in some sort of fog. I also get very strong headaches, which I never experience on Ortho. The lingering spotting after my period lasts on average about two days longer, and my vagina has become dryer. Birth control in general seems to make my vagina dry, no matter what kind I’m on–Depo Provera, Ortho Tri-Cyclen etc. However, it seems to be even dryer on TriNessa. I use lots of lube during sex, especially since I am so prone to urinary tract infections and yeast infections. The added friction can cause damage to the vagina walls and urethra making you more susceptible to infection. I would advise anyone who experiences dryness because of TriNessa and is also prone to infections, to definitely use some sort of vaginal moisturizer and/or lubrication during sex (Astroglide, and Rephresh are my favorites). I am going to have a talk with my Gynecologist about switching to a different birth control. Any recommendations are appreciated. The only upside to taking TriNessa is that it prevented me from getting pregnant. If you don’t have a problem taking TriNessa, then your pocket book is in luck because TriNessa is about as cheap as it gets. It costs me about $10 a pack. I believe it’s $20 without insurance. Other birth control pills can run as high as $50.

StarStar(Rated 2/5 Stars)

Astroglide Personal Lubricant Review

Astroglide Personal Lubricant is designed to mimic natural body fluids. It helps prevent unwanted friction during sex due to vaginal dryness. Sometimes the female mind may be aroused and ready for sex, but the vagina is not quite there yet. Astroglide lube can be used even if vaginal dryness is not a problem. You may just want the extra lubrication to increase sensitivity for both partners. Extra lubrication during sex not only increases the pleasure and sensitivity for both partners, it also helps reduce the woman’s risk for infection. Having sex without enough lubrication causes friction on the urethra, which can make a female more susceptible to urinary tract infections. It can also cause friction on the vaginal walls, which can lead to tearing or rawness. Trauma to the vaginal walls can put a female at risk for vaginal infections, such as yeast and bacterial. Astroglide is a water-based, water-soluble, and petroleum free formula, which is great, because some people have an allergic reaction to petroleum based lubricants.

I have been using Astroglide for almost 3 years now. My husband puts some on just prior to sex, and I apply some to the opening of my vagina as well.  It provides the extra lubrication I need during sex. I find that Astroglide lube feels very natural and slippery. Other personal lubricants sometimes feel artificial and thick.  The lubrication also lasts longer than other personal lubricants. With Astroglide I reach my orgasm much faster than I do without lubrication, and it also makes it easier for me to have multiple orgasms during sex. Penetration is much more pleasant as well. It is also compatible with condoms. I will mention that Astroglide becomes sticky after sex, and it usually takes a little bit of effort and lots of water to rinse it off. Also, Astroglide does contain glycerin in the ingrediets. Glycerin is made from sugar (this contributes to the stickiness after sex).  Some people who are prone to yeast infections cannot use lube containing glycerin because the yeast can feed off of it. I don’t seem to have a problem using Astroglide, and I am prone to yeast infections. Every one is different.  If you find you’re getting yeast infection flare ups while using this product, then you should try switching to a glycerin free lubrication. Astroglide costs about $9 to $10 for a 5oz bottle. A little goes a long way, so the bottle doesn’t run out quickly. It can be purchased online, at most drugstores, grocery stores, and super stores.

StarStarStarStar(Rated 4/5 Stars)

Monistat 1 Day Ovule Review

monistat 1 day ovule

Yeast infections are an inconvenience in many ways. First there are the symptoms and then there is the unpleasant treatment. The treatment is usually very messy and worst of all, you typically have 7 days worth of treatment. That means 7 days of having clumps of cream coming out of you. Monistat attempts to put an end to this with their 1 day ovule. All you have to do is put small egg looking thing, which they call an ovule, into the applicator. Then lie on your back or squat standing up and insert one. That’s it. Just one time. Granted, it may still take a week for the yeast infection to completely clear up, but you only have to do it one time. The ovule itself, is a great idea, it’s much less messy. You don’t have to fumble with inserting tubes of cream into the applicator. Also, it feels better to have the tiny ovule inserted as apposed to a couple of inches worth of cream.

I very much wanted to like Monistat 1 Day Ovule. If only treating my yeast infections could be that simple. I inserted the ovule in the evening before bed. I woke up a few hours later from an intense burning sensation. I went to the bathroom and grabbed a hand held mirror to take a peak at what was going on down there. My entire vulva area was swollen. My clitoris was so swollen it was sticking out well beyond the lips of my vagina. I freaked out. I was in so much pain I first ran cool water over it and then resulted to using a towel wrapped in ice. I didn’t go to work the next day because it hurt too bad to put underwear or pants on and it was still incredibly swollen. Sitting in a chair was even uncomfortable. It also burned and itched like crazy. After about a day, I decided to go for a natural treatment of yogurt. That seemed to calm things down.

I’m not the only one who has had an experience like this using the 1 day ovule. My gynecologist told me some people just can’t handle the high dose of medicine and therefore it produces an allergic reaction. I’ve read several reviews online from people who experienced the exact same reaction to Monistat 1 Day Ovule as I did. I have also read a couple of reviews from people who loved it and had no reaction to it. The only problem is, there is no way to know whether or not your vagina can handle it unless you try it. If you have ever had any kind of reaction before from using products in or around your vagina, I would steer clear of this product. I’m OK using the 7 day Monistat treatment and even the 3 day Monistat treatment with no signs of irritation. If you are one of the lucky ones who can do the one day treatment, it can be purchased at drugstores, grocery stores, super stores, and online. It is a little more expensive than the 3 or 7 day treatments. It costs between $16 and $18.

monistat 1 reviews(Rated 1/5 Stars)