One of the worst things about having an itchy vagina is that you can't really complain about it.
If you have a bad headache, or your back goes out, you can kvetch and get sympathy.
"How are you?" a co-worker will ask.
To say "I have a terrible headache" or "My back is killing me" is perfectly acceptable.
But "My vagina has been itching for weeks now and it's driving me crazy?"
Not so much.
I'm not complaining about my own vagina. My own vagina, for the moment, is okay. But my dear pal Sophie has had a terribly itchy vagina for months and months and nothing seems to help and she's absolutely miserable.
Her doc has tried everything. And when nothing that her doctor suggested or prescribed had any impact, Sophie consulted natural healing books and tried a variety of folk remedies recommended by Dr. Internet.
None of it worked, although in conducting this research she did learn some interesting things, including the fact that this problem can be caused by allergic reactions to everything from changing your laundry detergent to a new boyfriend's sperm. And then there was the violinist who experienced a severe allergic reaction to the rosin she was using on her bow.
I told my sister, who is a violinist, about this.
"My vagina is just fine, thanks," she said. "But I'll keep that in mind."
So what is it like to be Sophie? It feels like the world's worst yeast infection. Day in, day out. But since it isn't a yeast infection, it won't respond to any known remedies.
It's a medical mystery and it just won't stop, and as a result, Sophie is desperately unhappy. She's gone from being a cheerful, upbeat librarian to a sad, bleak blue librarian.
And her usually wonderful sex life? On hold indefinitely.
After testing and trying and testing and trying, Sophie's doc recently gave up and referred her to the area's best Itchy Vagina specialist.
When's the soonest he can see her?
August! That's seven months from now. Apparently, there are a hell of a lot of stubbornly itchy vaginas in the Delaware Valley. Who knew?
Of course, why would anyone know? It's not as if women are shouting about this problem from the rooftops.
When I feel awful, I've always found that complaining helps. If I were Sophie, I'd feel tempted to throw social niceties to the wind and kvetch about it. To everyone.
When casual friends, co-workers or even patrons at the library where I work greet me with a pleasant "How are you?" I could respond "My vagina is killing me. And you?"
Of course, I'd shock a bunch of people and make them very uncomfortable. A few library patrons might even drop a note to my boss about over-sharing.
On the other hand, if just one of the hundreds of people I told about the problem knew of a remedy that actually worked, it would all be worthwhile.
Does your vagina (or the vagina of a loved one) itch? I invite you to grouse about it in the Comments Section. If enough of us complain, maybe we can find a cure.