This week, I wasn’t feeling well and I decided to go seek help at a local clinic. I found the nurse occupied with a young girl of about fourteen. Unfortunately or fortunately, whichever way you look at it, this particular clinic doesn’t have a ‘doctor’s room’.
I swear i did not mean to eavesdrop but my ears are big and they picked up what the young girl was saying. This is was what she said;
It hurts when I pee. And it really itches down there. I don’t know when it all started. I cannot, in all honesty, pinpoint the day it started.
I do remember though how it started.
The discharge changed. It was smelly all of a sudden.
The color changed too, it was now white and it was clumpy. It did not look normal. Not like it was before.
I thought it would go away.
So I ignored it, tried to be cleaner, I started to bath twice a day now.
But still, it didn’t go away.. it stayed and it became itchy, red and swollen. It was very uncomfortable. I couldn’t sit still, but still I thought it would go away.
Besides, I couldn’t speak out. They would think I was having sex. I swear I haven’t though, I have never. But I knew that that is what they would think. That the goody-two shoes has done ‘it’
So I couldn’t speak. For fear of being ostracized. But now, it hurts to pee. I cry when I have to go to the toilet. Its been going on for a few days now. But I swear, I swear I haven’t had sex.
Sarah*, Age: 14
Sarah waited until her situation got worse to finally seek help. She was too afraid that she would be judged. Because Candida is sometimes associated with promiscuity, she was afraid that people would judge her thus. It was up to the nurse to tell her that it was perhaps bad hygiene, or the dirty toilets and bathrooms at school that had caused her this ailment.
One of the things that causes this divide among the adults and the teenagers is the lack of communication. It’s a bit clichè to say but communication really is the bridge that unites us.
So communicate with these teenagers.
Make it safe for them to come to seek help for any and all problems. Without judgment.
* name changed to protect the identity of the child.