A Recounting of the Morning I Spent Digging Garlic Out of My Vagina

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My vagina and I get along most of the time. We know our routines, the things each of us like (orgasms and panty-free nights) and the things we don’t (periods and hard fingering meant to be pleasure inducing) but occasionally one of us fails each other. Like this morning, when I spent the better part of three hours trying to get a garlic clove out of the most sacred of my holes.

Why the garlic clove in sacred hole in the first place? Recently returned from a beach vacation — where I had spent the majority of my time in a bikini, frolicking between the Indian Ocean and the swimming pool at my Airbnb — I had developed the beginnings of a yeast infection (reminder: don’t hang out in wet or otherwise barely breathable material for six straight days. Your vagina needs to breathe!). Now, as a freelance writer, leaving my house on a day when I don’t have meetings or social engagements is one of those things that requires all the effort. Throw in a severe bout of vacation hangover, and that 10-minute walk to the nearest pharmacy to get a quick prescription might as well have been an obstacle course.

Then a light bulb came on. “Remember that time you were 24 and too broke to afford paying for an OTC prescription for your yeast infection?” A quick google search confirmed what I vaguely remembered: garlic is the perfect home remedy for a yeast infection (it kills yeast and something about bakers knowing when to add garlic to garlic bread).

Patting myself on the back for finding a safe, all-natural home remedy, I sauntered into my pantry to find all the garlic a girl could need for a life time of yeast infections, plucked a single clove, peeled it carefully, sliced into it a few times to maximize the potency of the garlic and disappeared into my bathroom. Five minutes later, with the taste of garlic already infiltrating my mouth (there is a connection between the vagina and the mouth so that garlic flavor comes on pretty quickly), I sat down at my dining table to continue procrastinating working. Now, the internet advises that you use this ‘treatment’ at night, but with a very promising date in two days, time was of the essence!

So goes Garlic Clove One: Sit with it wrapped in gauze in vagina all day. Wonder if it will fall out as I walk or pee. Be reminded of how strong of a flavor garlic is every time I pee. Keep tasting garlic in mouth. Remind myself of my hot date, and that no one likes to taste garlic breath or garlic pussy (persevere!!). Obsessively check the internet again to make sure I’m not crazy.

Garlic Clove One proved easy to pry out of my most sacred of holes at the end of the day. A slight hooking of fingers around the gauze I had wrapped it in and voila! Now it was time for Garlic Clove Two, aka the Bedtime Clove. I had gotten brave over the course of the day, so I figured I’d go all out. I sliced Bedtime Clove into halves, skipped the gauze because I needed all that garlic in my vagina stat, rubbed it around the inside of my walls for extra measure and slid into bed with dreams of a yeast-free vagina by morning.

When you go to bed with garlic in your vagina, the very first thing you think about when you wake up is, “There’s garlic in my vagina. It needs to get out.” I disappeared into my bathroom and with my fingers easily located the first half of the garlic clove, plopping it into the toilet bowl. Then the other half. Hmmm… it should be… somewhere… oh shit… that’s really far back… fuck, I pushed it even farther… fuck, fuck, fuck, I can’t reach it. Shit, it’s definitely gone too far.

Now there’s a crucial step to this whole garlic in vagina business that I had skipped — that is, to tie or sew a thread or piece of dental floss onto the garlic clove before insertion for easy retrieval. Hindsight, you guys. Hindsight is everything. This is how the next three hours of my life proceeded:

  1. Don’t panic, don’t panic, don’t panic. It’ll come out the next time you pee.
  2. Peeing again. Fuccckkkkkkkkkk, I still can’t get it out. It’s all the way up there!
  3. Returning to the internet. Okay, so if I just poop, it will fall out.
  4. Drink three cups of coffee and furiously chew granola.
  5. Godammit, it’s still there. Developing tears in eyes as finger tips only succeed at pushing Bedtime Clove further up my cervix.
  6. Returning to the internet. Okay, masturbation and kegel exercises.
  7. Furiously masturbating and doing more kegels than in the last five years combined.
  8. I can’t get ahold of it. Oh God, I might actually have to go to a Kenyan doctor and explain how I got garlic stuck up my vagina.
  9. How much is an ER visit in Nairobi? I should seriously buy health insurance. Why do I still not have health insurance? You are an adult, Kari, adults have health insurance!
  10. Returns to internet. Marvels at just how many forums there are for garlic stuck in vaginas.
  11. Internet says “be calm.” How can I be calm WHEN THERE IS HALF A GARLIC CLOVE STUCK IN MY VAGINA?
  12. Try squatting for better reach. I swear this garlic clove just wants to live in my vagina. I am never having sex again, I’m pretty sure. I should just cancel my date.
  13. I swear I am not sticking a spoon up my vagina. I guess this is why people date, so you can ask your partner to help you find the garlic in your vagina. That sounds like a dirty game; hey, I still have humor!
  14. I’m gonna have to throw that spoon away. Most definitely.
  15. This is too stressful. I’m gonna take a nap, and the internet says I should only worry after 48 hours.
  16. Wake up one hour later with the determination to be calm, reach into vagina and slowly… but surely… pulls out remaining Bedtime Clove.
  17. Immediately start writing this article.

Brave comrades, let this serve as a lesson to anyone considering garlic as a remedy to yeast infections: wind that clove up with some dental floss so, so tight before you stick it up your vagina. Did the garlic work? I don’t know, and I probably won’t know for another day, but right now all I have is a bruised vagina from all that prodding and the desire to go back to yesterday morning and take that 10-minute walk to the pharmacy instead. As far as science goes, they’re skeptics, but there are women, doulas and midwifes across the internet who swear by garlic as a cure for yeast infections. And 24-year-old me who still remembers Three Nights of Garlic.


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Kari is a creative writer born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya who spent her formative years in Minnesota—where she often dreamed of warmer weather. She is an avid traveler, perpetual list-maker and sometimes performer. Her words have appeared all over the internet, on the radio and on stage. For more, check out her website, The Warm Fruit, or follow her on Twitter.

Kari has written 12 articles for us.