Hi, I’m Ashley!
I’m originally from Honolulu, Hawaii, but have lived in Los Angeles now for almost a decade. My hobbies include hiking, yoga, discovering new fun food and wellness products at Erewhon (the resident fancy pants grocery store of LA).
I also happen to suffer from truly terrible, chronic yeast infections.
For those of you who’ve never had one, imagine poison oak on your nether regions. Never had poison oak? Think about mosquito bites + bee stings. Yeah.
And by the way, I never actually thought I would be sharing this with, well, anyone. Until recently, I didn’t tell anyone except a few close girlfriends that I was struggling with yeast infections (and the fungus which causes them, “candida).
I’ve spent countless hours going to the doctor and thousands of dollars buying meds and supplements trying to fix myself.
I’ve spent years feeling embarrassed and ashamed of my condition, feeling gross and unsexy. Feeling broken and inadequate.
Lately, though, I’ve been thinking about things differently. I realized that yeast infections are a medical condition, just like any other. And I realized that BECAUSE I felt so uncomfortable talking about it, I should.
Because people aren’t talking about it.
Because there is all this crazy shame, stigma, and insecurity around a medical condition that 3 out of 4 women in the US suffer from in their lifetime (referring to just yeast infections, not any other broader conditions related to candida or vaginal health). Which 8% of US women struggle with 4 or more times a year. Yikes!
I realized that if I hurt my ankle, I would have no issues telling people what happened and why I might be in a bad mood as a result. But because this was something happening to my VAGINA (that “dirty” word, VAGINA), I felt awkward and embarrassed talking about it.
That’s why I’m on a mission to create a new narrative around candida.
Yeast infections, a medical condition that affects millions of people around the world.
To create transparency and provide more sources of trusted information for people like me. To chronicle my findings about what works and what doesn’t (at least what I’ve found in my firsthand experience, which may or may not work for others). I’ve found some things that really have been effective, some of which actually have clinical trials and science to substantiate their efficacy.
But at the end of the day, anyone who’s suffered from a chronic condition knows that ya just want it to work. Even if the science isn’t quite there. You just don’t want to suffer anymore and are desperate for solutions. Even if they sound crazy.
So, here’s a place where I’m sharing the results of my self experimentation with you — in hopes that you will not have to suffer through the same years of agony that I did…and that all vaginas everywhere can one day be happy and free!
Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds that you plant.Robert Louis Stevenson
When I was 19, my doctor put me on birth control for the first time. I asked if there were any side effects. He said “no.” This one word and the agreement that came with it sent me down a decade-long journey of pain. Amongst the many side effects I experienced from the pill, yeast infections were one of them. And the worst one, because they turned out to be chronic. As in, I would get them as much as twice a month. Pretty terrible. This killed my self-confidence and made me feel like I was completely broken — and none of the dozens of doctors I went to seemed to be able to fix me. Interested in hearing the full story? Read on here.
Why “Free La V?”
I’m trying to help women everywhere “free their vaginas.” To me, this means having a healthy, happy vagina… waking up every day feeling 100% and ready to rock. I originally wanted to call this blog “Free The V” — but a girlfriend of mine misheard and repeated back, “Free La V? Cool name!” I mused over it in my head and said it again, “Free La V, huh? I like it. Sounds kind of French — and that by definition makes it kind of sexy and cool, right? ;)” She said, “Yeah, and ‘la vie’ in French actually means ‘the life,’ which makes sense because vaginas are the bringers of life.” And so it was. And here we are.