“This has to stop. I feel like I’m on fire!” a desperate Helena Peisner told her husband, Steven. The Newport Beach, California, then-52-year-old was on a high dose of antibiotics to treat a staph infection, which had led to a vaginal yeast infection.
The pain, burning and itching had become unbearable — a feeling that Helena unfortunately knew all too well, having been prone to yeast infections her entire life. She was constantly applying Vagisil and taking cold baths, but Helena was still so uncomfortable that she couldn’t sleep or do any normal activities. “I’m absolutely miserable,” she lamented.
Steven hated seeing his wife suffer, and as a former EMT, he wracked his brain for something that might give her relief. Maybe an ice pack, he thought, aware of the soothing benefits of cold therapy. But he realized regular ice packs were big and bulky and wondered if there was one made specifically for vaginal use. But calling every pharmacy in the neighborhood, he was told no such product was available. There should be, he thought, and so he decided to make one himself.
What is VagiKool?
Steven went to the craft store and bought different types of plastic and filler materials. He also purchased several different panty liners and maxi pads to help determine the best size and shape for comfort and concealment. With Helena’s input, he finally came up with a design and worked up a prototype. And just in time! On antibiotics for another staph infection, Helena had developed yet another vaginal yeast infection. “Oh, that’s cold!” she exclaimed when she first placed the ice pack in her underwear. Almost immediately, though, she sighed with relief. The cold was numbing and soothing while the ice pack, made from a polyvinyl, remained flexible after freezing, which allowed her to mold it to her body and wear it without it being noticeable.
Realizing there were lots of women who suffered with vaginal pain and discomfort for a variety of reasons, the couple decided to manufacture reusable ice packs under the name VagiKool (Buy on VagiKool.com, $25). Each ice pack comes with a washable/disposable soft sleeve (a box of 30 additional sleeves is $15) to place the ice pack in, which acts as a protective barrier between the skin and ice pack.
Sales took off, with women buying the ice packs for relief from yeast infections, as well as vaginitis, discomfort from childbirth and menopause, sports injuries, waxing, and shaving. A big plus: The ice pack relieves symptoms without interfering with the use of any creams or medications that might be needed to treat a condition.
“Every woman knows there’s nothing worse than vaginal pain or discomfort. It interferes with every aspect of living,” says Helena, now 57. “But with this ice pack, I can discreetly relieve my symptoms and go about my life!”
How else can you cure a yeast infection naturally?
There are also ways to also go about naturally healing those pesky yeast infections.
Gentian violet (GV): This drugstore antiseptic has proven twice as effective at killing yeast as over-the-counter treatments. To do: Soak a tampon in two teaspoons of a diluted, 1% GV solution; wear three hours a day for three days.
A probiotic strain: A study in the journal Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins reveals that yeast-fighting lactobacillus probiotic strains such as L. acidophilus and L. rhamnosus prevent recurring yeast infections for 93 percent of women.
Boric acid: “It safely makes the vagina more alkaline to stop yeast overgrowth and cure the infection,” says Laura Corio, MD, author of The Change Before the Change. Her Rx: Use vaginal suppositories before bed for two weeks.
A version of this article originally appeared in our print magazine, Woman’s World.