That Time My OB-GYN Extracted a Clove of Garlic Out of My Vagina


I make the worst jokes at the worst times. Like the time I visited my childhood gynecologist for a routine check-up during spring break back in college. As she reached inside of me, I asked, grinning from ear to ear, “Do you feel closer to me now?” We’ve known each other since I was a teenager, and I’ve known her daughter since the sixth grade.

The garlic, though, was no joke. I had read it on the internets. Not to mention seen it on an episode of Girls so you know it’s true. I had been using it to treat yeast infections since my freshman year in college. It worked like magic. No pain, no prescription, all natural. It fell out by itself after a few days when I used the bathroom. There was the occasional comment from my boyfriend after an intimate evening. . . “Did you use garlic again?” It is aromatic, shall we say. Sometimes I would stick one in after intercourse because — why not? If it can ward off vampires, surely, it can ward off a yeast infection.

The first time I had a yeast infection was my freshman year in college. I had no idea what it was and had never felt such a burning sensation. It was painful, itchy, and swollen. Letting my fears run wild, I convinced myself that I was pregnant or had an STD even though my boyfriend and I were in a healthy, committed, birth-controlled relationship. Just a few months before, we had lost our virginities to one another. I feared that we were being punished for not waiting until marriage.

Nervously, my boyfriend and I held hands during a six hour sojourn at the Emergency Room where a nurse, and everyone else concluded, mistakenly, that I was pregnant. What would you think if an eighteen-year-old walked in with her boyfriend? Because I was scared and had no idea what it was, I believed her. When she came back explaining that she had looked at the wrong charts, I learned what it felt like to breathe again. Everything was bright and sunny after that, even with a $99 bill that I had to explain to my parents. The doctor prescribed a topical gel and a pill that promised to make the infection go away. I took the pill and as soon as I got back to my dorm room, Googled everything about yeast infections and spent the next few days drinking cranberry juice and you guessed it, shoving garlic into my vagina.

Fast forward seven years. I’ve graduated college and am now living as an independent woman in Brooklyn. After an evening with my on again and off again dude, I popped a piece of garlic up there, you know, just in case. As I walked past McCarren Park, I realized, to my horror, that I had a gynecologist appointment that day! I had never tried to take out the garlic by myself. It falls out on its own! What would I say as my gyno prepared to insert the speculum? “Um? Wait! There’s a clove of garlic inside of me!” I texted my friend Mickey, whom I had a good laugh with. As soon as I checked into the doctor’s office, I ran to the bathroom in the hopes of extracting my tiny friend. I tried. I poked around. There’s not that much room to bend. Finally, I ended up shoving it deeper than it was. I was doomed. What would my gynecologist think?

Jessica is undoubtedly the coolest gynecologist. I’ve only had two, but I’m ready to vouch for her. She has long gorgeous locks, and she laughed, during our first appointment, when I told her that birth control pills turned me into an asexual robot. I knew that I had found my gyno-soul mate and have been trying to get her to hang out with me ever since. She demurs, as always.

My face burned red hot. I started sweating. When the nurse told me to take off my clothes, confusion ensued. “Do I take off my top and bottom or just the bottom?”

“Bottom. Put this over your lap.”

As Jessica came in, and I hitched my socked feet onto the stirrups, I told her, sheepishly, without making eye-contact, that I had a clove of garlic inside my vagina.

She laughed.

Thank god!

“Does that really work?” she asked.

“I think so,” I said laughing with her. After all, I’ve had seven years of demonstrated hypothesis.

She inserted the speculum, extracted the garlic, looked at it with humorous curiosity, and dropped it into the trash receptacle.