Updated: Jul 8, 2020
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection is also known as balantitis in men or Vulvovaginal candidiasis in women. Vulvovaginal candidiasis is a condition of the vagina that affects women of all ages. 3 out of 4 women have 1-2 yeast infections at some point in their lives.
What are the symptoms of a yeast infection?
The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are itching in and around the vagina, redness or swelling around the vagina, burning with urination or during intercourse, and a thick, clumpy and white discharge that resembles cottage cheese, but does not have a foul or fishy odor.
What causes a yeast infection?
Yeast infections are caused by a fungus called candida – which is normally present in the vagina. however, sometimes the yeast grows more than usual, creating an imbalance in the vagina and causing symptoms of infection. Causes of this overgrowth include antibiotic use, excess sugar intake, and the use of fragrant soaps and creams. Women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills and other hormone replacement therapy are more likely to experience yeast infections because of the increased levels of estrogen. Other medical situations that increase the likelihood of developing a yeast infection, include diabetes, a weakened immune system, or taking steroids for long periods of time. Certain lifestyle practices, such as douching, eating a poor diet, and not getting enough sleep may also increase the risk of a yeast infection.
How is a yeast infection prevented?
Yeast infections are not transmitted through sexual activity; however, it can be spread from the vagina to the mouth through direct contact. So, take caution during sexual activities to avoid this. In general, you can reduce the chance of a yeast infection by taking the following steps:
• Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use – antibiotics are appropriate only for bacterial infections, not conditions caused by viruses (like the common cold).
• Wear cotton underwear and breathable clothing – avoid pantyhose/tights, and tight clothing.
• Immediately change out of wet clothes.
• Avoid hot tubs and very hot baths.
• Avoid douching and vaginal sprays/creams/soaps.
• Use unscented feminine products and change tampons, pads, and panty liners several times per day (at least every 3-4 hours).
• Follow a healthy diet low in processed sugar.
Try to get 8 hours of sleep per night to ensure detox and regulation of hormones.
• And again. Limit your sugar intake
How is a yeast infection treated?
Yeast infections are treated with anti-fungal creams or suppositories that are inserted into the vagina, or with a pill that is taken by mouth. Options include over-the-counter medications and prescription medications – which are both equally as effective for symptomatic treatment.
Common medications recommended include the "-azoles": clotrimazole, miconazole, tioconazole, and terconazole – all of which are inserted vaginally, and fluconazole – which is taken by mouth. Women who are pregnant should not take fluconazole. It is important to follow medication instructions carefully, using only as directed.
What are the naturopathic treatments for a yeast infection?
If you are more interested in a natural approach to treating yeast infections, there are several nutrition changes and naturopathic options shown to be effective.
Foods to eat- fresh vegetables, green drinks, lean proteins (beans, lentils, fish, organic poultry), cultured yogurt, coconut oil, turmeric and flax seeds.
Foods to avoid- alcohol, sugar, gluten, and refined foods. During an active infection like aged cheese, nuts, and nut butter.
Herbs & Supplements- Oregano 300 mg 3x daily, Garlic 500 mg 2x daily, Grapefruit Extract 200 mg 2x daily, Caprylic Acid 1000 mg 3x daily, Gentian Root 250 mg before each meal, Echinacea 500 mg 3x daily, and a Wormwood, Oregon Grape, and Rosemary herbal blend.
Complications are uncommon with yeast infection. But if it goes unresolved it can lead to greater discomfort, swelling and redness around the vagina.
Remember that yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of a normal fungi and it can be prevented if you are attentive of your health. Stay active, practice good hygiene and nourish the body with all the appropriate foods to make sure you tissues, cells and organs remain in homeostasis.