Are you plagued with yeast infections on a regular basis? Are you embarrassed by burning, itching or painful sensations everyday? It’s important to know that 75% of women have had a yeast infection at some point in their lives. When you talk about yeast infections you are referring to Candida, a common fungus normally found on human skin or in areas of moisture such as the mouth or vagina. Yeast is naturally found in the vagina in very small amounts. When new yeast is introduced to the vaginal area it causes Candida to overgrow. The increase in the quantity of yeast present in the vagina causes a yeast infection to occur. There are other ways for yeast infections to occur as well such as pregnancy, sperm, menstruation, diabetes, and birth control pills.
Symptoms of yeast infections include burning, itching, soreness, pain during intercourse or urination, and vaginal discharge. These are also symptoms for several other conditions such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and bacterial vaginosis. Additionally if you use a yeast infection treatment when you don’t have a yeast infection you could be introducing a drug-resistant strain of yeast into your vagina. This could cause a yeast infection that can’t be treated. Its important to see a doctor to confirm you have a yeast infection. Although there are home remedies and over the counter medications that can be used to relieve and cure a yeast infections, it is important to know when to see a doctor. If your symptoms get worse, the medications or remedies being used don’t work, you have discharge for more than 1 week or you have reoccurring yeast infections you should see a doctor.
The most common treatments for vaginal yeast infections are anti-fungal medications that can be applied topically (directly to the skin) or taken orally. Prescription grade medications or over the counter treatments for yeast infections includes miconazole (Monistat), tioconazole (Vagistat), butoconazole (Femstat), clotrimazole and clotrimazole creams, lotions, pills and suppositories. However, at home remedies for yeast infections have become a popular alternative. Women who use at home treatments for vaginal yeast infections stated that they were not only easier and cheaper, but they were milder on the vagina, cleaner and had fewer side effects.
One natural treatment is to take a probiotic. Probiotics are live microbial organisms that are present in the digestive tract as well as the vagina. Probiotics are naturally occurring in the body and suppress the growth of other harmful bacterium such as Candida. Yogurt is a natural probiotic because it has lactobacillus acidophilus. Present in plain and unflavored yogurts this bacteria kills yeast in the vagina. It can be applied directly to the affected areas or inserted into the vagina. Garlic is another anti-fungal substance that can kill yeast. By removing its covering and place 1-3 pieces of garlic cloves into a piece of cheesecloth, you can insert the garlic into the vagina for a couple of hours to kill the Candida. All three of these are available in pill form as well and can be found at your local natural health food store.
Other natural and alternative treatments include boric acid, potassium sorbate, cranberries and cranberry juice, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar or simply diet change. Some doctors are researching the effects that specific foods in one’s diet may have on yeast in the body.
Whether you have tried conventional treatments that didn’t help you, or you are suffering with yeast infections for the first time it is important to know that there is help out there. Don’t feel ashamed to try some of these home remedies. If they don’t work for you, you may need to a stronger medication to relief your symptoms.
Sarah Labdar graduated with a BA in exercise science and have worked in the medical field since. My focus is alternative medicine however all aspects of health interest me.