The majority of adult women will experience one or more vaginal yeast infections in her lifetime. Yeast infections may occur for a number of reasons, such as medication, disease and diet, and can be easily treated and prevented with natural remedies.
Optimal Conditions for Yeast
The most common yeast infections are associated with Candida albicans, a fungus that lives in the vagina and other areas of the body. Under normal circumstances, a healthy balance of yeast and "good" bacteria coexist in the body. Yeast can grow for a number of reasons:
Wearing tight clothing or synthetic materials such as nylon undergarments that create a warm, moist environment ideal for yeast
Poor personal hygiene
Birth control pills
Diabetes - yeast feeds off sugar caused by uncontrolled blood sugars
Sensitivity to latex condoms
Hormone fluctuations, such as those that occur during menstruation and pregnancy, make some women susceptible to vaginal yeast infections. Yeast infections are also more common in women who take frequent, long, hot bubble baths.
The ideal treatment is to prevent the infection by eliminating causative factors. Possible solutions to triggers include:
Avoid known allergens
Sensitivity to condoms made with latex and nonoynol-9 spermicidal can be remedies by using a non-latex brand
Eat a well-balanced diet of carbohydrates, fats, protein and fiber
Wear organic clothing made of natural fibers
Avoid using chemical based soaps, perfumes and deodorizers on vaginal area
Practice good hygiene
Change undergarments daily
Wipe from front to back
Avoid sexual contact with a partner if he/she has an untreated yeast infection
Prevention involves common sense and taking good care of oneself through good hygiene and eating habits.
Sometimes vaginal yeast infections are unavoidable and these cases can be treated with variety of allopathic and natural means. Physicians can prescribe anti-fungal creams, ointments, vaginal suppositories and pills. Many creams, which are inserted directly into the vagina, can be purchased over-the-counter at a pharmacy. Oral medications have the greatest risk of side effects and topical treatments can cause localized burning and discomfort. Allopathic options are effective treatments, but do not always attack the source of the infections. This can result in recurrence as well as difficult to treat fungus. Most vaginal yeast infections are caused from an imbalance of healthy flora in the body and appear in the throat, as thrush, intestines and vaginal region. Yogurt is an excellent vehicle to replace "good" bacteria; it can be ingested or used as a vaginal suppository or douche. Similar to yogurt, Acidophilus and other Probiotic supplements that contain healthy microbial flora such as lactobacillus, bifidobacterium and saccharomyces can enable the body to regain balance. In addition to replacing friendly bacteria, taking a probiotic supplement and/or eating yogurt can prevent yeast infections, especially those caused by antibiotics, uncontrolled diabetes and medication. Natural treatments for vaginal yeast infections include:
Vinegar - an antiseptic that kills germs and bacteria when used as a vaginal douche
Tea Tree Oil - Known for anti-fungal properties
Kelp - Anti-biotic properties as well as high in thyroid regulating iodine, which fight infection
Honey - Pour over affected areas while over a toilet, after 20 minutes wash off in a warm water bath
Garlic - An herbal antibiotic that can be eaten or used as a douche, vaginal suppository or oral tablet
Golden Seal - A natural antibiotic taken in tincture or tablet form
When taken with Garlic or Golden Seal, Cayenne pepper supplement can increase the efficacy and make the remedies work faster.
Traditional and alternative methods can be successfully utilized in the prevention and treatment of vaginal yeast infections. Infections are associated with an imbalance of healthy flora in the body caused by exposure to allergens, disease, medication and poor dietary and hygiene habits. When possible, make changes to decrease risk of infection; if you do get a yeast infection, work with a qualified professional to find the best treatment options.