Yeast Infections? Here Are Some Natural Treatments

Wednesday Feb 13, 2013 | BY |
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Yeast Infections

If you suffer from embarrassing yeast infections, don’t worry—
they’re common and usually easily treatable.

According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, nearly 75 percent of all adult women have had at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetime. About half of those will suffer from two or more infections.

Fortunately, this isn’t just something women have to “live with.” If you’re suffering from recurrent yeast infections, there are natural remedies you can try to reduce their occurrence.

What is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection is a type of vaginal inflammation caused by a fungus known as Candida albicans. Candida is normally present in the vagina, but bacteria keep its growth in check. A disruption of the natural balance of microorganisms can result in an overgrowth of candida (yeast), which can lead to itching, burning, redness and swelling, pain and soreness, and vaginal discharge.

What Causes Yeast Infections?

There are many factors in life that can disrupt the normal balance in the vagina and cause a yeast infection. These may include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone replacement therapy
  • Impaired immune system
  • Use of antibiotics or other medications
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Douching
  • Irritation from inadequate lubrication
  • Stress and lack of sleep
  • Hormonal changes
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a weakened immune system is the most common cause of yeast infections. Sexual activity can also lead to yeast infections.

    Natural and Alternative Treatments

    Standard treatments for yeast infections include antifungal creams, ointments, tablets, and suppositories. These are effective in most cases, though complicated infections may be treated with long-term medications.

    Some natural treatments related to less well-known causes of yeast infections include:

    • Low estrogen: Estrogen helps keep yeast at bay, but right before your period, your estrogen levels dip, allowing yeast to grow. If you have hormone-related infections, take more precautions during this time. Boost your intake of probiotics, avoid sugar, and eat more yogurt or unsweetened kefir to boost the level of natural bacteria that keeps yeast in check.
    • Too much sugar: If you eat a lot of sugar or high-glycemic foods, you may have a lot of glucose in your system, which feeds yeast. Particularly if you have recurrent infections, think about lowing your overall blood sugar level to stabilize yeast growth.
    • Blocked airflow: Some types of underwear and pantyliners can trap moisture and heat in the vagina, creating the perfect environment for yeast growth. Switch to cotton panties for a more breathable fiber. If you use scented or synthetic tampons, these may also be contributing to the problem—choose unscented cotton ones.
    • Vaginal eczema: Just like you can have eczema on your hands and elbows, it can also form on the vulva and on vaginal tissues. This irritation and inflammation can encourage the formation of yeast infections. Talk to your gynecologist about treating the eczema, or consider using some natural eczema-fighting creams and oils (unscented).
    • Spermicides: The active ingredient in many spermicides is nonoxynol-9, which can damage cells in the vagina and raise your risk of infection. Try spermicide-free protection options.

    Some other natural remedies may include:

    • Apple cider vinegar douche: Mix 3 tablespoons of raw organic apple cider vinegar with 1-quart water.
    • Garlic: Garlic is a natural anti-yeast food. The best way to get the benefits is to eat it raw—add it to salads, or stir into plain yogurt for a veggie dip.
    • Tea tree oil: This is a powerful natural anti-fungal and has shown particular effectiveness in gynecological applications. Place a few drops on a natural tampon and insert into the vagina for four hours. Apply twice a day, then remove overnight.
    • Cranberries: They’re not just good for urinary infections—they can also help treat yeast infections. Drink unsweetened, organic juice.

    Can I Prevent Them In the First Place?

    If you’ve experienced recurrent yeast infections or if you want to ensure you never have one, there are many preventative steps you can take. These include:

    • Probiotics: Try taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic foods (like yogurt and kefir) to help restore balance to the vaginal environment.
    • Boost the immune system: A strong immune system will fend off infections more efficiently. Try these tips.
    • Manage stress: For many women, stress triggers yeast infections—most likely because it depletes the immune system. Try coping techniques like yoga, meditation, regular exercise, and a healthy diet.
    • Coconut oil: It contains “caprylic acid,” which is a powerful antifungal agent that kills yeast.
    • Wear loose clothing: Tight pants can irritate the vaginal area, setting you up for an infection.

    Do you have tips for preventing or treating yeast infections? Let us know.

    Kevin Gianni

    Kevin Gianni is a health author, activist and blogger. He started seriously researching personal and preventative natural health therapies in 2002 when he was struck with the reality that cancer ran deep in his family and if he didn’t change the way he was living — he might go down that same path. Since then, he’s written and edited 6 books on the subject of natural health, diet and fitness. During this time, he’s constantly been humbled by what experts claim they know and what actually is true. This has led him to experiment with many diets and protocols — including vegan, raw food, fasting, medical treatments and more — to find out what is myth and what really works in the real world.

    Kevin has also traveled around the world searching for the best protocols, foods, medicines and clinics around and bringing them to the readers of his blog RenegadeHealth.com — which is one of the most widely read natural health blogs in the world with hundreds of thousands of visitors a month from over 150 countries around the world.

    4 COMMENTS ON THIS POST

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    1. Urin terapy is helping me a lot with my candida problem in my pinnes,..thanks for your tips…I recomend alwais your place to any people whos trapt and desapointed in the helth sistem here in sweden. great job!!!!

    2. Nicki says:

      I have suffered recurring thrush for years, and my mum always used to joke that I have a chemist’s supply of canisten. After I began making my own soap, using natural ingredients and a glycerine base without any sodium-laurel-sulphates, I discovered that Lemon Myrtle essential oil (Backhousia citriodora) has very good antifungal properties. By adding 1% to my soaps I found that it treats thrush from the outside in, leaves skin feeling fresh, does not sting or burn, and with daily use keeps the nasty away.

    3. Geraldine says:

      Missing you making awesome videos on youtube!!! Articles are not the same!

    4. Christa says:

      I had an aromatherapy specialist recently speak at a conference at my work and he spoke directly to fungal and candida type infections. One thing that he cautioned against was anyone using tea tree oil vaginally for yeast infections because of it’s drying effects. He also believed that tea tree oil is way over rated as an anti-fungal all together. He stated that sandalwood is actually much more of a powerful anti-fungal, in fact, it is the most powerful anti-fungal. Just thought that I would pass it along.

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