Monday, September 24, 2012

Guide to Treating Yeast Infections Naturally

(Men, I will include a section on male yeast infections in here as well)

Vaginal yeast infections can be identified by severe itching, opaque white vaginal discharge, a funky smell, moist and hot conditions, and redness and swelling in the vaginal area. Note that you can have bacterial vaginosis OR a fungal yeast infection, which have slight differences in the way they are treated. If you have recurring infections, and you have good health insurance; consider getting a swab test to see exactly what you're dealing with. The guide here is for treating fungal infections, NOT bacterial infections (though some treatments are the same).

People who have taken a lot of antibiotics or pharmaceutical medications, have a lowered immunity due to stress or environmental factors and eat a lot of sugar will have the highest risk of yeast infections.

From my experience, the weird pharmaceutical medications that they have for yeast infections are overly intense, too expensive and only effective temporarily. Thus, I think this is a topic worthy of some specific attention. I will outline some immediate treatments, and then talk about overall prevention/ treatment.

Immediate Treatment

1. Air it out
This can stop a yeast infection in its first stages, when a slight itch appears. Don't wear underwear to bed, especially in the summer when you can lie above the covers and have lots of air reach it. This is an often overlooked remedy, though it has been my go-to remedy lately, and I have been incredibly surprised by the results.

2. Boric Acid powder in vegetable capsules, inserted as a suppository (up there)
This is the best single immediate treatment for an advanced yeast infection that I have encountered. It has been effective with me and most people that I've talked to who have tried it. Fill up the large vegetable capsules (available at your local health food store, or online in a place like Mountain Rose Herbs) with boric acid powder (found at a pharmacy like Rite Aid, or on the internet). Make several and keep them around for later. Push 1-2 all the way up your vagina with your finger before bed. Wear thick underwear, as it will all leak out overnight. Use this treatment up to 3 night in a row. If this treatment doesn't work or makes it worse, you may have Bacterial Vaginosis, in which case you should cease this treatment at once. You can get a swab test at the doctor's office if you suspect you may have bacterial vaginosis.

3. Apple cider vinegar or organic white vinegar, dabbed on externally.
This is the best treatment for itching symptoms that I have personally used. You can dilute it with some water and put it on a wash cloth. Dab it on the red and itchy areas to reduce itching. This can be combined with an antifungal tea, such as goldenseal. You can do this as often as you need to.

4. Black walnut hulls, encapsulated powder or tincture, taken orally (2 capsules 3x/day or 2 droppersful 3x/day for 10 days.
This treatment is good to support your entire body in ridding itself of yeast. Sometimes yeast overgrowth in your vagina is a sign of yeast overgrowth all over. If you're getting cloudy and craving sugar, this can be a good idea. You can also find herbal formulas for yeast infections.

5. Coconut oil, topical
Coconut oil is antifungal and can reduce itching. This is especially effective if it is a dry and hot infection. Get a spoonful and apply with finger. It will melt on contact with the skin.

6. Probiotics, encapsulated, taken orally or as a suppository (50-200 billion organisms/day)
Renew Life has a probiotic specifically for vaginal support that I highly recommend. If they are NOT enteric coated (see bottle), you can use it as a suppository, otherwise take it orally. Whatever you take, pay attention to the number of organisms; 5 billion/capsule is considered a low dose, 50 billion/capsule is on the higher end. If I had a serious yeast infection, I would take at least 2 per day of the 50 billion capsules, even though it says to take only one per day on the bottle. Through my own experimentation, I have found high dose probiotics to be one of the quickest things you can do to put your body on track. I highly recommend doing a course of probiotics (go through the whole bottle taking a high dose each day until its gone) periodically, even if you don't have yeast infections. I do it 3-4 times a year.

6. Air it out
This can stop a yeast infection in its first stages, when a slight itch appears. Don't wear underwear to bed, especially in the summer when you can lie above the covers and have lots of air reach it. This is an often overlooked remedy, though it has been my go-to remedy lately, and I have been incredibly surprised by the results.

An Anti-Yeast Lifestyle
1. Reduce the amount of sugar in your diet.
Sugar feeds yeast. It's as simple as that. Even fruit counts here. Most of the time when you have a yeast infection, the yeast will actually facilitate sugar cravings in you, so it may be even more difficult to avoid sugar when you've got an overgrowth. However, I cannot emphasize enough how important this is. Eat foods with lots of garlic and spices. Eat yogurt and saurkraut. Eat lots of greens.

2.  Reduce intercourse when symptoms are bad.
Intercourse can cause yeast infections, and make them worse. Friction on the walls of the vagina can expose dormant yeast cells and trigger overgrowth. Be aware that men can get penile yeast infections from having unprotected sex with women who have vaginal yeast infections. See the herbal recipe below for a treatment for that.

3. Get sunlight and fresh air.
This applies to the vaginal area too. Yeast doesn't like sun or fresh air, but your healthy bacteria do.

Anti-Yeast "cocktail"
     for male or female yeast infections
(inspired by Rosemary Gladstar's recipe)
1 quart water
1/2 tsp part goldenseal or oregon grape
1/2 tsp part Pao d'arco bark
1/2 tsp part marshmallow root
2 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup yogurt (optional)
1 tiny drop of tea tree oil or diluted oregano oil

Bring herbs to a boil in cold water. Turn off heat when it begins to bubble and let sit for one hour, covered. Add ACV just prior to use. Making a double recipe of tea might save you time if you needed to do it again.

For a penis soak: Put mixture into a glass or bowl and dangle penis and testicles into the bowl for 5-10 minutes. Repeat this daily until symptoms disappear. Give it air.

As a vaginal douche: Fill the douche bag with the tea. Lay in the bathtub with your pelvis elevated and let the tea in. Let it sit inside for a while, and then release it. Repeat once or twice a day, depending on the severity of the situation.

COMMENTS: I do not accept comments for the post. Because of the subject material, I received a high volume of spam comments, and thus decided to selectively disallow comments on this particular post. I'd love to hear your comments on any other post here!