Vaginal yeast infection is a common problem in women. Thought it does not pose a serious health risk but causes a great deal of discomfort and irritation.
It can affect anyone from children to adults and both men and women. A significant problem with yeast infections is their tendency to recur and once you have an infection, the chances of suffering from another infection in the future are much higher.
Yeast is a type of microscopic fungi that lives in the human body. The most common type of fungi responsible for yeast infections is known as Candida albicans. Under normal circumstances, a certain amount of yeast is necessary for the healthy functioning of the digestive system and a person’s overall health. The problem arises when the amount of yeast in the body multiplies and overwhelms the normal functioning of the various systems. When this happens a yeast infection occurs and immediate medical treatment is required to prevent the condition from escalating or recurring.
Depending on the area affected, various symptoms will be manifested.
- Itching of the vagina
- Burning sensation while urinating
- Swelling of the skin and increased sensitivity around the vagina
- Increase in vaginal discharge. Discharge ranges from thick and chunky to watery and white
- Vaginal discharge that smells yeasty (as compared to foul smelling vaginal discharge caused by a bacterial infection)
- Pain during sexual intercourse due to the irritation and inflammation of the skin around the vagina
- For men, a yeast infection may show up in the form of itching or irritation around the head of the penis. The head of the penis can become sore and red or there may be an appearance of white bumps.
- Babies or young children who suffer from yeast infections typically suffer from an infection in the mouth and in this case it is referred to as oral thrush. You may notice symptoms such as the appearance of cracks and dryness around the mouth and the most distinctive symptom would be the white patches on the tongue commonly described as having an appearance similar to cottage cheese.
In all groups there are certain common causes or risk factors that include reduced immunity, certain antibiotics, stress, birth control pills, obesity, hormonal changes, etc.
Yeast infections are not STIs, and health experts don’t know for sure if they are transmitted sexually. About 12 to 15 percent of men get an itchy rash on the penis if they have unprotected sex with an infected woman. If this happens to your partner, he should see a doctor. Men who haven’t been circumcised are at higher risk.
To help prevent vaginal yeast infections, you can:
- Avoid douches
- Avoid scented hygiene products like bubble bath, sprays, pads, and tampons
- Change tampons and pads often during your period
- Avoid tight underwear or clothes made of synthetic fibers
- Wear cotton underwear and pantyhose with a cotton crotch
- Change out of wet swimsuits and exercise clothes as soon as you can
- Avoid hot tubs and very hot baths
- Temporarily avoid intercourse, or use condoms, to decrease the risk passing the yeast infection along to your partner. If you have engaged in intercourse and are experiencing continual recurrent yeast infections, your partner may need to be treated as well to clear up the infection and risk passing it back and forth to each other.
Uncomplicated yeast infections, in other words mild to moderate infections, can be treated quite effectively at home. Over the counter treatments are also quite effective and can help significantly, but severe and recurrent infections should be referred to a medical specialist for treatment.
Yogurt, not the sweetened one but plain yogurt with active cultures, can not only soothe your itching and burning but can also cure your infection. The friendly bacteria in yogurt inhibit the growth of yeast.
Eat plain yogurt daily. You can also apply yogurt locally in and around your vagina. Get a cotton ball and soak it in yogurt. Now apply this yogurt all over your infected area. Leave for 20-30 minutes. Wash off with water. Don’t forget to pat dry.
Many studies worldwide have established that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil can, in fact, kill candida yeast. Many physicians use caprylic acid for yeast infections. This acid, along with two more medium chain fatty acids, is found in coconut oil and is capable of killing Candida albicans. Thus, you can take advantage of the natural antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil to treat your vaginal infection.
There are two components of garlic that give it anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties- Allicin and Ajoene. A whole clove of garlic, however, do not contain allicin. Allicin is created only when one of the other components of garlic, alliin, gets combined with the enzyme alliinase, also present in garlic. This happens simply by crushing the garlic clove.
Grapefruit Seed Extract
It has natural antibiotic and antifungal properties that kills the growing yeast along with a wide variety of other pathogens. However, it has to be accompanied with a cleansing diet – a diet which is low in sugar, starches, fermented foods, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol and high in fiber, low starch vegetables, proteins, complex carbohydrates and fruits.
Add 5-10 drops of grapefruit seed extract to 2 cups of clean water. Shake this water well so that the extract gets totally dissolved in it. You may use a closed jar. Wash your infected vaginal area with this water. You may also soak a cotton ball in the water and apply it on the infected area. Do it daily for three days.
There are many essential oils that have strong anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Tea tree oil, grape seed oil, coconut oil, all of them have such properties that can cure your infection.
Get the following oils – Grapeseed oil (carrier oil)- 2 tablespoons, tea tree oil- 2-3 drops, cinnamon oil- 2-3 drops, oregano oil- 2-3 drops, peppermint oil- 2-3 drops, and lemon oil- 2-3 drops. Mix all the oils. Store in a bottle. Using a dropper or soaked cotton ball, apply this oil on the infected area. Let it sit there for few minutes. Wipe off with clean soft cloth. Do this twice a day.
Bathing in lukewarm water with drops of cider vinegar, with particular emphasis on flushing the affected areas with the same will not only prove to be relaxing, but will also help reduce the burning sensation by killing the yeast.
Chances of yeast infection can be substantially reduced by avoiding stuffs like sugar, coffee, and alcoholic drinks. With known affinity of yeast with sugar, eatables based on sugar should also be avoided.