Vaginal infections are inconvenient to say the least. They’re itchy and inconvenient (a new patient once told me that she needed a natural remedy right away or she’d buy Brillo Pads! ), and they can become painful if there’s a lot of local irritation. The majority of vaginal infections are caused by one of several species of yeasts (fungi) belonging to the Candida family, which is why they are referred to as “yeast infections.” probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
In otherwise healthy women, yeast infections aren’t hazardous. In fact, most of these organisms exist in a healthy balance as a typical part of our vaginal flora. However, certain events might send them into overdrive and make people believe they have complete control. This usually occurs when the vaginal pH or microbiome is altered, or when your gut microbiota is out of balance or your blood sugar is too high. That’s when these normally minor participants in your vaginal ecosystem can produce itchy, irritable, burning vaginas and vulvas (the exterior portions down there), frequent urination, and, in some cases, discharge and a moderate yeasty odor.
Preventing and Treating Yeast Infections the Natural Way
Yeast infections respond best to a two-pronged attack: use vaginal probiotics and, if necessary, herbal remedies to reduce their numbers while restoring balance to your microbiome and overall health. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
Natural yeast infection treatment is often quite effective for mild to severe infections, excellent for preventing recurrence, and completely safe. This method is even used during pregnancy in my practice. Promoting healthy vaginal flora, avoiding things that trigger infection, treating the infection, and healing sensitive tissue if there has been a lot of irritation are the “PATHS” to treatment. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
If you have a current yeast infection that started recently (this should ideally be confirmed by your primary medical provider), or if you wish to prevent a yeast infection from repeating, check over the triggers listed below and make sure you’re avoiding them for at least a few weeks. (If you’re having a lot of recurrences, cut out sugar and alcohol for a couple of months.) All chemical exposures should be eliminated permanently because they are also endocrine disruptors and pose an unnecessary health risk. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
Step 1: Get rid of the triggers.
Here are six major triggers that throw your vaginal microbiome off by altering local pH, destroying healthy local flora, or raising blood sugar – all of which are likely to have caused your yeast infection to arise or repeat. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
- Sugary foods: Yeast adores sugar (you’ve seen it in action if you’ve ever cooked bread!) Sugar also inhibits a healthy immune response, making yeast infections a double whammy. Do you consume too much sugar? It’s time for a sugar cleanse! Getting off the yeast infection treadmill – and taking care of your health in the long run – requires restoring blood sugar balance if you have chronically raised blood sugar. probioticseverything.com
- Alcohol: Sorry, ladies, but alcohol is one of the most common causes of yeast infections in my practice, and even that healthy red wine feeds the yeast (after all, what is wine if not yeast and sugar?!!). So, at the very least, give up the cocktails (which are also high in sugar) and all alcohol until your body is back in balance. When you’re out with pals and you know you’re going to have that drink anyway, why not? Mix tequila or vodka with sparkling water and a squeeze of lime or cranberry juice. I promise it’s just as tasty and buzz-worthy — and it’s lower on the sugar meter.
- Fragrances, softeners, chemicals in your toilet paper, menstrual products, soaps, and other products can all be harmful to your vaginal health. Clean and green menstrual products are worth the investment, and only use natural, unscented products in and around your vulva and vagina.
- Antibiotics: Antibiotics play Russian roulette with your gut and vaginal flora, killing both “good guys” and “bad guys” in equal measure, allowing the more resilient organisms to take over. Unfortunately, most antibiotics are overprescribed, so the first step is to determine whether you actually require the one being supplied. If you do, combine it with a few weeks of a decent probiotic product that lists a combination of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium strains.
Step 2: Add probiotics to your diet.
The use of vaginally and orally vaginal-friendly probiotics will be your major treatment.
Take 1-2 capsules of Lactobacillus reuteri and Lactobacillus rhamnosus orally for 6-24 weeks, depending on the severity of your current symptoms or how often you experience recurrences, again, dependent on the severity and frequency of your yeast infection. In general, you should take them every day until you’ve been free of illness for 6 months.
You’ll alternate products vaginally, using the above product blend one day and a Lactobacillus crispatus-containing product the next. Several studies have now shown that these three probiotic strains may significantly improve the vaginal ecology and heal and prevent vaginal yeast infections, both by restoring local flora and resetting the gut microbiome. To insert the capsule, hold it in your fingers like a tampon and slowly push it back the length of your finger or until you feel resistance – whichever happens first. If you’re doing this therapy during the day, you might want to wear a light pad, or apply it before night and allow it dissolve and work while you sleep.
Take a multivitamin if you haven’t been eating well to help boost your immune system, and try adaptogens if you fear stress is leaving you vulnerable or throwing your system off.
Step 3: Heal your intestines
While a one-time yeast infection may not require more than the treatment described above, repeated infections are usually an indicator that gut healing is required. Getting rid of sugar and simple carbohydrates from your diet, as well as taking the probiotics mentioned earlier, is crucial. It’s also vital to have a balanced diet that includes good quality protein, 6-8 servings of vegetables each day, gut-friendly fiber from complex whole grains, legumes, and flax seed, and at least 1/4 cup of lactofermented vegetables per day. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
Step 4: Heal the irritant
These remedies can help you repair inflamed, irritated, and even injured tissue if you have a lot of local irritation (burning, burning when you urinate, frequent urination owing to irritation or itching). Choose one or two options; the suppositories are excellent when the yeast infection is proving difficult to treat and you want to try something natural before resorting to medication. You can do the following:
- For 3-5 days, apply 2 tablespoons of live active culture yogurt to the vagina and vulva. Use your fingers or a vaginal applicator to apply inside the vaginal canal. This is calming to sensitive tissue and also contains probiotics, so you’ll get additional benefits.
- Many herbs have therapeutic characteristics that can be used to treat vaginal infections on a topical basis. To treat irritated and inflamed tissue, freely apply aloe vera gel to the vulva. Make sure it’s pure aloe gel with no additional preservatives, as preservatives, like citric acid, can burn delicate skin. Keep a peri-rinse bottle (available at any pharmacy) near the toilet filled with filtered water or, preferably, calendula tea (1 teaspoon calendula to 1 cup boiling water, steep 30 minutes, strain, cool, and put in peri-bottle), 1 teaspoon sea salt, and 5 drops lavender essential oil to help resolve irritation and cut down on yeast growth. Before each usage, give it a good shake. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
Herbal suppositories made at home with a blend of herbs specifically for vaginal yeast infections can provide effective, calming treatment, mend tissue, and have antibacterial action in the vaginal canal, reducing yeast levels while probiotics restore balance. Following the steps below, you may create a huge quantity of your own at a moderate cost. Keep them frozen until you need them, then defrost them as needed. probioticseverything.comprobiotic suppositories
One of my favorite suppository combinations for treating vaginal yeast infections is this one.
1 pound of cocoa butter
coconut oil (1/2 cup)
3 tbsp calendula essential oil
a quarter teaspoon of thyme essential oil
a quarter teaspoon of lavender essential oil
2 tbsp powdered goldenseal root