About 75% of women will suffer from this fungus, which causes an irritation of the vagina and the area around it.
A naturopath says:
There are actually three types of vaginal infections that may appear to be a yeast infection due to their similar symptoms. Bacterial vaginosis is the most common infection, and happens when bacteria replace healthy organisms in the vagina. Candidiasis is a true “yeast infection”—that is, an overgrowth of a strain of yeast called Candida albicans as a result of a disruption in the pH balance in the vagina. Finally, trichomoniasis is another type of infection and is considered a sexually transmitted disease. Unless you’re absolutely certain it’s yeast, you need a doctor to help with the diagnosis.
TREATMENT: While bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis often require prescription medications, yeast infections are generally easy to treat with natural remedies. Scientific evidence has shown that boric acid inhibits the grown of Candida albicans. Depending on the severity of the infection, I might have a patient insert a boric acid capsule twice a day for three to seven days. Berbarine, tea tree oil [which can be inserted via a tampon], neem oil and goldenseal are also good remedies; talk to your health care provider about the best way to proceed. If your infection doesn’t resolve, other health problems may be involved—talk to your doctor about getting tested for diabetes, thyroid dysfunction and HIV virus.
—Tori Hudson, N.D., author of the Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 2nd Edition
A holistic nutritionist says: Food plays a role in helping to treat yeast infections and prevent them. A diet rich in sugar and refined carbohydrates can make you more susceptible to yeast infections because yeast feeds on sugar in the body. Excess weight will also increase your predisposition to yeast infections, because extra fat can lead to insulin resistance, which keeps more sugar circulating in the body.
TREATMENT: Reach for yogurt with live active cultures or a probiotic supplement to help repopulate your system with healthy bacteria. Eat a diet rich in vegetables and whole grains to boost your immune system. Reach for every kind of fresh
vegetable—particularly immune-boosting powerhouses like sweet potatoes and dark leafy greens. Include whole grains such as quinoa, millet, barley and brown rice. And boost the amount of water you drink to 10 to 12 eight-ounce glasses a day, which will help deliver nutrients to your cells and eliminate waste. You’ll also want to scale back on portions when you’re fighting a yeast infection. If your body is spending too much time trying to digest large amounts of food, it’ll have less energy to spend on other important functions—like working to restore the optimal vaginal pH balance.
—Wendy Bazilian, Dr.P.H., R.D., a dietitian in San Diego
A homeopath says: Homeopathy is based upon the notion that like cures like, so the go-to, first-line therapy for curing yeast infections in homeopathy is a diluted form Candida albicans, a key ingredient in many homeopathic yeast tablets and suppositories. That might sound counterintuitive—put more of the stuff in when you’re trying to get rid of it? But it works in much the same way allergy shots do. If you’re allergic to ragweed, for example, an allergist will give you a shot of diluted ragweed.
TREATMENT: Try the remedy Candida albicans first; look for a 30C remedy, and take two to four pellets under your tongue four times a day for three days, or until your symptoms improve. If that doesn’t provide enough relief, choose among the following remedies to find the one that most closely matches your symptoms: Kreosotum is good for discharge that’s very irritating
and has a bad odor, with lots of redness, rawness, and pain during and after urination; pulsatilla works for cases with less pain and bland discharge; sepia is a good choice when there is a yellowish discharge and a bearing-down sensation—as if everything is going to come out; Calcarea carbonica is a good remedy for patients who are overweight, flabby, and crave sweet and salty foods; borax is best for cases in which there is a rash in the area, and the discharge is sticky and runny with the consistency of egg whites.
—Timothy Fior, M.D., a family practitioner and homeopath practicing in Lombard, Ill.