Vaginal yeast infection is something that most women have had at some time in their lives. It is a very uncomfortable condition that is caused by an increase in the normal yeast that is present in the vagina. Doctors usually prescribe an anti-fungal medication that is taken by mouth or as vaginal pessaries (suppositories) but many women prefer to use natural remedies to cure the problem.
The yeast infection can be caused by a number of yeast organisms but Candida Albicans and Candida Glabrata are the most common. Candida Glabrata infections are more difficult to treat and are often resistant to many or the normal anti-fungal drugs.
The most common symptoms are a burning or itching sensation, redness, soreness of the vaginal or vulval area. A vaginal discharge may or may not be present.
The vagina is normally inhabited by a number of microorganisms that create an acidic environment. When the balance of these organisms is upset and/or the pH balance changes yeast can grow out of control and become an infection.
The things that can change the environment are antibiotic or steroid use, diabetes, weakened immune system, hormonal changes such as pregnancy, use of birth control pills and hormone therapy, frequent use of douches or female hygeine sprays. The infection can be passed back and forth between partners unless both are treated.
Many health practitioners believe that recurrent vaginal yeast infections are linked to Candida overgrowth in the bowel. If this is the case then treatment for intestinal yeast overgrowth will also improve the vaginal Candida.
A number of natural remedies can cure the infection without the side effects of drugs.
Tea Tree oil vaginal pessaries (suppositories) have proved very successful for the infection. It is sometimes combined with lavender essential oil. Just be warned that Tea Tree pessaries can sting initially if you are very sensitive. Calendula and goldenseal or echinacea are often combined in a pessary as well. Use one pessary (suppository) every 12 - 24 hours for up to 14 days.
Garlic has anti-fungal properties and a whole clove of peeled garlic can be used as a pessary (suppository). Wrap in a small piece of gauze or fine muslin with trailing ends for easy removal. Dip in vegetable oil to lubricate before inserting into the vagina as high as possible. Use a new clove every 12 hours and continue treatment for at least 5 days.
Researchers in several studies concluded that 600 mg boric acid suppositories or pessaries were just as or more effective in curing vaginal yeast infections than the drugs Fluconazole (Diflucan) and Itraconazole (Sporanox). Boric acid acts as an antifungal and antibacterial. Use 1 every 12 hours and continue for 7 - 14 days.
One company combines boric acid with a number of anti-fungal herbs and essential oils in a product called Yeast Arrest. Many women have found this a wonderful natural remedy for the cure of persistent infection with yeast. Just be aware that it can cause irritation and burning in a few very sensitive people.
Some practitioners recommend using acidophilus capsules in addition to the boric acid. In some cases it is possible for acidophilus to make the pH environment too acid for the good bacteria so discontinue if it is making the condition worse.
Although regular douching can alter the pH balance of the vagina and contribute to yeast overgrowth douching with anti-fungal herbs and other substances can be a useful health remedy against yeast infections.
Mix 1 teaspoon of ordinary 3% hydrogen peroxide from your chemist or pharmacy with 1 cup of water and use as a douche once a day until your symptoms improve.
Pau D'Arco Tea
To make the tea put 1 heaping tablespoon of Pau D'Arco Tea into a saucepan and add 1 quart (1 liter) of water. Bring to boil and simmer on lowest heat possible for 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Strain and use as a douche alternately with garlic tea. You can drink the tea as well. Keep any surplus in a lidded glass jar in the fridge.
Garlic is a natural anti-fungal. Bring 4 cups pure water to the boil. Turn off heat and add 4 - 5 crushed cloves of garlic.Let steep for 20 minutes before straining. Allow to cool to body temperature before using.
Grapefruit seed extract
Make a douche solution with 6 - 10 drops to each cup of water.
How to douche
You can get various douche kits. The best ones consist of a bag or rigid container and a length of tubing with a clamp and douche nozzle. Many instructions tell you to use a bulb douche standing up but the solution will stay in contact with your vaginal tissues longer if you lie down in an empty bath and allow the solution to run in slowly. Any remaining inside you will come out when you stand up.
Hang the bag about 2 feet above the level of your pelvis. Always use the solution at body temperature and make sure you sterilize the douche nozzle and container afterwards with a natural sterilizer such as grapefruit seed extract.
Wear only cotton panties. Avoid wearing panty hose or tights Wear skirts and not trousers,slacks or jeans. Avoid wearing pajamas. Follow an anti Candida diet.
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