Yeast infections are unfortunately a fact of life for some women. What does a yeast infection look like and what are the signs of a yeast infection? Some women who have not yet experienced a yeast infection may wonder what the symptoms of this condition are and more importantly, what they can do to prevent one.
Or, if you are currently suffering from a yeast infection, there’s no question that you are going to be wondering how you can get past it – as quickly as possible. Having a yeast infection is not fun so it’s one condition you want gone in a hurry.
To get a primer on yeast infections and how your gut environment can play a role in this, check out the video below.
Let’s now take some time to go over what is a yeast infection, what are the signs of a yeast infection, and what steps you can take to get past a yeast infection before it starts.
What Is A Yeast Infection?
First, realize that yeast infections are very common and affects up to 75% of women at some point in their lifetime. It’s not something to be embarrassed about if you are suffering but rather, something to take action to protect yourself against.
Most yeast infections occur due to the infection from vaginal yeast called candida albicans. Now this yeast does occur naturally and is not problematic when at normal levels. Typically it is kept in check by another bacteria called lactobacillus. When the lactobacillus is not functioning optimally however and levels of candida albicans start to grow higher, this is what then results in you suffering from a yeast infection.
When this yeast is present in high numbers in the vagina, the symptoms of yeast infection can start to form including:
· Pain with urination and intercourse
Please note that not all women experience all of these symptoms, however they are quite common.
Also note, that as a woman, you can spread your yeast infection to a man through sexual contact. However, because they are not originally spread by sexual intercourse, they are not listed as an STD. Women who are not sexually active can still get yeast infections, therefore this disqualifies it as being considered an STD.
Some of the factors that can increase your risk of developing a yeast infection include uncontrolled diabetes, a weakened immune system, poor eating habits (consumption of too much sugar and processed foods) as well as stress and a lack of sleep can also be contributing factors.
In addition to that, a hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle may also put you at a greater risk for the development of yeast infections. If you are getting recurring yeast infections at a certain point in your cycle, noting this and taking action when you approach that time will be a wise move.
So what can you do when you feel a yeast infection brewing? What’s the best way to get past a yeast infection and get back to a place of comfort?
Let’s look at the best natural treatment strategies you can use to combat yeast infections. Keep in mind that many doctors will be quick to prescribe antibiotics for you to take and while this will kill off the harmful bacteria in the vagina, it also kills off all the good bacteria, and is therefore not an ideal solution.
1. Clean The Affected Area
Since yeast is going to thrive in dark, moist places, you’ll want to be sure to keep your skin very clean and dry at all times. It’s also very essential that you avoid any open cuts that are near the yeast infection, so this means you may want to refrain from shaving for a few days.
Just one small nick of the shaver could lead to an open cut, which then invites the yeast to enter the bloodstream.
You should be diligent with washing the genital area with soap each and every day, drying it off thoroughly after you are finished.
It’s also important to make sure that you are wiping front to back after using the bathroom as well to prevent the spread of additional bacteria, which can make your yeast infection even worse.
Likewise, after sexual intercourse, be sure that both partners are thoroughly cleaning their genitals to prevent the spread of the yeast infection or making it worse in the affected partner. If a man is particularly concerned about getting a yeast infection, it will be best to abstain from sexual intercourse until his partner knows that she no longer infected.
2. Use Breathable Underwear
Again, if you are wearing tight underwear that doesn’t breathe well, this is not going to improve your ability to combat yeast infections. It’ll increase the level of moisture in and around the vaginal area, giving the yeast an opportunity to thrive.
Instead, focus on breathable panties and preferably ones that aren’t overly tight. For the time being, you may even consider wearing boxer shorts while at home to give the vagina a chance to breathe. Any underwear you do wear at this time should be cotton, which gives optimal breathability.
On top of that, avoid wearing stockings or tights, which also trap air and moisture, and will keep the vagina area very warm.
3. Supplement With Probiotics
Perhaps one of the best things that you can do to combat the yeast infection is to supplement with a high quality probiotic such as P3-OM. Since the biggest contributing factor when dealing with a yeast infection is an imbalance between good and bad bacteria, the probiotic will help to put more good bacteria in your system, helping you take control over this issue.
One study published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy noted that when women who had a past history of frequent cases of yeast infections were treated with probiotics, they showed vaginal environments that mirrored that of normal women, helping prevent future recurrences.
Adding these good probiotics to your day will also help to strengthen your immune system, keeping your body ready to fight off the infection as quickly as possible.
Since a weak immune system is something that is a contributing risk factor for developing yeast infections, using a quality probiotic on a regular basis is a great way to help prevent the problem from occurring again in the future.
Remember this should not just be about treating the current yeast infection but also seeing what you can do down the road to prevent future yeast infections from occurring as well.
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4. Cut The Sugar
If there’s one thing that candida yeast tends to thrive on, it’s a steady diet of sugar. If you are in the habit of consuming too many processed foods and those high in simple sugar in your diet, it’ll be important that you start making some nutritional changes to remove these from the plan.
Not only do sugar rich foods weaken your immune system because they rob the body of other nutrient dense foods that you need, but they also creates a hospitable environment for which yeast can grow.
For those with a serious case of candida overgrowth, it may be necessary to eliminate all forms of sugar from the diet for the time being. This includes any form of processed snacks, refined grain products (such as white bread), as well as conventional dairy products.
In some cases, even fruit may need to be removed from the diet until the yeast infection clears up. After that, it can be added back in with small doses until you know that you have the proper dose for your body that won’t lead to yeast infections. Be sure that you are also supplementing with a high quality digestive enzyme product as well such as MassZymes when adding these foods back into the diet to ensure that you are able to break them down and utilize them without an issue.
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5. Take A Look At Your Products
In some cases, the products that you are using could be leading to infection, making the situation become that much worse. You’ll want to take a look at all the products you are using including condoms, latex soaps, bath oils, as well as tampons to see which of these may be contributing to your problem. A glycerin based lubricant can provide fuel that the yeast can feed on as well. So instead, stick to a water based lubricant which should produce better results in terms of preventing unwanted yeast infections.
Try removing the products you are using one by one (or remove them all at first and then add them in, one at a time) so that you can figure out what the potential cause of discomfort is.
Sometimes these products contain certain fragrances, oils, or other additives that are causing irritation to your vagina and that you may actually be allergic to.
Instead, look for natural alternatives to these whenever possible.
6. Talk To Your Doctor About Hormonal Factors
In some women, hormonal issues can be increasing their likelihood of suffering from a yeast infection. Until they are able to better control this hormonal problem, they may find it hard to overcome the yeast infection that is taking place.
If you are a woman who is suffering from high progesterone levels for instance, this can really increase your risk of suffering from yeast infections. This is because progesterone increases the formation of glycogen in the body, which is a natural starch that is easily convertible to sugar.
This gives the yeast a higher amount of food to feed off of, potentially making the problem that much worse.
Getting hormone tests done by your doctor to check your hormonal status and then looking at treatments to optimize your hormonal status may be in order.
7. Control Your Blood Sugar Levels
Take note that those who have diabetes and who also suffer from uncontrolled blood sugar levels may likewise have problems as well.
It’s very important for anyone who is suffering from diabetes to ensure they are keeping their blood sugar levels properly managed and in check. Do all that you can through a proper diet and exercise program to achieve this.
8. Check Your Birth Control
Consider whether you are using birth control pills and if so, what variation of pills you are taking. Pills that are estrogen based, which includes combination pills, may cause an increase in yeast to form.
If you are suffering from yeast infections on a regular basis, you may want to consider switching to a progestin only pill or using an IUD instead.
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9. Try Essential Oils
Certain essential oils are also beneficial in terms of combating yeast infections by killing the yeast itself. Tea tree oil, lavender oil, as well as myrrh oils have all been utilized and can used topically on the areas outside of the vagina. You should mix four or five drops with some coconut oil and then spread this onto the body.
Do keep in mind however that not every woman will respond to the oil in the same manner. If you start using the oil and find that it is aggravating your symptoms or causing new symptoms to come on, discontinue use immediately.
10. Control Your Stress
Finally, make sure that you are doing all you can to control your stress levels. Chronic stress can weaken your immune system, which increases your risk factor for suffering from conditions such as yeast infections as well as infections of any variety.
Managing stress is critical to improving all aspects of your health, so consider this an ongoing element that you need to be working on.
So there you have a closer look at some of the natural treatments that you should look into and consider if you are suffering from yeast infection symptoms. Yeast infections definitely are not pleasant, but with the right approach, you can put them behind you.
Do you have any experience with yeast infections? What did you find helped you get past this problem? Comment below. We’d love to hear your story.
Falagas, Matthew E., Gregoria I. Betsi, and Stavros Athanasiou. “Probiotics for prevention of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis: a review.” Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 58.2 (2006): 266-272.