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The dreaded Y word. YEAST INFECTIONS.
The culprit of many unhappy and itchy females and males worldwide. Yes, you heard me correctly males as well.
Over the last ten years of my life, I have battled with yeast infections and have done everything and anything to make it go away! I use to think that I was the only one with yeast infections, and I was super shy to share with anyone my struggle, that all changed when I started to really understand what a yeast infection really was and most importantly how to get rid of it for good! really understand what a yeast infection really was and most importantly how to get rid of it for good!
Here’s is the kicker….
It is not as hard as you think to get rid of a yeast infection. The key is really understanding what is going on in your body and how you got it in the first place.
If you’re ready to live itch-free, then keep on reading!
Ok, let’s be real here…
Yeast infections suck. I haven’t met anyone to date, that loves getting a yeast infection. Over the years, I have learned two things. The yeast infection struggle is real worldwide and not many people really understand how you get a yeast infection in the first place.
So let’s start off by talking about what a yeast infection is.
WHAT IS A YEAST INFECTION
A yeast infection is caused by an OVERGROWTH of yeast (which is a type of fungus). There are many names that associated with a yeast infection – vaginitis, Candidal vaginitis, or Candidal vulvovaginitis. The scientific name for the yeast that causes vaginitis is Candida.
In the average female, it is estimated that there is 20% -50% yeast already present in the body. The problem is not the yeast itself. However, when there is an overgrowth of yeast in our body, that is when things start to go bad down south (literally).
WHO CAN GET A YEAST INFECTION
To sum it up nicely, everyone. Yeast infections are usually associated with females, but males can get yeast infections as well. Believe it or not, but even female babies to get yeast infections.
HOW DO FEMALES GET A YEAST INFECTION
Yeast infections are quite common. Up to 75% of females will struggle with a yeast infection at some point in their life. So where exactly do these nasty infections come from?
Let’s find out…
OVERGROWTH OF YEAST
Yeast infections can manifest on their own inside of the body of a female. As I mentioned, we do have yeast present in our bodies, but it is the overgrowth of this yeast that really causes us some issues.
So how exactly does this overgrowth happen?
There are a number of factors that could cause a yeast infection, such as, oral contraceptives, hormonal imbalances, pregnancy, weak immune system and even our diet.
Check out our Candida Guidebook & Checklistfor an in-depth understanding of yeast overgrowth.
A yeast infection can be spread by sexual contact (hence how men get yeast infections). Even though yeast infections can be spread through sexual contact, it is not considered a sexually transmitted disease.
When we have a hormonal imbalance in our body, that can disrupt the healthy yeast in our body, and trigger an overgrowth of yeast. Things such as oral contraceptives, medications, pregnancy, and chemotherapy can really mess with our hormones and throw our bodies PH levels out of balance.
Did you know that there are certain things that we consume, that can really cause some severe overgrowth of yeast in your body?
Yep, there is.
Last year, I was completely fed up with my constant battle with yeast infections I went to a specialist. I cannot even begin to tell describe the amount of interesting facts I learned about the female body. One of the biggest takeaways was that a diet that is high in carbohydrates and sugar was a major contributor to yeast infections.
I also learned that having healthy gut bacteria was a great way to prevent an overgrowth of yeast (more on that later).
MEDICATIONS AND TREATMENTS
I am always very cautious about anything I put into my body, but I was not always that way. Now that I think about it, I am confident that taking oral contraceptives for ten years, probably did not help my yeast infection struggle.
Certain medications and treatments will alter your hormones and even kill healthy gut bacteria (which can lead to yeast overgrowth).
It has also been shown that treatments like chemotherapy can really open your up to a nasty yeast infection. Even though chemotherapy may be your best option to fighting a life-threatening illness, it does weaken your immune system.
Yes, bringing life into the world is definitely a beautiful thing. But, being pregnant does have some not so glamorous side effects.
CAN YOU SAY UNCONTROLLABLE HORMONES?
When I was pregnant, my hormones were all over the place. Sometimes, I felt like I didn’t even recognize myself. One minute I was crying to laundry detergent commercials, the next minute I was a raging monster.
So there is no surprise that being pregnant can make you more susceptible to yeast infections. You’re carrying life inside you and your body is changing rapidly.
Did you know that things like lace panties and scented laundry detergent and douches could kick-start a yeast infection?
They sure can!
As cute as the lace panties are, for me personally they are a nightmare. Lace panties are almost as bad as sitting in a wet bathing suit. Both for me are a rapid breeding ground for yeast.
Other things such as scented laundry soap, perfumes, and douches are a trigger for ladies that are sensitive.
Check out my HOME REMEDIES TO CURE A YEAST INFECTION GUIDEBOOK, where I share all of the products I use to keep my body and vagina super happy and healthy.
Now that we know the many ways you can get a yeast infection, let’s talk about the symptoms and signs of a yeast infection.
Alright, so it is about to get a little graphic, so if you’re squeamish then skip to the HOW TO TREAT YEAST INFECTIONS section of this article.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A YEAST INFECTION – FEMALE
If you’re not too sure if you have ever had a yeast infection, I would suggest going through the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection below.
Some of the main signs and symptoms of a yeast infection are things such as:
→ Vaginal discharge that is thicker than usual often described as looking like cottage cheese
→ White-greyish in color, usually odorless
→ An intense itch or burning sensation of the vaginal area
→ Pain during urination and sexual intercourse
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF A YEAST INFECTION – MALE
As I mentioned, men too can have yeast infections.
Here are some of the main signs and symptoms of a yeast infection in males:
→ Burning and itching around the head of the penis.
→ Redness and swelling
→ Small, rash-like bumps called papules, which may have pus.
→ Pain during urination or sex
So you may be wondering, how do I treat a yeast infection?
Well, there are a number of ways that you can treat a yeast infection. I am going to share with you to different options – a natural approach and an over- the- counter alternative.
HOW DO I TREAT A YEAST INFECTION
Even though I am a big fan of a natural/proactive approach to treating a yeast infection, it was not always this way. It was simply because I lacked the knowledge around yeast infections.
I now approach my body with a holistic approach, a proactive versus reactive approach.
However, when you’re super comfortable and want a remedy quick, the solution is not far out of reach.
If you have a health coverage, you can go to your doctor to get a prescription for your yeast infection.
ANTIFUNGAL CREAMS FOR YEAST INFECTIONS
Doctors usually prescribe an antifungal cream to help ease the discomfort of itching and swelling around the vulva. These vaginal creams usually come packaged with a dispenser, so that you apply the right amount of cream.
Common examples of creams available over the counter include:
There are also creams that cover different strains of yeast and are only available with a prescription:
→ Terconazole (Terazol)
→ Butoconazole (Gynazole-1)
Just a rule of thumb, the more concentrated the cream, the short period of application.
ORAL ANTIFUNGAL MEDICATIONS FOR YEAST INFECTIONS
I personally have taken an oral medication for a yeast infection, called fluconazole (Diflucan). The purpose of this medication is to kill all the yeast in your body.
This medication was successful but it came with some major side effects. I had a bad stomach ache almost instantly after taking the medication, and was really dizzy.
This medication is NOT meant for females who are pregnant because it can cause birth defects and miscarriages.
Now, let’s talk about some remedies you can buy just at your local drugstore, without a prescription:
Monistat 7 Simple Cure Feminine Antifungal Cream is a cream that is to be inserted into your vagina over a 7 day period. The cream will clearly the yeast overgrowth from the inside. It also includes an exterior vaginal cream to help with the discomfort of itching and burning. I had great success with this brand.
Vagisil is another brand that I absolutely love. I use a ton of Vagisils products. Although they do not have a treatment for a yeast infection, they do have a wonderful cream that will help soothe the burning and itching outside of your vagina almost instantly.
Vagisil also has a wide range of products that will help you keep your vagina happy and healthy. Check out my HOME REMEDIES TO CURE A YEAST INFECTION GUIDEBOOKwhere I talk about some of my favorite Vagisil products.
For those of you that like the more natural approach to healing your body, let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can heal your yeast infection naturally
If you have searched the internet to find natural remedies to cure your yeast infection, you probably were left feeling confused. That confusion is most likely because many of these natural approaches have very little clinical data showing that these remedies are effective.
Today, I am going to share with you, the remedies that I myself have either used or have had a friend or family member use, and our personal experiences with these natural approaches.
Though some positive anecdotal reports can be found on the Internet, most natural remedies for yeast infections are not (yet) supported by rigorous clinical studies.
FOOD AND PROBIOTICS
I was told by the professional I was seeing for my yeast infections, that we can use food to heal our body (that includes our vagina).
She encouraged me to consume yogurts because of the “good bacteria” culture that was food in it. She often said to me ” healthy gut means healthy vagina”. I use to laugh every time she said it because it seemed so bizarre. But, she was right.
I consumed a cup of probiotic-filled yogurt and also took a probiotic tablet in the morning. Read Dr. David Williams article on the How to Choose the Best Probiotic.
Truthfully, I still used Vagisil cream for the outside of my vagina, to curb the discomfort. After about 7 days on my yogurt and probiotics, I noticed a difference.
As I mentioned before, I like to be proactive with my body, instead of reactive. I take a probiotic every day, and I have not had a yeast infection in over a year.
I have heard from many ladies that if you take cloves of garlic and placing it in your vagina at night works wonders for yeast infections. Again, there are no clinical studies to back up this method, but I do have a friend who tried this method. She gave it big thumbs down.
TEA TREE OIL
I personally have tried the tea tree oil method. Essentially you dip a tampon in diluted tea tree oil ( I used water to dilute it) and insert the tampon at bedtime.
This method did work for me after three days of the same routine each night, but I must warn you, it burned. So I had to apply the Vagisil cream on the exterior of my vagina.
Again, I am not expert in the vagina, but this method did work for me.
DOUCHING WITH VINEGAR
If you’re douching, please stop. Many of the douches on the market contain perfume. If you’re sensitive down south, this is probably one of the worst methods to try.
I was also told by my doctor that using a vinegar douche is not good for the vagina because it stripes away the healthy bacteria that live inside of our vagina. This throws off our PH levels and perpetuates the cycle of yeast infections.