Natural Remedies for Yeast Infections

Yeast infections can occur in various parts of the body such as
the mouth, underarms, and respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts
and can affect men as well as women and children. However, the
overwhelming majority of yeast infections occurs in women and
affects the vaginal/genital areas. Yeast infections are caused by
micro organisms (Primarily Candida Albicans) that are normally
found on healthy human tissue. Problems occur when the natural
balance is upset and the microorganisms increase
disproportionately to the level of good bacteria. The naturally
acidic environment in the vagina usually keeps the levels of
yeast in check. However, if the PH balance (i.e. level of
acidity) is affected then yeast may grow out of control causing
an infection. The acidity of the vagina may be influenced by
factors such as menstruation, pregnancy, birth control pills and
hormonal changes.

Symptoms of yeast infection include:

Itchiness and burning sensation in the vagina and surrounding
areas. Burning may be more severe during urination.

White, usually odorless discharge.

Redness, rash or soreness

Pain during sexual intercourse.

Yeast levels may be affected by many circumstances including:

Use of oral antibiotics – This tends to reduce the levels of good
bacteria which helps the proliferation of yeast.

Use of oral contraceptives or Hormone replacement therapy.
Hormonal changes affect the PH balance of the vagina.

Regular douching.

A warm moist environment promotes yeast growth.

Tight jeans and/or synthetic underwear.

As the old saying goes, "Prevention is better than cure" – There
are many things a woman could do to reduce her risk of suffering
a yeast infection. These include:

Use of cotton rather than synthetic underwear.

Avoiding douching.

While prevention may be desirable, statistics indicate that 3 out
of 4 women will suffer from yeast infection at some point in
life. There is a range of over the counter medications that
include topical and oral treatments. Each has its advantages and
disadvantages. Topical treatments usually provide quicker relief
from symptoms and have less severe side effects. However, in
order to avoid side effects altogether, many women prefer natural
treatments to medication. There are wide ranges of natural
remedies that aim to treat different aspects of the yeast
problem. Many of these natural remedies are just as effective as
the medications. In fact it is believed that natural remedies may
actually help to provide longer lasting control of yeast
problems.

Common natural remedies for yeast include:

Yogurt- This works by trying to re-establish the balance of good
bacteria. Yogurt contains Lactobacillus Acidophilus good bacteria
that helps overcome yeast and keep it in check. Yogurt can be
administered by applying locally to the affected area or by
smearing on a tampon.

Garlic is another popular remedy for yeast infections. Garlic
contains natural anti fungal substances that help to control the
yeast. The garlic can be applied by creating a tampon like
applicator with cheesecloth or gauze.

Tea Tree oil is often used to treat yeast. This can be applied
externally or administered on a tampon.

Hydrogen peroxide is a substance produced by the good bacteria.
When levels of good bacteria fall below desired levels using
hydrogen peroxide could lend a helping hand to keep yeast under
control.

Boric acid capsules may be used to restore the necessary acidic
environment in the vagina. Boric acid capsules are used as
suppositories. The heat of the body melts the capsules and
releases the Boric acid. Other treatments that aim to restore
acidic balance include cider vinegar, lemon juice or Vitamin C
suitably diluted. Douching is not generally recommended in the
absence of infection. However, acid douches can be helpful in
controlling yeast outbreaks.

Treatments with Gentian Violet and Potassium Sorbate have also
had positive results.

In addition to the remedies mentioned above many common
treatments such as slippery elm powder or aloe vera juice are
used to help alleviate symptoms. These treatments have been found
useful in overcoming itchiness.

While there are obvious benefits from adopting natural remedies
for yeast infections it is important to consider the risks of
self-diagnosis and self-treatment. Symptoms of yeast infection
have much in common with other diseases such as Bacterial
Vaginosis, Trichomoniasis, Chlamydia and other vaginal
infections. Misdiagnosis could cause delays in getting
appropriate treatment for these conditions that could result in
complications. Therefore, it is important to consider all
circumstances in determining the most appropriate in an
individual case.

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