Candida vulvovaginitis, or yeast infection is a common health problem among many women. Recent studies indicate that at least 75 percent of women will have experienced yeast infection at least once in their lives, in which 40 percent of them will have recurrent yeast infections. Because of the research conducted to better understand yeast infection, several treatments have been developed to provide relief-both through natural and non-natural ways. However, a lot of people still prefer the natural way, especially the ones that can be easily done at the confines of one’s home.
What Is Yeast Infection In Women?
Yeast infection is known medically as Candidiasis, in which the main cause of the infection is a specific kind of fungus, the Candida Albicans. Yeast thrives in moist but warm areas of the body like the mouth and the vagina. Although a lot of women have been diagnosed with yeast infections, it doesn’t mean that men would not possibly suffer from them. Candida is normally found in humans, albeit in controlled levels, especially in the gastrointestinal tracts. Together with a number of other microorganisms that inhabit the gastrointestinal tracts, candida plays a unique role in maintaining the overall health of the digestive system. This type of fungus destroys any putrefied food matters that would have otherwise been feed on by harmful bacteria and causing them to multiply and cause diseases. Normally, the immune system of the body keeps the level of Candida in the body low and tolerable. Yeast infection only happens because the body failed to keep the candida in check and there is an overgrowth of yeast in the body.
Causes Of Candida Overgrowth
Yeast normally exists in different parts of the body like the crotch, mouth and intestines although in relatively small number. An overgrowth of candida can cause yeast infection and may result in a myriad of unpleasant symptoms. One very common cause of this overgrowth is medicines, particularly antibiotics. Antibiotics are potent medicines against bacterial infections because they effectively kill the bad bacteria that cause the infection. However, along with the bad bacteria, the good ones could also be wiped out by the use of antibiotics. Eliminating the good bacteria would upset the balance wherein other microorganisms, in this case the candida would suddenly flourish.
Another possible cause of candida overgrowth is too much sugar in the body. A diet full of carbohydrates in it could encourage candida overgrowth because sugar is produced when the body breaks down carbohydrates. Sugar promotes the growth of yeast because it provides the fungus the necessary food for them to grow. Other than becoming the food of candida, sugar also triggers a process inside the digestive system that releases acetaldehyde as a by-product. Acetaldehyde is considered as a body toxin that could weaken the immune system, which in turn makes the body defenseless against candida overgrowth.
Hormonal imbalance could also lead to candida overgrowth. Hormones control or regulate many biological processes within the body. Any imbalance of in the hormone, like estrogen for example, also disrupts the balance of microorganisms including the bad and good bacteria in the body. Disruption of that balance may encourage the growth of candida.
Symptoms Of Yeast Infection In Women
Yeast infection may show various symptoms and at times, these symptoms might even be confused with other health problems, especially to people who are not familiar with this kind of fungal infection. The most obvious symptom is itchiness and burning sensation around the infected area. For candida vulvovaginitis, or vaginal yeast infection, the itchiness is felt on the genital area, and at first the sufferer may think that the problem is only due to poor hygiene. However, if the itchiness does not go away even if the person has kept herself hygienic, then the problem may have a deeper cause.
Cottage cheese-like discharges by women may also be a sign of yeast infection. Although women have periodic discharges, those discharges should not have unpleasant starchy odor. Otherwise, one should consider a possibility of having vaginal yeast infection. Another sign of yeast infection is uncomfortable and often painful feeling during sexual intercourse. Fungal infection may have affected the urinary tract of women, which accounts for the pain during sex. However, the sufferer should not discount the possibility that the painful feeling comes from another reason like a possible sexually-transmitted disease.
Home Remedies For Yeast Infection
Natural treatments should always be considered when looking for yeast infection relief because they are safer and less prone to harmful side effects. Depending on the severity of the yeast infection, some simple home remedies may be able to effectively alleviate the discomfort or altogether eliminate the symptoms.
1. Maintaining good hygiene
Yeast infection may be a sign that a person is not practicing proper and good hygiene. The fungus that’s causing the yeast infection releases secretions that could irritate the genitals and causes the uncomfortable feeling. Regularly washing the area with water could help prevent worsening the symptoms and getting relief at the same time. There is always that danger of passing the fungus to other members of the family, especially to children. That is why worn clothes especially the undergarments should be washed right away, or if not possible, they should be put in laundry baskets so they don’t just lie around where kids might just pick them up. Also, good hygiene always helps the “good” bacteria strong so that they’d be able to keep the candida and other harmful microorganisms at bay.
2. Use yogurt
Yogurt contains live “good” microorganisms that can help restore the balance of bad and good bacteria in the body. Because one reason of yeast overgrowth is the disruption of this balance, then surely putting everything back to its rightful place should help relieve the symptoms of the yeast infection. Yogurt can always be eaten, but they may also be directly applied to the outer part of the vagina in order to stop the spread of infection and kill the fungus right away.
3. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is discovered in some studies to be effective remedy for yeast infection. The oil can be applied directly to affected areas by diluting is with water. The substance called terpinen that is found in tea tree oil seems to have the properties that help combat the spread of candida.
Vinegar can also be a good home remedy for yeast infection. Vinegar is very convenient to use because almost all homes have this in their kitchens. Vinegar is simply added to the water used in taking a bath. Though anybody can stay on the water that is mixed with vinegar, actually twenty minutes is only what’s needed for the treatment to take effect.
5. Eat a balanced diet
A balanced diet that consists of fruits, vegetables and whole grains should be helpful in making the immune system stronger in order to fight off infections. Avoiding sugary foods can also be a big help in making sure that the fungus would not have enough “food” to continue growing in numbers. Eating unhealthy foods often results in the weakened state of the body’s immune system, so people with cases of yeast infection should start to watch the kinds of food that they eat.
Garlic is known to have a lot of health benefits. It is a natural antibiotic and could therefore provide soothing relief to yeast infection when little cloves of it are inserted in the vagina for a few hours. Of course, garlic can always be directly eaten too, or added in water.
Yeast infection can cause several symptoms that are often painful or unpleasant. Though they may not cause serious health problems immediately, if left untreated, they could lead to more complicated health conditions. Early detection of possible yeast infection is very crucial in order to get some remedies since mild cases can easily be treated at home with the help of ingredients that are readily available. Should the symptoms still persist or worsen, sufferers must not hesitate to ask for professional help from specialists.