Natural Remedies for Yeast Infections
By Charles Hopkins
Published 09/20/2007 | Health
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.
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.
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
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
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.