Vaginal yeast infections are something most women experience at some point in their lives. This uncomfortable experience, usually not severe in nature, requires medical attention and sometimes medical treatment. Additionally, there are certain natural supplements that can be of good use in combating this type of infection.
What Is a Yeast Infection?
There are multiple types of yeast infections. The focus of this article is on vaginal yeast infections, an infection technically known as Candida albicans. This type of infection is one that most women will have to go through.
Yeast and bacteria are present in the vagina naturally. But, this balance can be disrupted by an overgrowth of yeast or candida bacteria into cell layers, which is one place they don’t belong. Risk factors for a yeast infection include the use of some antibiotics, and increased estrogen levels from pregnancy or use of birth control. An impaired immune system due to sickness or uncontrolled diabetes is also a risk factor.
Experiencing Candida albicans
There are typical, identifiable symptoms of a yeast infection. These are itching and irritation, redness and swelling, unusual discharge, and a burning sensation during urination. These are symptoms associated with a mild-to-moderate yeast infection.
A complicated or severe yeast infection can mean worse and more frequent symptoms. These include severe redness, swelling, and itching; four or more yeast infections in a single year; and a yeast infection caused by an unusual type of fungus.
Treating a Yeast Infection
You should see a doctor if you suspect you have a yeast infection but are not sure, or if this is your first yeast infection. If OTC medications for your yeast infection don’t help, or if other symptoms develop, these are also reasons to see a doctor.
Upon seeing a doctor, he or she might perform certain clinical tests to determine if a yeast infection is present. Two primary methods of treatment are commonly used: short-course vaginal therapy using antifungal medications, or a single dose of a prescription medication clinically known as fluconazole, given orally. These methods and others might be used for persistent yeast infections.
Herbs and Supplements for a Yeast Infection
Certain natural herbs and supplements have the potential to reduce the severity and length of the Candida albicans bacteria. As you ponder using these for a yeast infection, talk to your doctor about their use and any special considerations needed for them. These remedies should be used in tandem with the medicinal and OTC medications for yeast infections, and are not intended to replace them.
Probiotic supplements might be of benefit because they promote the growth of healthy bacteria, which is useful in combating a bacterial yeast infection. Taking a probiotic daily for at least 10 days makes them most effective. There is a lack of scientific evidence supporting probiotics as a cure for yeast infections; But, some doctors recommend probiotics for women who are taking antibiotics, considering their relation to yeast infections.
Garlic is an antifungal agent that is known to help combat bacterial infections. Consuming garlic orally (e.g. in food, or in supplement form) has the potential to work against Candida albicans.
Coconut oil is a fatty oil known for its many uses, mostly dietary. Scientific studies show that coconut oil is effective in combating Candida albicans. Pure, organic coconut oil should be applied directly to the affected area to combat the infection.
Apple cider vinegar can be used to help remedy a vaginal yeast infection if used properly. The acid contained in apple cider vinegar is what works against excess yeast, and harmful bacteria. Undiluted apple cider vinegar should never be applied to the infected area. The proper method is to add half a cup of it to a warm bath, and soak in it for 20 minutes.
Vitamin C is a crucial vitamin for your body’s immune system. Getting a generous amount of vitamin C during a yeast infection has the potential to bolster your body’s immune response against said infection.
Treating a yeast infection usually requires the OTC or prescription medication, and careful and proper use of those treatments. However, the above natural supplements have the potential to be of help in one way or another. If you think they might be of use to you or a family member experiencing a vaginal yeast infection, ponder them and talk to a clinician about it.