It’s not even a subject for discussion as it’s as embarrassing as it is irritating. Women can only confide about it with their closest friends and relatives. When it becomes chronic, they have no choice but to see their physician. Yeast infections can often drive one mad, especially when it becomes chronic. Unfortunately, some are more susceptible to the condition than others. If a person has had it before, she’d be familiar with the symptoms when it recurs, and there are things she can do to prevent these.
The Common Causes of Recurring Yeast Infections
People often think that yeast infections are all due to poor hygiene. They are partly right but there more reasons why they happen. Many studies have shown that the occurrence can be attributed to genetics, physical contact, pregnancy, menopause, and others. One can be as clean as possible but may still be susceptible. Here are the common causes of recurring yeast infections
A person’ DNA could be a culprit. Genetic mutations concerning the immune system can be a reason why some women contract the infection more than others. The fungus Candida albicans is the most responsible agent that can cause chronic vaginal infections. According to studies, a healthy immune system can always detect the presence and growth of the fungi Candida albicans and will launch a defense by creating proteins to destroy them.
But for women with that genetic mutation, their immune system cannot create such proteins to counter the fungi’s presence. This could also be the reason why the infection is common to members of the same family.
The woman’s sexual partner could also be a suspect. Surprisingly, women don’t have the monopoly of getting yeast infections. Men too are susceptible, and the condition is called balanitis, and this is characterized by soreness, itchiness, and reddening of the penis. It’s transmitted through sex. Circumcised men are less susceptible for obvious reasons. Women who can clear out their infection can re-acquire it if her partner isn’t yet cleared.
Pregnancy. Hormonal changes in pregnant women will make their vaginal secretions contain more sugar than normal. The sugars will induce the growth of the Candida fungus as they will feed on the excess sugar. Furthermore, the hormonal changes will kill off the “good bacteria” that keep the Candida fungi in check.
Panty liners. Moist conditions encourage the growth of fungi. For women, it’s therefore important that they keep their panties dry to avoid getting a yeast infection. What about panty liners? They aren’t recommended for women who are susceptible to recurring yeast infections for the simple reason that the liners prevent the flow of air and trap moisture. These are ideal conditions for the fungi to thrive. The liners can also make the yeast concentration denser, and this can worsen the infection.
A weakened immune system. Medications that suppress the immune system will make one more prone to yeast infections. Using steroids, for instance, will counteract the inflammation that’s required as the first step in the immune response. This inhibition will certainly make it difficult for the immune system to fight off a yeast infection. Diseases which target the immune system like leukemia and HIV can let yeast thrive.
High blood sugar levels. Candida yeast has an affinity for sugar. This could be some reason why diabetic women have a higher chance of getting recurring yeast infections, more especially so if they don’t control their blood sugar levels and sugar intake. If one isn’t a diabetic but indulges heavily in carbohydrates, she is setting up the conditions where yeast can thrive in.
Approaching menopause. Menopause always involves some radical hormonal changes, and these shifts can create an imbalance in the vaginal bacteria which can trigger the growth of the Candida fungi.
Disability may be a factor too. Sitting for long hours can produce a moist environment that will be conducive to recurring yeast infections. People with disabilities who use wheelchairs are susceptible. Even people with incontinence problems are also likely to develop the infection.
Get Rid of Recurring Yeast Infections for Good
Yeast infections are causing anguish and discomfort for a lot of women every year. This also includes infections that recur even after treatment. A good 75% of women, sad to say, have and will experience vaginal yeast infections sometime in their lives.
Need we ask what’s the main cause of a yeast infection? The answer is right there, YEAST! Those fungi that you see growing in dead plants and trees are quite like those that can cause vaginal infections, but these grow within the body and not outdoors. To an extent, the yeast that causes vaginal infections including Candida can be harmless. They are already present in those private parts. But its levels may reach a point where they take over the “good bacteria” which will result in a yeast infection.
Fortunately, there are many natural steps that one can take to rid herself of vaginal infections and hopefully, for good. Treatment can be achieved through supplements, essentials oils, probiotics, and a nutrient-rich diet, and. Consider the following natural remedies:
Keep the skin dry and clean. Given the right conditions, the yeast will thrive. Deprive them of such; they will not. Candida loves moisture. Don’t give them this satisfaction by keeping the skin dry, clean, and free from scrapes, and wounds. Good hygiene is key to prevent infections.
When taking a bath, wash the genital areas with soap and water, dry off the area well after showering. Remember that the fungi thrive in moisture, so pat the vagina dry after each bath.
Following intimacy with a partner, always wash the genital area and pat that dry. This applies to both men and women as either one can transmit the disease to his/her partner. Women are more likely to carry the infection, but a small percentage of men can have it as well. If possible, practice safe sex by wearing a condom. In case either one is infected, abstain from doing the deed until the infection has been eliminated.
Always wear clean underwear. Make it a point always to wear clean underwear. To reiterate, yeast thrives best in moist conditions. Cotton or some breathable fabrics are recommended as these allow the circulation of air around the genitals, which can stop the formation of moisture and warmth.
Loose fitting clothes are also recommended so avoid stockings, tights, and bathing suits if infection-prone. Wearing these items will increase body heat, and this will cause moisture retention. If one wants to swim in a suit, don’t do it for hours. One should know by now what a wet and dirty suit can attract.
Consider allergies. All of us are susceptible to allergies, and we can get them from different sources: soaps, oils, spermicidal jellies or douches. Anyone of these can bring about allergy reactions that can lead to infections.
The use of chemical products in our genital areas can cause irritations that can negatively affect the balance of bacteria in the vagina. Take notice of the products used. If one experiences allergies using one, switch to another. Or better still, try something that is organic or natural.
Also, be wary of what kind of douche to use. Some of these have been known to cause allergies. Worse still, they can upset the balance of “good” and “bad” bacteria within the vagina. When the “good bacteria” are compromised, the Candida fungi will be allowed to propagate which will bring about yeast infections. Some studies have shown that douching is not that necessary. The body naturally cleanses itself and douches can even be harmful.
Consider other hormonal or medical problems. There are pre-existing medical conditions that can increase the risk of susceptibility to vaginal yeast infection. The first one is diabetes. Sugar plays an important role in its occurrence. Candida thrives well in an environment where sugar is present. This will fuel its growth. If one consumes too much sugar or doesn’t control the blood sugar levels, then she will be giving the Candida yeast more reason to flourish.
The second condition is a hormonal imbalance. The female sex hormone, progesterone, increases the production of glycogen, a natural starch that the body can easily convert into sugars. The Candida yeast loves these starches, and because progesterone is predominantly a female hormone, women are made more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.
As mentioned earlier, men also can develop yeast infections, but because of women’s sex hormones, the fairer sex is more likely to develop such. This is true, especially when the hormones are significantly elevated during their menstrual cycles, during menopause, when they take birth control pills or when they are pregnant.
Talk to your doctor about treatment and maintenance. Antibiotics are great to treat bacterial infections. They can perform their functions well. However, bear in mind that these medications can sometimes mess up the balance of bacteria in the vaginal area. Antibiotics will kill off “good bacteria” as well, and these are the vanguards against the fungus that cause yeast infections. Killing them off will allow the yeast to thrive and consequently will give a yeast infection. One will usually experience this after a bout of antibiotics. Ask the doctor if antibiotics are necessary. If the infection is caused by a virus, antibiotics cannot help.
Ask for a more hard-hitting treatment for the recurring infection. In most cases, the fungus Candida albicans is the cause of infection. What happens in case of recurrence? Candida isn’t the only responsible fungi. There are other strains of fungi out there. One needs to have a yeast culture done to determine what fungi are involved so she can change treatments if necessary.
Aggressive treatments can include longer periods of vaginal therapy using suppositories or creams or more doses of the antifungal pills instead of just one.
Have a maintenance plan to avoid the recurrence of the infection. Getting rid of the infection is just one step, maintaining a plan to avoid it is another. One may essentially for the next six months, continue with the anti-fungal pills. These are taken orally once a week. Alternatively, one needs to insert a vaginal suppository once a week. But ask the doctor about the risks or possible side effects when using these antifungal medications, especially for long periods of time.
Follow a Healthy Diet and Take the Right Supplements
Healthy diets also play an important role when combating yeast infections. Foods that can boost the immune system may help the body to be always in great shape. When the immune system is healthy, the risks of infection is decreased because there will be an increase in the white blood cells. These are the body’s soldiers and they target invasive problems when they enter the body. A weak immune system will allow yeast infections to recur. That is also the reason why people suffering from HIV, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and cancer are most likely to develop infections.
Healthy fats, vegetables, quality proteins, and probiotics are all great sources of substances that could boost the immune system. Include these healthy and nutritious foods in the diet every day. Probiotics are beneficial in fighting infections of any kind. Conducted studies have shown that they are effective against yeast infections.
The probiotic microflora, which is found in many fermented foods, is beneficial in protecting the intestines, improving the immune system, and warding off yeast problems. This is a “good bacteria” that already lives within the body and on the skin, but it must compete with the Candida fungi for available resources. If we have a well-maintained immune system, we need not worry. Our “good bacteria” are much stronger than yeast cells. They can easily decrease the supply of the fungi or yeast.
Now we’re back with our sugar intake. Control the blood sugar because high levels will encourage the Candida fungi to multiply. Those who are already experiencing Candida overgrowth will need to take away all sugar sources, except maybe a few. The good news is that they can go back to their guilty pleasures when the infection clears up but this time, in moderation. But for now, avoid processed foods, traditional dairy products, most grains, alcohol, starchy veggies and even fruits.
Being exposed to a new diet that could help boost the immune system may take some getting used to. It may even be a trial-and-error experiment in choosing the right and best foods. But for motivation, think of the diet as a means of eliminating the yeast infection at the same time provide beneficial bacteria, regulate the appetite, then reduce the cravings for sugars, and refined carbohydrates.
There are also supplements and essential oils available that could stop the growth of yeast:
Antioxidants. Most vitamins, especially A and C, can help in boosting the immune system.
Apple cider vinegar. Good at balancing pH levels.
Boric Acid. Try this as an alternative to prescription medications when treating recurring yeast infections.
Elderberry and milk thistle. Will cleanse the liver from prescription medications and hormones obtained from birth control pills.
Essential oils. These oils can help eliminate a variety of yeast, parasites, and fungi. A few drops mixed with coconut oil can be applied topically just outside the vaginal area.
Probiotic supplements. These are natural treatments aimed at replenishing “good bacteria.”