What is Vaginal yeast infection and its cause?
Yeast infection is a general term for when the yeast that grows in the body and on the skin overgrows causing an infection. It can affect different parts of the body such as the private area, breasts, mouth, etc.
However, it is most often used to refer to vaginal yeast infection that affects women statistically. 3 out of every 4 women. Yeast infection in men is not common but it happens and these remedies work just as well for males.
Also called vaginal candidiasis in women, it is caused by a yeast-like fungus called candida or monila. This yeast-like fungus lives naturally on moist skin and when there is an overgrowth of the fungus, it results in the condition of yeast infection.
This overgrowth occurs when the body’s balance is thrown off by:
- Hormonal changes,
- Drugs e.g antibiotics,
- A weakened immune system
- Douches and feminine washes and sprays
- Hormonal contraceptives e.g birth control
- Intercourse etc.
It mostly develops in the mouth, throat, stomach and private areas which are all moist and hidden areas of the body.
Quick note: a yeast infection can be a sign that your blood sugar is too high
- Severe itchyness, burning, and redness in the private area
- Thick white cottage-cheese-like discharge
- Pain and burning when you pee
- Discomfort during intercourse
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Watery vaginal discharge
Yeast infection Vs Urinary tract Infection (UTI)
There is a difference between a yeast infection and a urinary tract infection (UTI). UTI is an infection of the lower urinary tract with the main symptom being pain while urinating, tenderness of the lower abdomen, back or sides and the frequent urge to urinate.
The main symptom of yeast infection in women is itching and burning of the private area, rashes, burning during urination and a thick discharge from the private area (sometimes it is even smelly).
Men with yeast infection experience burning pain while urinating, itching and swelling, skin patches and rashes. There is a slight difference in the symptoms depending on the gender.
It is important to understand this difference in symptoms and behaviour of the body depending on the infection. You can read more about distinguishing yeast infection from a UTI here.
Most yeast infections are easily treated with over-the-counter medications in most cases and they clear up in a week or less.
Update: I have written an article on home remedies for UTIs. if you think that is your condition, you should read about its symptoms, cure etc.
However, when a person has reoccurring yeast infections, it is time to really have a talk with a doctor for a more permanent solution as this can indicate a health problem that needs medical attention.
When to see a doctor for complicated symptoms
In some situations, the yeast infection might be beyond the usual and will need a doctor’s advice. Such cases include a yeast infection with:
- Severe signs and symptoms such as extensive redness, swelling and itching that leads to cracks and tears on the private area,
- Recurring yeast infection of 4 or more times in a year
- You have uncontrolled diabetes
- Weakened immune system caused by medications or a condition such as HIV
Yeast infection is usually treated with oral medication and topical medication which are creams and ointments applied to the infected area.
However, sometimes it might not be suitable or desired by many to be taking antibiotics because of their harmful side effects on the body.
The anti-fungal creams also tend to make the fungus in the private area resistant over time. This is especially true for those with reoccurring yeast infections.
This is why home remedies have become popular because they are safe and effective at almost no costs or risk. They include:
Yeah I know it sounded a little strange when I first heard of this too. There has been much written on the internet about the effectiveness of yoghurt for curing yeast infection.
I only recently started to believe in the claims when I read several journal papers confirming its effectiveness.
Yoghurt is effective for yeast infections because it contains helpful bacteria or a probiotic which lives in the stomach, urinary tract and private areas naturally.
This allows it to restore the balance that was thwarted that led to the overgrowth of the fungus in the first place.
How to use:
- Get yourself a healthy thick plain greek yoghurt that has no artificial colour, sugar, flavor and other additives that are usually added to yoghurt.
- Wash and clean the infected area thoroughly
- Using your fingers, apply to the area generously and make sure it covers all parts
- Leave for atleast 15 minutes before rinsing off the area and drying it well with a towel or tissue.
- Take 3 tablespoons of greek yoghurt three times a day about 30 minutes before your meal.
You will have to do both oral and physical application for fast action.
Some women insert the yoghurt inside but it is not necessary because when you eat the yoghurt it is already inside of you and an outer physical application completes the treatment.
Cold yoghurt can also be used to soothe the sore, irritated areas.
Honey is a known anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antibacterial food and lucky us, it works for yeast infection as by proven some studies.
The physical application of honey is enough and should be applied just like the yoghurt is applied 3 times a day for at least 15 minutes each time.
Don’t forget to use raw, organic, unprocessed honey for best results. If not, just use the best honey that you can find and it should work for you.
The best remedy that I know of is from this study that was quite popular and commonly cited in other publications.
In the study, it tested the use of a honey and yoghurt mixture for yeast infection and it was successful. Below is the remedy they used:
- Combine yoghurt and honey in the ratio of 3:1 respectively.
- Use this as a cream on your private area and slather about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each application
- Apply 2-3 times a day
- Take it orally also as a medicine using 2 table spoons twice a day.
Do this for about a week and I am positive that before the week is over, the yeast infection would have disappeared and your balance restored.
Baking soda/Apple vinegar/Salt
Discomfort is expected and will be experienced while dealing with a yeast infection.
To soothe itches, swelling and irritation, it is advised for patients to have a sitz bath which is sitting in a big bowl of warm water with only your lower body part being immersed in the water.
You can also decide to add it to your bathtub and sit in it for about 20-30 minutes before rinsing it off.
- Make a solution of baking soda and water by adding 5 tablespoon to one cup of baking soda to half a bucket of water. The concentration of the solution depends on you, the severity of your condition, if you have any allergic reaction to baking soda etc. etc.
- Mix it well into the water until it is properly dissolved and you cannot see the powder at the bottom anymore.
- Sit in the solution for about 20-30 minutes before getting up and rinsing the solution off your body. It is not recommended that you keep it on your skin after the bath before it causes dryness.
- You can do this up to three times a day depending on the severity of your symptoms
If the baking soda irritates your skin, substitute the baking soda with apple cider vinegar or simple kitchen salt. It works just as well as baking soda.
Garlic is most widely used for colds, coughs and body immunity. It also has anti-fungal properties that stop the growth of the candida fungus. Garlic can be taken raw or in capsules.
For raw garlic which I recommend more,
- Chop to tiny pieces not more than 2 pieces of medium-sized garlic cloves.
- Allow them to sit for 5-10 intes to activate them
- Swallow them with water just like tablets. Don’t chew them
- Do this twice a day in the morning and evening
Some apply the raw garlic to the infected area but I will not recommend this for garlic is very potent and it can burn you (as it once happened to me).
The yoghurt-honey mixture is safer and has been proven to be effective. I checked but I have not found a good study for the garlic-to-skin application.
So to be safe, just take the raw garlic an hour before or after meals. It will go to your gut and downwards to where the yeast grows.
Tips For Fast Relief
While you are using these natural items for relief and cure, it is important to:
- Wear loose and absorbent clothing and underwear like cotton to keep the area dry as I said earlier this fungus grows in moist places. If you can, don’t wear underwear at all during this period. You can take them off when you don’t need to wear them such as when you are at home. This will allow your under areas to be well ventilated and dry to stop the growth of the yeast. This is very important.
- Practice good hygiene such as washing the area every day with warm water.
- Wipe or clean with water from front to the back after using the toilet to prevent the bacteria of the anus from spreading to other areas.
- Dry your private areas gently after using the bathroom with a towel or tissue.
- Apply ice or water to the area in a safe manner for itching relief and other symptom relief
- Avoid strong scented, soaps and other products from touching the area while it is infected (no douching at all!)
- Stop taking sugar as much as possible because sugar promotes the growth of yeast.
- Avoid hot baths and try to avoid being sweaty especially in your private area.
- Avoid pharmaceutical antibiotics in the beginning because they kill healthy bacteria too. This throws your body off balance which the main cause of yeast infection
How to use these remedies for best results
You don’t have to use all these remedies for you to see the results. Here is what you need to do:
- Take the garlic as described – morning and evening
- Use the honey or yoghurt or the honey-youghurt mixture atleast twice a day
- Have a sitz with salt, vinegar or baking soda bath atleast once in a day
- Repeat for 3-5 days
One of the common mistakes that people make is stopping their remedies the moment they start to feel relief. Remember to keep to these remedies until a day after you are sure it is gone.
If not, it will come back quickly. This is often the case with people with constant yeast infections. Because they were never completely cured, it eventually comes back.
While writing this article, I came across some pretty unsettling items and products that people are using or recommending which look bad at best and dangerous if we are being honest.
Some of these include the use of hydrogen peroxide, Dettol to wash the area, athletes foot’s cream etc. I don’t really need to do much research for me to know that these are not safe to use on such a sensitive area of the body.
I hope you stay clear of these dubious recommendations. All the items listed as possible solutions have been proven to be effective and can be obtained no matter where you are around the world.
I will advise that you choose safe remedies for your infection for the sake of your health. Don’t worry too much about the yeast infection. It is a common issue that is easily cleared with these remedies.
Doctors expect yeast infection in mild cases to clear up within 3 days when the body balances itself naturally and then the infection is gone.
In moderate to severe cases, it can take 1-2 weeks. I know the symptoms can be scary especially the pus but it is a very common problem faced by millions of people both male and female every year. So relax a little 🙂
I hope you enjoyed your time here and you got what you came here for. I wish you the best and do let me know which of the recommendations were the most effective in giving you relief and curing it for you for good.
Just remember these recommendations work for both males and females with yeast infections.
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Thank you and have a nice day!