Today we continue our post on yeast infections and you can read Part 1 first …
Two Ways To Diagnose Yeast Infections At Home
DIY home testing for vaginal and oral infection can help you give a name to a particular symptom you are having. While there are speculations as to the accuracy of these two tests, it doesn’t null out the fact that it really does help when you have a few facts to decide on whether you need a doctor out-rightly or perhaps take a few yeast infection treatments at home. These can be done by either checking the PH level of the vagina and/or checking the concentration of yeast in the mouth.
Testing vaginal pH
If you have symptoms you suspect might be from yeast infection but not sure, checking the vaginal PH can help you to rule out other types of vaginal infections. Get the home vaginal pH test kit. This is not that costly and I think anyone who has suffered yeast infection or any other vaginal infection at least once should have this kit at home. The last I checked, it costs less than $20. The Home Vaginal pH test Kit comes with a piece of pH test paper and a color chart with which you can compare your pH results. To perform this self test, bring and hold the pH test paper against the vaginal wall for a few seconds. During this short period the color of the test paper will change in accordance to the pH level of the vagina. Now take it off and compare the color of the pH test paper to the color chart. It is likely that the color may not match the exact color in the chart; in this case, you should choose the closest color to the chart.
Interpreting your test result
Now the normal vaginal pH ranges between 3.8 to 4.5… which is slightly acidic. But the home vaginal pH test kit is calibrated on a scale of 1 to 14. On this scale also, higher pH levels indicates less acidity and lower pH levels indicates high acidity; if the test result is too high or too low it indicates the presence of a vaginal infection. But it is necessary you note that it is not all vaginal infections can change the pH of the vagina. To this end, the fact that your test result falls between 3.8 to 4.5 does not mean you don’t have a vaginal infection but helps you rule out a couple of them. How?
If your test result is above the normal vaginal pH, it is likely that you have bacterial vaginosis (BV) which thrives in less acidic environments. So this will help you know that the symptom you may have been having is not from yeast infection and instead of treating yeast, seek help from a health-care professional.
On the other hand, if your test result is below the normal vaginal pH and if you have been previously diagnosed with yeast infection in the past, then it is likely that you have yeast infection.
Test your body fluid
When you wake up in the morning right before anything goes into your mouth and before you rinse your mouth or spit, get a glass of clean water in a clear glass. Now build up a bunch of saliva from your mouth (don’t cough up anything) and spit it into the glass of water. Observe what happens within 15 minutes. The saliva will float which is normal but if after a while thin projections that may look like hair, small strings, jelly fish or spider legs start extending downward into the water, then that is a positive sign for Candida.
On the other hand, if you see cloudy saliva that sink to the bottom of the glass few minutes after float or particles that slowly sink or suspend below the saliva glob then those are colonies of yeast and thus it signals yeast infection.
Home Remedies For Yeast Infections
Yeast infection is a lot more like an imbalance, not actually a serious disease. If you are having symptoms you think are caused by yeast overgrowth and have gotten it firmed up by your doctor or by using any of the self tests above, then here are some of the really effective home remedies you can use to restore order in your system.
1. Yeast-free diet
You should start by cleaning up your diet. Avoid diary, sugar and white flour and other sugar ridden foods like yeast bread. Fermented foods are also no longer ideal; these include foods like vinegar and all the foods it is produced with like salad dressings, balsamic vinegar, sauerkraut and Miso. Wine and beer produced with fermented alcohols should also be eliminated. And if you take sugar-laden yogurt, this is a good time to avoid them. All these food substances can trigger symptoms. Once you have recovered from the infection, you can eat them one at a time to be sure you don’t develop further symptoms.
Garlic is one of nature’s antibiotics, and a great medication for vaginal infections including yeast infections. You can take garlic by sprinkling raw chopped garlic on salads or pasta, or munch 1 -2 cloves of freshly peeled sliced garlic if you can take it. It can also be crushed and drank with water. If you can withstand a bit of pain (for those with painful yeast infection), you can also insert garlic wrapped in cheesecloth and tied with unwaxed dental floss into your vagina for a couple of hours. This is better done in the night, and if so, it should be done overnight.
3. Pau d’arco
Pau d’arco is a herb that comes from the native Bignoniaceae tree commonly found in South America. This herb helps to regulate the overgrowth of yeast in the body. It is perfect for combating a freshly discovered yeast infection and also an effective cure for a full-blown infection with symptoms. If you can get this herb in liquid form, you can take it as a tincture either orally or applied topically. The typical dosage is a quarter teaspoon per day. But if you are applying this externally, then dosage can be increased.
Calendula is an herbaceous plant classified in the daisy family Asteraceae. It came from the Macaronesia east through the Mediterranean to Iran and today has become one of the most praised herbs with various medical benefits. You may have heard about calendula in facial products; it is used as herbal remedies to heal wounds and soothe skin. But it is also a great home remedy for yeast infection when taken internally as a tincture. This is specially one of the best treatments for new moms who develop yeast infection in their breast while breast feeding (basically caused by the antibiotics they took due to positive strep B test before child birth).
5. Borax 6x
Borax acid is a chemical substance that has mild antiseptic and antifungal properties. If borax 6x is used at the first sign of symptoms, it can be really effective at controlling yeast overgrowth. Doctors do recommend the use of borax 6x for infections that failed to respond to other medications and for reoccurring infections. It has been effective in about 98 percent of women tested. To concoct this at home and use as a home remedy, fill up gelatin capsules with boric acid and insert it into the vaginal canal overnight for 2 or 3 consecutive nights. However, please don’t use this treatment if there are open wounds in the vagina or if you are pregnant.
6. Palmarosa oil
Palmarosa oil is one of the essential oils with really good health benefits. It is produced from the same tropical grass family as lemongrass and contains excellent skin care properties. It contains geraniol, citronellal, citral, farnesol, limonene, dipentene, and geranyl acetate. It can be used in a mixture with a commercial yeast infection cream. Ideally, 4 drops of palmarosa oil would be enough to enhance the efficacy of the cream.
7. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an antibacterial, anti-yeast, and antifungal oil that can be used to combat infections, fight acne and treat wounds. It helps to soothe irritations, rashes and burns and other fungal infections with typical symptoms of yeast infection. To achieve the best result with this oil, it is best applied twice a day; in the morning and bedtime. You might want to go with Vitanica Yeast Arrest; which is a form of tea tree oil that also contains borax, goldenseal, laera, neem, lactobacillus and vitamin E.
Probiotics are microorganisms (commonly known as friendly bacteria) that can confer various health benefits to their host. When introduced, these healthy bacteria help to suppress the growth of yeast and support overall health of the body including boosting the person’s immune system. This treatment is perfect for people with chronic infections as it will colonize the vagina area with health-improving bacteria and thus reducing chances for recurrences. You should take the Lactobacillus species and the ideal dose is twice daily. For better recovery, it is advised that you continue medication to two or more months after the infection has cleared up to reduce the chances of recurrence.
9. Vitamins and supplements
Taking healthy vitamins and supplements will only help to boost your immune system and build more resistance against the spread of yeast infection and its symptoms. This is ideal for people with weakened immune system. Good options to consider include grapefruit seed extract which is inexpensive and contains antifungal properties with long term health benefits. Others include goldenseal, vitamin C, and zinc and beta carotene.
10. Apple Cider vinegar (ACV) bath
Apple cider vinegar bath is a popular natural cure for yeast infection. This is a form of vinegar made from Apple or cider and it comes with a whole lot of health benefits from skin-care benefits to body pH regulation. To take an apple cider vinegar bath, prepare lukewarm water and add 2 cups of apple cider vinegar. Then soak yourself in it for about 20 minutes. This will help provide some immediate relief from the symptoms of yeast infection while controlling yeast overgrowth. You may also want to take apple cider vinegar douche about 2 to 3 times a week; however the dosage should depend on the seriousness of your symptoms.
11. Eat Plain (unsweetened) Yogurt
Before you think of yogurt, it is important you understand that yeast feeds on sugar and so any food containing sweeteners is just not a good idea when you have yeast infection. This is why you need to double check and make sure you are using a plain or preferably organic yogurt for this. Yogurt contains probiotic properties and thus helps to boost the healthy bacteria in the crotch while killing yeast. For immediate relief from severe symptoms like pain in or around the vagina (for vaginal yeast infection) or in the mouth (for thrush), you can also put some yogurt inside the vagina or carry it in your mouth for a couple of minutes a day. For vaginal yeast infection, you can do this overnight consecutively for three nights and rob it around the vagina for some relief during the day.
Yeast And Your Diet
If you want to control yeast in your system, you have to pay very good attention to your diet. There are certain foods that can increase the multiplication of Candida albicans as they thrive on these foods; so when you eat them frequently, you are but feeding the harmful yeast in your system and helping them to multiply rapidly. These foods include sugar, vinegar (except of course those apple cider vinegar which is now a nice treatment for yeast infection), alcohol containing fermented beverages, and simple carbohydrates. To help control Candida overgrowth you have to eliminate the following foods:
• All forms of sugar, especially if you have chronic infection or suffer yeast infection more than 3 times a year. These sugar sources include honey and fructose such as agave
• Processed foods and inorganic produce which may have undergone several artificial mechanizations with possibility of containing chemicals that may encourage yeast overgrowth
• Any food substance containing artificial ingredients or chemicals including diet soda, caffeine, wheat, rye, farrow and barley
• Simple carbohydrates containing food like bread, white rice and pasta are known to breakdown into simple sugars in the body. If you can’t totally avoid any of them, take effort to ensure that anyone you eat contains the least amount of sugar possible. Also the quantity you take can be controlled
• Alcoholic beverages and animal products with high percentage of antibiotics
• Soy, which is known for causing hormonal imbalance; hormonal imbalance is one of the major environmental factors that can trigger yeast overgrowth
• Foods like wine and beer that are yeast fermented
In addition to this list, you should also ensure you minimize the intake of any prescription medications as these are majorly scientifically synthesized chemicals. You should also find and start using a source of non-chlorinated water. Most birth control pills cause hormonal imbalance which supports yeast overgrowth. If you believe this is your problem, ask for non-hormonal birth control pills.
As a recap on this, you want to be on diet that is free from food that supports yeast overgrowth. Ideally alternatives include raw fruits and vegetables, unprocessed, gluten-free whole grains and locally grown, antibiotic-free animal products.
Another way to keep yeast in control is to encourage and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in your intestines by making their sources a good part of your daily diet. Probiotics and Enzymes Salad contain beneficial bacteria that will repopulate your intestines to strengthen the colony of good bacteria. Take Enzymes Salad and Probiotics twice a day; they contain live organisms that will not only control yeast overgrowth but also support digestive health and overall body health.
Ordinarily, Candida albicans are already in the body and maintaining a good balance between this specie of fungus and the other healthy bacteria keeps us in good health. To ensure this balance you need to choose a healthy, plant-based diet that is free from processed foods and chemicals.
How to Prevent An Occurrence
If you have yeast infection more than 2 times a year than you are suffering from yeast recurrence and you need to take proper care of yourself from your diet to the clothes you wear and your environs to help minimize or eradicate the infection. Some medical practitioners also consider having a yeast infection more than once a year a recurrence. If you experience this or if you have suffered from yeast at least once, here are the measures you need to take to prevent future infections.
Avoid wearing panty liners as these can increase the risk of having a recurring vaginal yeast infection. They create the damp, moist environments that tend to support yeast overgrowth. As an alternative to these, you want to wear cotton underwear or just wear panties with cotton panel at the crotch. Also keep moisture away from your body so you don’t create a damp environment for yeasts.
Avoid wearing nylon pantyhose or synthetic leotards; at least not every day. When you must wear these, it is necessary you choose those with a cotton panel so they can absorb moisture away from your body. Additionally, change your wet workout gear or swimsuit as soon as you can. This will help keep damp environment in check around your crotch.
Avoid using douches, scented powders, scented tampons and feminine deodorant sprays. These products may contain chemicals and perfumes that can upset the normal bacteria balance in the vagina by either killing the good bacteria or encouraging rapid multiplication of Candida albicans. It is not advisable you douche when suffering from yeast infection as this may aggravate the irritation and can spread the yeast through the cervix and into the uterus. Also, it is necessary you avoid scented sanitary pads or those with chemicals.
Wipe from front to back after using the bathroom. This is so you don’t spread bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
Control your sugar intake. High blood sugar levels encourage yeast overgrowth. If you are diabetic, this is a cause for alarm if you also suffer yeast infections; yeast infection and diabetes are almost like brothers hence your first step (if you are diabetic) should be to cut down on your sugar intake and find effective means of reducing your blood sugar levels by eating food that are free from sugar and sweeteners.
Eat plain yogurt. Eating yogurt that contains live cultures of lactobacillus acidophilus which is considered friendly bacteria may help to prevent yeast infections. However, a small study showed that women who take products that contain acidophilus had higher chances of having recurrent yeast infection. Hence if you rather start seeing symptoms after taking yogurts with acidophilus, then its better you stop and consult your doctor for proper diagnosis.
Women on antibiotics generally have high chances of getting yeast infection. If you suffered yeast infection in the past while placed on antibiotics, then its best to ask your doctor for a preventive antifungal therapy at the start and finish of your antibiotics medication periods.