“Itchy Cootchie” writes:
Is there an effective natural way to combat yeast infections? I don’t like the idea of sticking nasty chemicals You-Know-Where, but I also cannot live with days and days of the Crotch Rot while waiting for ACV swabs or yogurt suppositories to take effect!
Hee hee. Thanks, Itchy Cootchie, for giving me a giggle - and the opportunity to post in the Lady Bits category again! Let me see if I can help. Remember, I’m not a doctor! I only pretend to be an expert on the online. You should definitely be talking to your OB about your private pain here; self-diagnosis in this case can sometimes be sketchy, and should you self-treat for the wrong condition, you could be making matters worse.
Yeast or BV?
Make sure you know what you’re combatting before you try to treat yourself. This is why getting a diagnosis from your doctor is a good idea: otherwise you could waste time treating for the wrong condition.
The two main culprits of a crotchety crotch are Bacterial Vaginosis and Candidiasis. They have similar symptoms, too: itching, burning, pain and swelling. Both can occur with a discharge, although the BV is usually responsible for a nasty smell emanating from your nether regions.
Both conditions are a result of an imbalance in the flora and/or pH of your vagina. BV is, as you may have guessed, is the overpopulation of anaerobic bacteria, whereas Candidiasis - or in laywomen’s terms “yeast infection” - is an overgrowth of a specific strain of microscopic fungus called Candida albicans.
You are what you eat
No, no, I’m not making lewd puns here! You can help your body maintain a healthy balance of good guys with a healthy diet and a probiotic supplement. Candida - like any yeast - grows and thrives on sugar. So, cutting out refined sugar and highly refined carbohydrates from your diet can really help. In extreme cases (and you really need to talk this over with your doctor - I recommend a Naturopath for help with Candida!), the “Candida Diet” is prescribed. It’s not fun to have dietary restrictions, but I imagine it’s a whole lot less fun to have chronic yeast infections!
Highly rated probiotic supplements include Jarrow Formulas Fem-Dophilus (which give you a couple of probiotic strains known to populate the vagina, specifically), and Acidophilus Pearls - convenient because they don’t require refrigeration.
I personally like the milk-free Country Life Power-Dophilus and the multi-strain Tummy Tune-up from Beeyoutiful.com. I used Beeyoutiful’s Anti-yeast treatment during pregnancy and had excellent results. They have a more powerful one for you non-preggos out there, too.
A healthy diet and a good probiotics regimen is your ounce of prevention, Itchy Cootchie. Keep your system healthy and you are much less likely to succumb to the panty-nasties!
The naturally healed va-jay-jay
Once you know what you’re up against, if you don’t want to take the OTC treatments traditionally suggested for common cootchie ailments (the ailments are common, I mean; I would never judge your Lady Bits like that!), here are a few natural options:
AZO Natural Yeast Symptom Prevention & Relief Tablets - some reviewers swear by these alone, but the directions indicate these homeopathic tablets are to be used in conjunction with a more standard OTC-type treatment.
Boric Acid - placed in a gelatin capsule and used as a suppository, it has been shown to be quite effective in fighting yeast infections. Make sure you do some research into how to use Boric Acid safely. Never, ever take Boric Acid by mouth!
Some people swear by the garlic suppository, and I’d be remiss not to mention my favorite herb! Wrap a peeled garlic clove in a bit of clean cheesecloth and shove it up there overnight. Switch it out daily - it shouldn’t take too many cloves to get things back to normal. If you don’t have/want the cheesecloth, knot a bit of string and pull it through the clove. Let the string dangle out, tampon style, and you’ll have easy retrieval at your fingertips. The caveat to the garlic trick is that it is mostly effective only when you catch your infection early on.
Gentian Violet - this purple goodness stains like crazy, but is very effective against yeast. I’d never heard of it used in the vag context, but it’s always bandied about as a solution for thrush amongst breastfeeding mamas.
VH essentials Homeopathic BV suppositories - this is about the only thing I could find specifically aimed at Bacterial Vaginosis rather than yeast. However, since most of these natural remedies are focused on restoring the balance of good flora and health pH in your body, they ought to combat both fairly well.
It’s not just about you
It’s all well and good to treat yourself for your infection, but what about everything/everyone else that shares your playground? Yeah. Sometimes yeast and infections can get passed back and forth between partners, creating a vicious cycle of vicious itch. Not cool! So if you can, get all the other members to clean up their acts as well. Penises, toys, fingers…okay, you get the picture! Do unto those others and you’ll be golden.
Read all about it!
I stumbled across this book during my research and just put it on my library request list. The V Book: A Doctor’s Guide to Complete Vulvovaginal Health
That’s it from me, IC. Hopefully some of our readers can weigh in with what works for them. Readers, feel FREE to use a pseudonym when commenting back! :)