Issues with Current Treatments
If you’ve ever had a vaginal yeast infection you have experienced the distress of itching, burning, soreness, and the desire for relief! In these cases we are often looking for a quick fix such as over the counter topical medications or prescriptions.
Although these meds may work, recent studies show that the popular prescription drug Flucanazole (aka Diflucan), used for yeast infections, leads to an increase in spontaneous abortions, the development of fetal heart defects, and stillbirths when taken in the first trimester of pregnancy. (see reference at the bottom of this page) This is a time when many women do not even know they’re pregnant yet! Yikes. So, how do we avoid?
There are SO many alternative treatments for vulvovaginal candidiasis or “yeast infections” that are safe, effective, and naturally sourced. Although the most common treatment is one pill of high dose fluconazole, a proper naturopathic elimination/restoration of vaginal microbes can lead to a lasting cure.
Unfortunately, there are even issues with some holistic approaches. Many recommend a “Candida Diet” which is devoid of all sugars and most carbohydrates. This will often have huge success in alleviating symptoms HOWEVER eliminating sugar does not KILL candida, it only stops growth and shifts the yeast into a dormant form. What does this mean? While you may feel fabulous after eliminating all sugars, as soon as you eat sugar again the yeast comes back out to play!
It’s important to reduce sugar as you try to prevent recurrence and eliminate symptoms. However I do not recommend sugar elimination as the cure to a yeast infection. So what DO I recommend?
Some Naturopathic Alternatives
Of course having a healthy microbiome is the first key to PREVENTING a yeast infection from occurring. In the vaginal canal Lactobacillus species are most important for maintaining pH and healthy tissue. Luckily these bacteria are easily encapsulated and delivered in the form of probiotics. A simple probiotic can not only prevent but also treat candida in the vaginal canal by competing with the fungus and inhibiting its further growth. Although there are food sources of probiotics such as yogurt, miso, kombucha, etc. I do not recommend these when dealing with yeast overgrowth. They are simply not potent enough and often contain sugar that further feeds the fungus. Yeast infections call for capsules!
There are some foods that I do recommend to prevent and treat yeast infections. The most important are food grade herbs such as garlic. I’ll never forget the look on my OBGYN’s face when I told her I treated myself for yeast with garlic! I often guide patients to use garlic vaginally and orally in food and/or supplement form. Yes, you will reek of garlic but the smell won’t last; the fast acting relief will! (Note: I recommend working with a professional to prevent irritation with this herb.)
Another important food for yeast treatment/prevention is sourced from the ocean in the form of seaweed. Bladderwrack, which can be found in supplement form, makes it harder for candida to adhere to human cells. This makes it easier for the immune system to clear infections and harder for the fungus to populate the vaginal canal, gut, skin, etc. In fact, this food makes it hard for most microbial overgrowth to take hold as it not only inhibits fungal adherence but also inhibits the formation of bacterial “biofilms” (something I’ll talk about in a later post).
What to do?
If you have a yeast infection, especially if it’s recurring, I encourage you to seek naturopathic care to re-establish a healthy microbiome and solve the problem, not the symptoms! Each person is unique with individual needs. There are other factors such as diet, stress, hormones, etc that influence your body’s ability to clear infections and stay balanced.
If you decide to try some things on your own I encourage you to utilize medicinal grade supplement brands rather than the common over the counter pharmacy brands. Not all supplements are created equal!
To become a patient you can use my scheduling site: TaraNayakND.janeapp.com
To try some things on your own you are welcome to shop my online dispensary and peruse for the products mentioned above. You can create a profile and shop the catalog here: Link to Fullscript: https://us.fullscript.com/welcome/drnayak
Link to Article Referenced: https://www.cmaj.ca/content/191/7/E179?fbclid=IwAR1saIJHQSvGcr6JQ1gN5f4qCuFmLkgE70gV4JS4fpNol8wn645WtLHMQO8