A yeast infection is an overgrowth of a kind of yeast in the vaginal canal called Candida albicans.You can also have an overgrowth of bad bacteria, which is called bacterial vaginosis. Symptoms are similar, so have your doctor do a swab to know which one you’ve got.
Candida isn’t always bad. It’s usually a very harmless yeast that can be a part of a healthy vagina. We all have it and it just hangs out with the other bacteria and causes no harm.The problems start when the good bacteria in your vagina get wiped out, making space for Candida to grow. This can be caused by a round of antibiotics, hormonal birth control, or a new sexual partner. Once the colony begins to grow unchecked, it becomes a much more annoying invader. However, this delicate balance of microorganisms can be kept happy and in balance with a few simple steps:
1. Cotton underwearSynthetic underwear can cause a hot and humid environment, perfect for yeast and bacteria to overgrow. Thong underwear can pose an even bigger problem, so it’s best to stick with your favorite cotton bikini undies until you’re feeling better.
2. Probiotics – both orally and intravaginallyThese help to rebalance the bacteria/yeast in your gut and your vagina (they’re linked). Use intravaginally for 10-14 days, longer if you have chronic infections. My number one fave oral option is Flora’s Super 8 Plus Probiotic(US/CA). It’s formulated perfectly for vaginal flora imbalances.
3. Raw garlicGarlic is a potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. Use one clove intravaginally at night until symptoms clear up. There is a (surprising) connection between your vaginal canal and your mouth—you’ll actually taste the garlic! That’s why it’s best to be used at night.
4. Eat a healthy dietYour diet plays a huge role in both gut and vaginal flora imbalances. Refined sugar, flour, and alcohol can feed the bad bacteria and yeast, encouraging them to overgrow.
5. Get on top of itThe longer you wait to treat your infection, the more stubborn it can get. So treat it quickly! If you’re dealing with a dreaded yeast infection, remember you’re not alone! it’s just an imbalance—albeit a frustrating one—that’s looking for some rebalancing. Treat your body well, and you’ll feel back to your normal self in no time.
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN), founder of LisaKilgour.com, and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition.