by Kidada N. Fields, L.Ac., M.Ac.
Many women experience a yeast infection at least once in their life, while others suffer from ongoing outbreaks. No matter what category you fall in, these suggestions will help avoid breakouts and maintain a healthy yoni.
Candida albicans, is the most common form of yeast, and is always present in the intestinal and genital tracts. It thrives in dark, wet, unventilated areas and feeds on sugar. Infection occurs when yeast, which is a fungus, grows to disproportionate levels and can affect both men & women. Antibiotics commonly destroy the healthy bacteria that keep Candida in check.
People with weak immune systems are susceptible to this infection and are sometimes unable to process sugars and yeast products. A lack of rest, overwork and over worrying can weaken a healthy person thus decreasing their body’s ability to maintain a healthy balance. From an eastern perspective, yeast accumulation is viewed as dampness in the body. As an acupuncturist that utilizes Chinese Herbs, I help clients build their immune systems and the organs that help move dampness in the body.
While yeast overgrowth affects everyone, the female anatomy provides a certain hospital environment for the Candida to overgrow. Ladies, it is important to keep clean and wear clothing that allows the body ventilation. Sport skirts, loose fitting pants, white cotton underwear (keep the synthetic & lacey stuff for special times) and sleep with no underwear when possible.
It is always recommended that you visit your gynecologist or primary care physician to be diagnosed before you take a course of action. From a place of knowing, you can treat your condition naturally (which can require a lot of patience) or with prescribed medication and take preventative measures to avoid future outbreaks.
Here are my suggestions that will help keep your intestines balanced & some thing to do when breakouts actually occur:
Consume anti-fungal foods: Fill your belly with green leafy vegetables! Chlorophyll is purifying, promotes good flora & stops spread of yeast while garlic is anti-fungal. Add a tablespoon of concentrated chlorophyll to water and drink daily. Eat lots of garlic, which has so many beneficial properties including its anti-fungal properties.
Build up immunity & healthy flora: Eat at least 2 tablespoons of plain, unsweetened yogurt that contain live cultures (l. acidophilus) or take an acidophilus supplement daily. Drink miso soup ( ½ teaspoon paste + hot water, not boiling water. Optional to add tofu, seaweeds & scallions). Miso promotes good intestinal flora. Eat seaweeds (kelp, dulse, arame, nori, etc) which are high in iodine, selenium & many other immune building minerals. Iodine was once the standard medical treatment for yeasts. Switch out your rice and pasta for millet and quinoa. Get acupuncture treatments regularly!
Avoid: (especially around an outbreak): All sweets and yeast products (breads, cakes, molasses, honey, bananas, mangoes, oranges, alcohol, chocolate, dried fruits,); Grains containing gluten (wheat, oats, rye and barley). Read labels. If you are taking oral contraceptives, it is advised that you stop until the infection clears.
Apply to affected area: Aloe or yogurt (plain, natural, unsweetened with live cultures). Both aloe and yogurt can be instantly cooling to an inflamed situation.
Insert: Tea tree oil suppositories (found in health food stores); a tampon soaked in yogurt (plain, unsweetened, with live cultures including acidophilus); a garlic clove wrapped in gauze for easy removal, both for a few hours. Tea tree essential oil is anti-fungal, garlic is clinically proven to kill yeast, and yogurt is providing the body with the bacteria to control the yeast.
Treat sexual partner: Although Candida is not considered a sexually transmitted disease; it can be passed from partner to partner. I always encourage talking to other people and reading additional literature on any topic.
I welcome all comments and questions—-Kidada@womeninwellnessmd.com