If you’re a woman, you have probably experienced a yeast infection at least once in your life. Three out of four women will meet this infection at least once in their life, and 50 percent of women will experience it more than once. If you haven’t, you should go for the lottery, because yeast infections are one of the most common events in a woman’s life.
What exactly is a yeast infection?
We have yeast all over our body as a natural occurrence, and our body is good at regulating itself, making sure it maintains all the right chemical levels. But there are factors that cause an imbalance, which can lead to a yeast infection. The results are itchiness, burning, redness, and sometimes odor and discharge.
Several factors that play a role in creating this infection are:
- Antibiotics (they lower the amount of Lactobacillus, which is good bacteria, in the vagina and keep Candida’s population under control)
- Things that alter your hormone balance like pregnancy, birth control pills, and estrogen therapy
- Uncontrolled diabetes, which can cause a spike in sugar in the membrane of the vagina (sugar encourages yeast growth)
- Conditions that weaken your immune system, particularly HIV
- Clothing that is tight-fitting and synthetic, which keeps the vaginal area moist and warm
- Obesity, which provides more areas of moisture and warmth (such as skin folds) in which Candida can grow
As someone who has suffered from recurring yeast infections, I have researched and tried the many ways to prevent and get rid of them. Here are a few ways:
Fight yeast with supplements and essential oils
Luckily, there are a ton of products out there to help get rid of yeast infections.
- Probiotic supplements: probiotics replenish good bacteria and are one of the best natural treatments
- Apple cider vinegar: helps balance pH levels
- Antioxidants: antioxidants especially vitamin C helps boost the immune system
- Elderberry: helps cleanse your liver from prescription medications and hormones from birth control pills
- Essential oils: tea tree, lavender, and myrrh oils are gentle yet help kill a variety of yeast, parasites, and fungi. You can mix a few drops with some coconut oil to apply topically just outside the vaginal area.
Cotton underwear (or none)
This is probably not something you’d think would affect your yeast infection, but wearing cotton underwear over synthetic materials helps air reach your genitals in order to stop moisture and warmth from developing – both things that promote yeast growth.
You also want to try and stay away from tight fitting clothes like stockings, tights, spandex, and bathing suits. Especially if you’re prone to yeast infections. If you are going to wear these things, try not to stay in it for too long, especially if it’s wet or dirty.
Keep your skin clean and dry
Practicing good hygiene and properly taking care of any open cuts helps prevent infections. It does not matter whether they are in the vagina, mouth, digestive tract or anywhere else.
Make sure to wash your genital area with gentle soap every day and dry off well after showering so that fungi don’t get the chance to thrive in any moist environment on your body. You can also help decrease the risk of spreading germs in the bathroom by wiping from front to back (from the vagina to anus).
After sexual intercourse, make sure to wash your genital area, as once again, moisture can lead to the perfect host environment for bacteria and yeast. And although women are more likely to carry yeast, men, especially ones who are uncircumcised, can develop yeast infections in the genital area. Always wear a condom and abstain from sex if either of you have an active infection.
Boost your immune system
Other than taking supplements like vitamins, probiotics, and essential oils, eating a nutrient-rich diet high in vegetables and healthy fats helps with all sorts of health issues. With yeast infections, try incorporating fermented foods like kefir, yogurt, kombucha, and pickled vegetables to increase probiotic microflora.
Other ways to get rid of your yeast infection:
- Progestin-only birth control
- Drugstore antifungals
- Prescription tablets
- Boric acid suppository