First, understanding your enemy is half of winning the battle. If you feel some uncomfortable symptoms, make sure you schedule an appointment with a doctor. Consequently, you can make sure whether you really have a yeast infection. It is insensible to cure a disease if you’re not sure what you have in the first place. Yeast infection shares some of its symptoms with parasitic or bacterial infections, clamydia, trchomonas, gardnerella vaginalis and even gonorrhea and syphilis. It is necessary to get an opinion from a skilled and experienced health professionals.
Each person has different vulnerability to candida infection, because yeast infection is influenced by a number of factors, including your physical functions and body chemistry. People with weakened immune systems such as people with diabetes, HIV/AIDS and cancer, are more likely to have candida infection. Women are also more vulnerable than men. Other risk factors are bad eating habits, poor hygiene, pregnancy and unsafe sex. People who use infertility drugs, menopause hormones, birth control pills and spermicide are more likely to be infected by candida albicans.
Candida albicans can live naturally in human bodies without causing any discomfort and if the balance is offset, problems can start to happen (candidiasis, for example), with symptoms such as burning sensation, oral thrush (white coating inside the mouth) and thick vaginal discharges. The use of steroids and/or antibiotics is the most likely cause of yeast overgrowth. These substances may kill both bad and good bacteria, creating an empty space for yeast to proliferate.
Yeasts love dark, damp, and humid environments, making places such as vagina, armpits, skin folds and mouth, the hotspots for yeast overgrowth.
Candidemia can become a life threatening and systemic infection. In extreme cases, the superficial infection on the mucous membranes and skin can enter the blood stream and cause a general candida infections. Many people use topical cream to treat their irritated skin, while it provides some relief, it won’t do nothing to eradicate the real problem. The use of potentially irritating products such as douches, detergents and some soaps may accelerate candida overgrowth.
Symptoms (vary according to sex, age, and the severity)
- Burning sensation and soreness
- Severe itching
- Chronic rashes
- Thick white discharge (usually with curd-like appearance)
- Sexual dysfunction or painful sex
- Irritation of the vulva and/or vagina
- Discomfort and pain when performing typical bodily functions
- Vaginal odor
- White patches near the mouth
- Gastro-intestinal problems
- Fatigue or tiredness
- Breathing difficulties
- Red patchy sores on the head of the penis or on the foreskin
- Mood swings
- Respiratory infections
- White coating inside the mouth lining or on tongue
- Skin problems
- Weakened immune system
- Memory and learning problems
It’s quite common for men to have yeast infection without manifesting any symptom although more severe symptoms may appear later on, when the disease develops further.
1) Before treating candida infection, it is important to regularly clean the undergarments that come in contact with the sufferer’s skin. Simply cleaning the clothing is not enough, you need to boil the undergarments and bleach them for one whole day. It is also important to use hot dry iron, because the extreme heat can kill the remaining fungus. You should use unscented detergents and never use softener as the residue may irritate the tender skin.
2) Don’t create an ideal environment for candida overgrowth. Don’t use panties or underwear if you don’t need them, especially during the summer. Use loose clothing to make the hotspots of yeast overgrowth well ventilated.
3) Don’t use leather or synthetic fabric for underwear. Wearing layers of clothing in a warm day can make the infected area more humid and warmer, encouraging faster yeast growth. Textile dyes may irritate your skin, while white cotton can reduce the dampness. It is important to try make the hotspots as dry and as cool as possible.
4) Practice safe sex. Don’t use ribbed condoms as it can cause injury. Women with yeast infection tend to have insufficient natural lubrication inside the vagina, as the result small cuts and tear can happen during an intercourse, if you are not allergic, you can use mineral oil or even egg whites as lubrication. Petroleum jelly shouldn’t be used with condom as the condom may be damaged in the process. If you need to use spermicide, put it only in the condom reservoir, not on the outer surface of the condom.
5) There are products that should be avoided by people with yeast infection, many powders and lotions are starch-based, which mean you may actually feed the yeast.
6) Try to maintain a good oral hygiene, by flossing and brushing your teeth regularly, and if you have yeast infection, antiseptic mouthwash is definitely important. Our mouth is the gate for the rest of our body. Poor hygiene may make the treatment for yeast infection slower.
7) By eating healthy diet at a consistent schedule, you can help your body to maintain a good immune system and ward off any disease, in general. Never consume any foods that contain refined carbohydrates, artificial sweeteners and hidden sugars (canned fruits, soft drinks, pastries and others). Also avoid chili peppers, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, malt-based products, smoked and processed meats, sugars, tomato sauce, ice cream, salad dressings, cake mix, moldy cheese, olives, vinegars and any fermented food products.
8) Tea tree oil should be used as mouthwash on people with yeast infection. If you have oral thrush, mix about 6 drops of the oil to a glass of warm water. Gargle for about one minute and let the mixture touches the inner parts of your mouth, including cheek lining, palate, throat and the underside of your tongue. Do this before and after bedtime. Never swallow the solution. On women with vaginal yeast infection, add 3 or 4 drops of tea tree oil onto the tampon, you may need to replace the tampon every 6 hours.
9) Plain, live yogurt can be used to treat candida infestation, because it contains a bacteria called lactobacillus acidophilus, a natural enemy of candida albicans. Just make sure the yogurt contains no sugar otherwise you will end up feeding the yeast. For women with vaginal yeast infection, they can apply a thin layer of the plain, live yogurt on the tampon. Do this twice a day. You can also apply the yogurt to the affected area of the skin for 2 or 3 times a day. This can relieve burning sensation and severe itching, while providing a soothing effect. Let it stand for about one hour before rinsing. Dry your skin immediately and never let the area wet for too long.
10) For people with oral thrush, gargling two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar diluted in a cup of water can be helpful. Don’t swallow the solution. After gargling, you can use a cotton swab to apply undiluted vinegar to your oral sores. Let it dry and stand overnight. For women with vaginal yeast infection, dilute two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in two cups of water. Add garlic and let the solution stand for a few hours. You can use it as douching.
11) People with yeast infection should have proper dietary changes. These are a few guidelines:
- Avoid sugar entirely to starve the fungi.
- Take plenty of vitamin A and zinc. These nutrients can help to repair your intestinal lining and boost immune functions.
- Drink more water than usual as it can lower your temperature and flush out toxins.
- Avoid irregular eating habits.
- Eat plain, non-sugared yogurts, garlic and bananas regularly.
People with diabetes should consult the doctor to determine a good diet than can both help the yeast infection treatment and won’t make the diabetes more serious. If you’re still unsure, get a second or a third opinion from other doctors. Any natural remedies you plan to do, should be performed under the approval of trained health professionals. Never play doctor with your own body or your loved one’s.