If you smell like beer or a bakery, chances are you have a yeast infection. Other signs include vaginal itching, irritation, and inflammation accompanied by white discharge that looks a bit like cottage cheese. Yeast infections are actually quite common in women and are caused by an overgrowth of Candida albicans, which is a normal inhabitant of the vagina.
Overgrowth can be caused by a number of things: stress (which causes a general systemic weakness in the body), a high-sugar diet (Yeast loves sugar. Remember the burping sock puppets on Good Eats? Check out the video to see what Alton and the burping sock puppets have to say about yeast), lack of air flow (Yes, thongs that are too tight really can lead to yeast infections. Your mom was right), or hormonal fluctuations. All of these can upset the delicate balance of the vagina.
Even if you love smelling bread, (I do. I really do. Must..bake..something…!) you need to take care of a yeast infection before it develops into something more serious. Below are some natural ways to fight those burping sock puppets…er, I mean fungi.
Starve the Fungi: You can prevent yeast infections by avoiding refined foods and food with high sugar content. You can also take supplements of Lactobacillus acidophilus to help repopulate the healthy intestinal flora to keep the fungi in check. Take 1 supplement with each meal for a 1 month.
Restore Healthy Vaginal Flora: After dealing with a yeast infection, you can help restore the healthy flora in your vagina by inserting a capsule of Lactobacillus acidophilus into your vagina before you go to bed. Repeat each night for 2 weeks. Don’t worry, the capsule will dissolve during the night.
Common Ways to Prevent Yeast Infections
Avoid tight-fitting clothing (Don’t whine!) and synthetic underwear. They encourage the proliferation of yeast organisms.
Avoid scented toilet paper, bubble baths (Again, don’t whine!), deodorant soaps, and deodorant/scented tampons and/or menstrual pads. All of those contain chemicals that dry out your sensitive vaginal tissues and produces an excellent playground for microorganisms to breed.
Try an Herbal Vagina Rinse: Thyme, sage, and rosemary are all potent infection-fighters. They have antimicrobial properties which inhibit the overgrow of the fungi that causes yeast infections.
Combine the following:
- 1 1/2 cups (375ml) boiling water
- 2 teaspoons dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
Pour the water over the herbs, cover, steep for 20 minutes, strain and use as a vaginal wash twice daily.