Foods for yeast infection

9 Foods to Ditch if You Have Candida

September 12th, 2019

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Candida or yeast overgrowth is an incredibly common condition among those with autoimmune disease, gut issues, fatigue, brain fog, and other chronic health problems.

It occurs when Candida, a form of fungus that lives in your digestive tract, colonizes your gut, overpowering the good bacteria that usually keep it in check. This wreaks havoc on your gut, causing it to become leaky and leading to a huge variety of symptoms, including digestive issues, fatigue, brain fog, recurring fungal infections, skin problems, seasonal allergies, and mood swings.

Many factors, including medications like antibiotics and birth control, toxins, and stress contribute to Candida, yet diet is often the biggest factor. A diet full of inflammatory, sugary, and processed foods creates the perfect conditions for yeast to thrive and multiply. Although I recommend adding in yeast-fighting supplements there is another key step to fight Candida overgrowth. You must eliminate foods that feed Candida and replace them with whole, nutrient-dense foods. It is one of the most important steps in beating Candida and healing your gut.

Whether you have an active Candida overgrowth, you’ve recently overcome Candida overgrowth, or you’re trying to prevent it, here are nine important foods to ditch.

Foods that Feed Candida

1. Sugar and Sweeteners

This one is a bit of a no brainer because sugar affects your entire body due to its inflammatory effect on the body, and inflammation is at the root of nearly every chronic illness. Sugar especially affects Candida overgrowth as yeast feeds on sugar. That being said, you will want to cut out all sugar and sweeteners. The key here is avoiding not just the obvious sources such as sodas, candy, cakes, and cookies, but also the sugar lurking in unexpected places, including salad dressings, low-fat packaged foods, protein bars, and more. Make sure to carefully check all of your food labels for hidden sources of sugar while following an anti-Candida diet.

2. Wine and Beer

Hopefully, you’re limiting alcohol already, and it is particularly important to cut out beer and wine while getting your yeast in check. Wine is not only fermented (meaning it is made from yeast), it is also high in sugar. And beer, which is also fermented, contains gluten. All of these factors contribute to Candida.

In addition, alcohol can worsen leaky gut, which is one of the most dangerous impacts of yeast overgrowth. It leads to so many other symptoms and health problems as the Candida leaks into your bloodstream in addition to the inflammatory molecules from what you consume. Alcohol also suppresses your immune system, and a strong immune system is needed to not only fight off invaders in your body, but also to keep your yeast population under control.

3. Dried Fruit and Fruit Juices

Although fruits can be part of an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant-rich diet, they are high in sugar and still feed Candida. Dried fruit and fruit juice can be major culprits of yeast overgrowth, especially if you like to snack. They may seem like healthy options, however, they’re not. In addition to natural fruit sugars (which is still sugar, even though it’s natural!), dried fruit and fruit juice are usually full of added sugars as well. If you find you have a problem with Candida overgrowth, try cutting out all dried fruit and fruit juice. You can still enjoy up to one cup of delicious whole fruits per day!

4. Gluten and Grains

As you know, gluten is highly inflammatory. It’s also a grain, and all grains are broken down into simple sugars during the digestive process, which can feed Candida. That’s why I recommend avoiding them entirely (particularly if you have an autoimmune disease) or limiting your intake of them. I’ve included some specific tips on exactly how much to limit grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables below.

5. Beans and Other Legumes

Even though beans and legumes provide a great plant protein, they are starchy and feed Candida. Legumes can also be inflammatory to many people because they contain agglutinins. Like grains, legumes can also be difficult for your body to digest, meaning there is more partially digested food in your gut. An overabundance of partially digested food in the intestinal tract provides feeds bacterial overgrowth. I recommend minimizing legumes or eliminating them altogether.

6. Starchy Vegetables

Like fruit, this is one that sneaks by many people. Certain starchy vegetables including acorn squash, butternut squash, and spaghetti squash are considered good sources of carbohydrates. However, once eaten, they are broken down into the sugars that feed Candida. Focus on eating plenty of leafy greens, and other tasty veggies like Brussel sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, and asparagus.

While following an anti-Candida diet, I advise keeping your combined consumption of grains, legumes, and starchy vegetables to one cup per day.

7. GMO Foods

Glyphosate, the herbicide used on GM crops, is a potent chemical that can attack the bacteria in your gut. The good bacteria that help with digestion and keeping the bad bacteria in check are more likely to be susceptible to glyphosate. While the bad bacteria, including strains that cause salmonella and botulism, are highly resistant to glyphosate.1 Eating GMO foods can decrease your healthy bacteria and increase the bad bacteria, not only fueling Candida overgrowth, but also contributing to leaky gut, and inflammation.

8. Fermented Foods

This is a hotly debated topic, but I believe that anyone with Candida overgrowth should avoid fermented foods until their yeast population is under control. The prebiotics produced during the fermentation process feed also feeds bad bacteria and yeast. Fermented foods themselves may be high in bad bacteria and yeast! I recommend killing Candida first and then using fermented foods to help restore the good bacteria.

9. Dairy

Dairy does not directly feed Candida, yet it is a highly inflammatory food. Inflammation damages your gut lining, which is already leaky due to an overgrowth of Candida. This allows the yeast to continue escaping into your bloodstream, along with toxins, microbes, and other particles.

Once all of these foreign particles enter your bloodstream, they trigger a fresh wave of inflammation as your immune system tries to neutralize the threats. Until your leaky gut heals, the particles just keep on coming, and this constant level of inflammation can eventually lead to an autoimmune disease.

Foods That Fight Candida Overgrowth

Ditching the nine foods above will go a long way in starving the yeast so that your good bacteria can restore your gut’s healthy balance. You can also stock up on the foods that fight Candida to help your body combat the yeast overgrowth. Some of the top foods to help fight Candida include:

  • coconut oil
  • garlic
  • apple cider vinegar
  • cruciferous vegetables
  • ginger
  • olive oil
  • cloves
  • cinnamon
  • wild salmon
  • lemon juice

Supplements to Help Eliminate Candida Overgrowth

While adopting a low-carb and anti-inflammatory diet is key to beating Candida overgrowth, diet alone can take up to six months to restore your gut’s natural balance. That’s why I recommend adding in yeast-fighting supplements while following an anti-Candida diet.

The supplements I use in my clinic are Caprylic Acid and Candifense®. Caprylic acid is a naturally occurring fatty acid that comes from coconut oil. Caprylic acid is known for its antiviral and antifungal activity. Candifense® also contains a combination of plant-based enzymes that break down the cell walls of Candida and the enzymes in it discourage yeast overgrowth in the gut. Candifense® is a safe, effective, and gentle approach to maintaining a healthy balance of microflora throughout the digestive tract.

I also recommend taking a high-quality probiotic to restore your population of good bacteria. These friendly bacteria strains will prevent a future Candida problem and are essential for supporting a healthy gut and immune system.

Article Sources

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23224412

Two foods to avoid when fighting Candida

Candida

Candida is an opportunistic little creature that can proliferate and become invasive, and when that happens, it’s time to put your microbiota in order.

Some women are all too familiar with Candida, which causes recurring yeast infections. This bacteria doesn’t live only among the vaginal flora, but also on the skin, in the mouth and in the digestive tract. When the environment is just right, Candidamultiplies and propagates in an invasive and pathogenic filamentous form that adheres to the mucous membranes.

Candida cohabitates naturally with the other bacteria that make up the intestinal flora, but as soon as the friendly bacteria die off or their environment becomes less than ideal, Candida is quick to take over. The most common cause of infection is the use of large-spectrum antibiotics. The whole purpose of antibiotics is to destroy bacteria, but antibiotics can’t distinguish between good bacteria and bad ones, which provides an open door for Candida.

When you have a vaginal or skin infection, using an antifungal will resolve the issue fairly easily. However, if the conditions are right for the proliferation of bacteria, you have to expect the infections to return. When we speak about invasive candidiasis, the infection starts in the digestive tract and can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes and more. Most of the time, this type of infection affects patients in hospital. People suffering from diabetes or an autoimmune disease are at particular risk of a persistent infection that can spread throughout the body, with serious consequences.

Symptoms of candidiasis

The symptoms of candidiasis are wide-ranging and often have no apparent connection to one another. Generally, they first present in the intestines in the form of bloating, diarrhea, flatulence or constipation. Other symptoms commonly observed include:

  • Allergies or an increased sensitivity to allergens
  • Recurring fungal skin and/or vaginal infections
  • Sweet cravings
  • Unexplained tiredness

Stay away from…

To discourage Candida from proliferating in the digestive tract, it’s important to maintain the health of your intestinal flora, also known today as intestinal microbiota. It’s important to know that this yeast feeds off sugar and that a healthy intestinal flora will not allow it to multiply. It’s therefore best to stay away from:

  • Added sugar, whether in the form of white sugar, brown sugar, maple syrup, honey, fruit sugar, bread spread, dessert, breakfast cereals, granola bars, candy, juice, etc. Make sure to read the ingredients list on condiments and prepared foods, because they’re often packed with sugar!
  • All products made with yeast: baked goods, alcohol, cheese, etc.

And make sure to get:

  • Protein – Sources include poultry, eggs, legumes (pulses) and fish
  • Whole grains like quinoa, buckwheat, millet and oat bran
  • Two portions of fruit per day (ideally avocados, limes and lemons)
  • Green vegetables
  • Plenty of water – around 1.5 litres a day
  • Probiotics, but be careful not to choose sweet yogurt as a source of probiotics
  • Fermented foods like kefir, plain yogurt, whey and sauerkraut

So now you’re thinking that I’m understating things when I suggest avoiding only two foods. You got me there: it would be better to say two types of ingredients. So no, it isn’t so easy to eat that way, but keep in mind that by cutting out sugar and yeast, you will be forced to eat fewer prepared foods and, in so doing, you’ll improve your eating habits.

4 Foods to Avoid on the Candida Diet

If you’ve ever had a yeast infection that keeps coming back, you already know that over-the-counter (OTC) products like Monistat and Vagisil don’t always do the trick.

That’s one reason over half of women experience recurring yeast infections, also called vulvovaginal candidiasis.

The result? Along with pain, discomfort, and frustration, the majority of these women report a moderate or severe impact on their love lives.

While yeast infections are rarely life-threatening, there’s no doubt that they can reduce your quality of life.

Are you ready to learn a new way to eliminate and prevent yeast infections? By learning exactly which foods to avoid on the Candida Diet, you can get rid of Candida for good!

What is the Candida Diet?

The Candida Diet is one of the most important parts of the Candida Cleanse.

There are three main elements to the Candida Cleanse:

  • Following a strict elimination diet to reduce inflammation in your body and balance your immune system
  • Using Parasite Cleanse products to address parasites that can make you more susceptible to yeast infections
  • Taking Candida elimination products to directly attack Candida

While it’s essential to only engage in the Parasite Cleanse and Candida elimination phases under the care of a qualified health care provider, you can try the Candida Diet at home safely.

The principle behind the Candida Diet is that certain “problem” foods can trigger immune responses, change your body’s pH, or raise your blood sugar. As a result, you’re more susceptible to candidiasis when you eat those foods..

As you begin your Candida Diet, keep in mind the following tips to ensure it works optimally:

  • Along with avoiding “problem” foods, be sure to eat an anti-inflammatory diet
  • Drink nothing but unfluoridated water for the first two weeks (or longer)
  • Reduce your stress levels as much as possible
  • Get regular exercise, but don’t overdo it

Not everyone has the same trigger foods for Candida colonization. That’s why there are two stages: the strict elimination phase, and the reintroduction and monitoring phase.

During the first two-week-long stage, you avoid all foods from this article. After the initial strict period, you can slowly and cautiously add foods back one at a time and monitor your symptoms.

4 Foods to Avoid on the Candida Diet + Reasons

#1: Processed Foods and Grains

Highly processed foods are terrible for your health, whether or not you’re prone to yeast infections.

But for people with recurring yeast infections, processed foods are even worse.

Generally speaking, processed foods are mass-produced, packaged foods with lots of ingredients. If you can’t make something yourself, or it if has more than a few ingredients, it’s probably processed.

The preservatives, flavor additives, and other chemicals in processed foods contribute to inflammation in your body, making you more susceptible to yeast colonization.

Along with processed foods, you’ll also avoid all grain and cereal products during the Candida Diet. Whether or not they’re refined, grains contain anti-nutrients that block nutrients, damage your gut, and trigger immune responses in your body.

Here are processed foods and grain foods to avoid on the Candida Diet:

  • Anything processed
  • Grains
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Breads
  • Oats
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Legumes

Instead, focus on eating whole foods, healthy fats, and fresh fruits and vegetables.

#2: Sugary Foods

Like processed foods, it’s common knowledge that sugary foods are best avoided.

But in the case of Candida, high blood sugar levels can increase your risk of yeast infection, too.

  • Avoid these foods:
  • Candy
  • Fruit juices
  • All sugars (sugar cane, molasses, maple syrup, honey, and all varieties of corn syrup)

Along with the obvious culprits, sugar can be in places you’d least expect. Make sure to check labels for all types of sugar and avoid those foods.

#3: Inflammatory and Allergenic Foods

Foods that increase inflammatory immune responses in your body lead to a greater risk of yeast infections.

Even if you don’t have a diagnosed food allergy, certain foods can trigger subtle problems that lead to more Candida colonization.

Here’s what to avoid:

  • All dairy
  • Soy

As with sugar, dairy and soy are found in many different foods, so take the time to check labels at the grocery store.

And of course, if you have additional food allergies, be certain to avoid those foods, too.

#4: Mold and Fungus Harboring Foods

Foods that harbor mold and fungus can keep your immune system busy and prevent it from eliminating Candida.

Here’s what to steer clear of to help your immune system fight yeast infections:

  • Mushrooms
  • Peanuts
  • Pistachios
  • Coffee
  • Peanut Butter

Also be cautious about any produce or other food that travels long distances or sits in storage. The best option is to buy fresh, local foods and cook them as soon as you can.

#5: Acidic and pH-Imbalancing Foods

Changing the pH of your body and vagina can raise or lower your risk of yeast infections.

Here’s what you need to avoid to maintain a healthy pH during the Candida Diet:

  • Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Pickles (all types)
  • Sauerkraut
  • Alcohol

Most people can add back acidic foods once they complete the elimination phase of the diet, but don’t rush it. Everyone’s body is different, so pay attention to your symptoms during the reintroduction phase.

Conclusion

Along with knowing with foods to avoid on the Candida Diet, you can also lower your risk of recurrent yeast infections by getting enough sleep, minimizing your stress levels, and lowering your blood sugar with an anti-inflammatory diet and exercise.

If you’re interested in a comprehensive Candida Cleanse, Complete Care Health Centers has over 15 years of pioneering experience helping patients get rid of vulvovaginal candidiasis.

Yeast Infections (Vaginal)

I really doubt if the women in our grandmother’s time, or before, experienced the same trouble with yeast infections that we do. Truly, we’ve set the stage for yeast to flourish in our vaginas in ways unknown to earlier generations. We overuse broad-spectrum antibiotics, each of us eats 120 pounds of sugar every year (!), we’re on birth control pills, and we all face too many day-in and day-out stresses. The end result? By the time we’re in menopause, 75% of us will have had one or more yeast infections. These are typically episodes in which a yeast known as candida albicans–normally a harmless fellow-traveler in our vaginas–takes over. And the tell-tale symptoms of itching, burning, and a cottage cheese-like discharge make life really unpleasant for a few days.

Take a look at our WholeHealth Chicago suggestions. Not only can they help treat, they may also prevent, your next episode of yeast overgrowth.

What is Yeast Infection (Vaginal)?
Almost every woman experiences the burning and itching of a vaginal yeast infection at some time in her life. The cause of these infections is an organism called candida albicans, which normally coexists quietly with a variety of organisms in the vagina and in other moist, warm locations of the body. It’s only when certain conditions prevail that this fungus, commonly called a “yeast,” reproduces wildly and brings on some uncomfortable symptoms. Several species of Candida can cause yeast infections, but the yeast of “yeast infections” has nothing to do with the yeast that is used to leaven bread. Men can also develop yeast infections, particularly if they are uncircumcised. Sometimes there are no symptoms at all; when there are, the most usual one is inflammation of the tip of the penis. A man should always treat a yeast infection. Otherwise, he may pass the infection to his partner again and again.

Key Symptoms

  • Itching and burning in the genital area
  • Visible inflammation and redness
  • A thick, white discharge that may either smell “yeasty” (like bread) or have no odor

What Causes Yeast Infection (Vaginal)?
Yeast overgrowth can happen for two primary reasons: something has upset either the normal yeast/bacteria balance or acid/base (pH) level. Tight jeans, wet bathing suits, or nylon underwear can be enough to trigger a change in the vaginal environment. Birth control pills, spermicides, or diabetes can also increase the risk.

The vagina is especially vulnerable to yeast infection when the immune system is weak because of illness, stress, lack of sleep, HIV infection, or chemotherapy. And some antibiotics, among them ampicillin or tetracycline, can create a yeast-friendly vaginal environment by killing “good” bacteria that normally compete with yeast and keep the population in check.

Treatment and Prevention
Most conventional treatment these days is basically a short trip to the drugstore for one of the commercial anti-yeast vaginal creams. Slightly stronger forms of these creams are available with a doctor?s prescription. More stubborn cases are treated with three days of the antifungal medication Diflucan, which also requires a prescription.

Self-treatment of a yeast infection implies “self-diagnosis” as well. And identifying a yeast infection is not as simple as it seems. In one study, nine out of ten women who were given a description of the symptoms were still unable to correctly diagnose their own infection, and 65% of women who had had a previous infection were likewise incorrect. Many other women mistook other conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease and urinary tract infections, for yeast infections and were prepared to treat them with yeast creams, which would not have been effective.

So unless you?re pretty certain that you have a yeast infection, it?s probably a good idea to get a medical diagnosis before you begin treatment to treat yourself.

How Supplements Can Help
With the exception of the suppositories, you can use all of the supplements listed here along with over-the-counter or prescription yeast medications. Begin using supplements as soon as you notice yeast infection symptoms and continue until the infection clears.

Vitamin C and echinacea help the body fight an acute yeast infection by strengthening the immune system. Vitamin C appears to inhibit yeast growth, and echinacea may signal white blood cells to attack yeast.

Garlic extract is another immune stimulator and infection fighter. A key compound in this culinary staple is called allicin, and it seems to inhibit the enzymes that allow organisms to invade and damage tissues.

Acidophilus contributes “good” or pro-bacteria that can hold down the yeast population. It’s especially helpful when the yeast infection is the result of antibiotic use. For best results take it orally as capsules or use as a suppository daily while you’re taking the antibiotic and for about a week after you’ve completed it.

FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides) are indigestible carbohydrates that fuel “good bacteria” and encourage them to grow when taken daily.

Tea tree oil and vitamin A come in suppository form to be used every day. They are good alternatives to over-the-counter yeast-fighting creams: Tea tree oil is an antifungal and vitamin A keeps vaginal mucous membranes healthy.

Self-Care Remedies
The yeast that cause a yeast infection are not the same as those that leaven bread. Therefore, a “yeast-free” diet will not by itself treat a vaginal yeast infection. The one diet change you can make is to reduce your sugar intake. Candida thrives on sugar and it is for this reason that diabetics are especially prone to yeast infections. Some fruit and some honey is fine; it’s white sugar, and the hundreds of ways we use it, that needs watching.

A number of other self-care remedies will help the situation as well:

  • Wear cotton underwear only. If you need hosiery, wear thigh-highs instead of panty hose.
  • Avoid deodorized products, such as tampons, commercially prepared douches, or feminine deodorant sprays.
  • Wash the vaginal area with a mild, unscented soap.
  • Eat yogurt with live cultures. Studies show that a cup a day can reduce the number of yeast infections.
  • Douche with 2 teaspoons of powdered acidophilus in a quart of warm water instead of taking capsules or suppositories. You can also use lukewarm pau d’arco or goldenseal tea. Douche with two cups twice daily for no more than a week.

When to Call a Doctor

  • The first time you have any yeast infection symptoms
  • When a vaginal discharge has a strong, unpleasant smell or contains hints of blood
  • If you still have symptoms after five days of treatment
  • If you get another yeast infection in two months or less

Supplement Recommendations

From David Edelberg, M.D. at WholeHealth Chicago: As soon as you notice the symptoms of a yeast infection, start the treatments described below and begin taking the recommended supplements. Keep on using them until the infection is gone. Most acute infections will clear up within a week. If your infection is not gone in ten days, see your doctor. You can take the oral supplements along with standard over-the-counter anti-yeast vaginal creams.

If you’re prone to recurrent yeast infections, try continuing this supplement schedule on a permanent basis. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and diet is also important. But first have your doctor rule out any underlying problems that could be causing frequent infection.

How to Take the Supplements
Make sure you’re already taking a daily high-potency multivitamin, along with an antioxidant combination. A strong immune system is your best friend in fighting off an attack of this fungus.

Vitamin C and echinacea are two stellar immune boosters, and they can help stimulate white blood cells to wipe out yeast infections. Take the echinacea until the infection is gone, then continue to use it for three weeks of every month to help prevent a recurrence.

Garlic is another heavy-duty immune booster and infection fighter. A key compound in garlic called allicin can block the enzymes that allow organisms to invade and damage tissues. If you have recurrent infections, utilize the immune-boosting effects of garlic by taking one capsule each morning.

To build up your body’s supply of “friendly” yeast-fighting bacteria, take acidophilus–especially if you’ve been on antibiotics, which can destroy not just bad but also good bacteria. For chronic, recurrent infections, either take acidophilus capsules by mouth or eat a pint of live culture yogurt every day. To feed those friendly bacteria and encourage their growth, add FOS (fructo-oligosaccharides).

For special consideration
If you’d like to replace drugstore anti-yeast creams with natural substitutes, try suppositories made with tea tree oil (insert every 12 hours for 5 days) or with vitamin A (insert at bedtime for 1 week). Clinical studies have shown that tea tree oil is an effective antifungal substance. Vitamin A is useful for maintaining the health of the mucous membranes lining the vagina. Important:

We at WholeHealth Chicago strongly recommend that everyone take a high-potency multivitamin/mineral and well-balanced antioxidant complex every day. It may be necessary to adjust the dosages outlined below to account for your own daily vitamin regimen. All of our supplement recommendations also assume you are eating a healthful diet.

Be aware that certain cautions are associated with taking individual supplements, especially if you have other medical conditions and/or you’re taking medications. Key cautions are given in the listing below, but you need to see the WholeHealth Chicago Reference Library for a comprehensive discussion of each supplement’s cautions and drug/nutrient interactions.

For product recommendations and orders for the Natural Apothecary or call 773-296-6700 ext. 2001.

How Your Diet and Other Factors Can Cause or Prevent Yeast Infections

How Clothing Can Affect Yeast Infections

Cotton and silk underwear absorb moisture, keeping you dry.

On the other hand, nylon and other synthetic fabrics hold moisture close to your skin, encouraging the growth of yeast. Synthetic underwear may also cause allergy and hypersensitivity reactions that can alter the vagina environment and contribute to yeast infections.

What’s more, sitting around in sweaty gym clothes or a wet bathing suit provides an environment in which yeast can thrive. Change into dry clothes as soon as possible.

Pantyhose, tights, and leggings can cause heat and moisture to build up in the crotch area.

If you do wear pantyhose, be sure to wear cotton panties underneath, and choose pantyhose with a cotton crotch.

Avoid snug-fitting pajamas — a loose, flowing nightgown is preferable. And going without underwear while you sleep will help keep your genital area dry and discourage yeast growth.

Keeping the vagina clean will not only keep you smelling fresh, it can also help prevent yeast infections.

When bathing, be sure to clean the inside folds of the vagina where yeast is likely to grow.

Because yeast thrives in moist environments, it’s important to dry the entire vaginal area after taking a shower or bath. (8)

Certain Products, Antibiotics, and Conditions Are Linked to Yeast Infections Perfumes can be irritating to the sensitive area inside the vagina, and that can increase your risk of getting a yeast infection.

Also avoid scented sanitary pads and tampons and colored or printed toilet paper — dyes can also be irritating.

Douching destroys not only harmful bacteria, but also the helpful kind that keep yeast under control.

Douche products also wash away the natural protective lining of the vagina, leaving you more susceptible to yeast and other vaginal infections, while also introduces substances that may cause allergic reactions and alter the pH balance (acidity) of the vagina.

Antibiotic use has been linked to the onset of yeast infections because these drugs can kill beneficial bacteria in the body, making it easier for Candida yeast to proliferate. Take antibiotics only as directed and avoid unnecessary antibiotic use.

Finally, a healthy immune system helps keep yeast under control.

Try keeping a regular sleep schedule and avoiding exercise, caffeine, and heavy meals within three hours of bedtime. Consider stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and regular exercise, to keep down high levels of stress, which can compromise your immune system. (9)

Immune-depressing diseases such as diabetes and HIV can also increase the risk of yeast infections.

Additionally, if you have diabetes, it’s important to keep your blood sugar levels under control to prevent yeast infections. Sugar is a prime food source for yeast. (1,8)

Can you recommend natural ways to treat a yeast infection?

I’m not aware of any successful natural treatments (OTC antifungal medications are best), but you can prevent yeast infections from developing. It’s all about balance: The vagina naturally contains small amounts of yeast called Candida albicans, which normally is harmless. But when that yeast grows out of control, symptoms like itchiness, irritation, and thick, white vaginal discharge can develop. Ward off infections by taking the following steps:

1. Keep dry: Both heat and moisture encourage yeast to multiply. Wear cotton underwear and change out of tight, wet, or sweaty clothing, such as workout wear and swimsuits, as soon as possible.

2. Avoid antibiotics. In addition to killing germs, they destroy the beneficial bacteria in the body that can help keep yeast under control. Use only when necessary.

3. Steer clear of chemicals. So-called feminine hygiene products, including sprays and douches, can throw the vagina’s ecosystem out of balance as well.

4. Relax. Manage stress and get adequate sleep: A weakened immune system makes you susceptible to infection.

5. Tweak your diet. Yeast feeds on sugar, so cut down on foods that cause blood sugar to spike, such as sugary desserts, soft drinks, and processed grains. Eat more yogurt, which is rich in beneficial bacteria, and raw garlic, a potent antifungal agent.

6. Supplement. If you get more than three yeast infections a year, consider taking a daily probiotic that contains Lactobacillus bacteria. Studies show that these healthy bacteria produce lactic acid and other substances, which maintain a low pH in the vagina, preventing Candida overgrowth.

Source: Andrew Weil, MD, clinical professor of medicine at the University of Arizona and director of its Program in Integrative Medicine.

Andrew Weil Dr.

Yeast Infections: Fact vs. Fiction

Are you a regular shopper in the feminine hygiene aisle? You may think you’re doing everything you should to keep your vagina clean and healthy. But if you’re stocking up on products like douches and deodorant sprays, you should think again.

Products like these are often marketed to women who want to stay fresh and clean. But it’s a myth that you need these feminine products to practice good hygiene.

The lowdown on douching

Douching is washing out the vagina with water, vinegar, or other special rinses. Many women douche because they learned about this practice from their mothers. But moms don’t always know best. Today, most doctors advise against douching as it can do more harm than good.

Douching upsets the careful balance of bacteria and organisms inside the vagina. It’s normal to have small amounts of yeast and certain types of friendly bacteria in your vagina. But if friendly bacteria are wiped out by douching, your yeast levels can quickly get out of control. When this balance is out of whack, you may experience the symptoms of a yeast infection. So go ahead… ditch those douches, unless, of course, your doctor has suggested them!

The scoop on scented products

Feminine and hygiene products often come primed with perfumes, fragrances, and dyes. You can buy scented sprays, toilet paper, tampons and pads, soap, bubble bath, lotion, laundry detergent, and fabric softeners. But the same chemicals that colour or scent the products can also cause irritation in your vaginal area. And if your skin is already inflamed, you may get a yeast infection.

So the next time you’re shopping, leave the scented stuff on the shelves. Opt for unscented products, and avoid bubble baths and strong soaps.

Keeping it clean

Many women are surprised to learn that a vagina is self-cleaning. Its natural discharges help protect you from harmful bacteria. That means it’s better to leave your vagina well enough alone. Here are some more hygiene tips:

  • Wash the external part of your vagina with mild soap or even plain water. That’s all you need to do to keep yourself clean.
  • Always dry yourself thoroughly after washing, swimming, or exercising.
  • On the toilet, wipe from front to back, not back to front.
  • Give your vagina some breathing space! Avoid tight pants. Wear underwear made of cotton rather than nylon, which can trap dampness.

Practicing first-rate hygiene means you’re one step closer to preventing a yeast infection. If you do experience the symptoms of a yeast infection, see your doctor.

All material copyright MediResource Inc. 1996 – 2020. Terms and conditions of use. The contents herein are for informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Source: www.medbroadcast.com/healthfeature/gethealthfeature/Yeast-Infections-Fact-vs-Fiction

Could beer have an impact on your vaginal health? (Picture: Getty/Metro.co.uk)

Yeast infections are no fun.

Just ask anyone who’s ever had to put up with a sore, itchy vagina and painful sex at the hands of thrush. You’ll have plenty of people to quiz, considering thrush affects 3 in 4 women.

While thrush – also known as yeast infections and vaginal candidiasis – can seem to appear out of nowhere, we know the infection is caused by an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus called candida albicans, which happens when the vagina’s healthy bacterial balance is disrupted.

That can be caused by using scented cleaning products, wearing tight clothing, wiping back to front, or sex (thrush isn’t a sexually transmitted disease, but you may find that penetrative sex disrupts vagina’s pH balance, leading to infection).

But given that the infection is an overgrowth of a yeast-like fungus, and it’s got ‘yeast’ in the name, we’ve always wondered: Do yeast infections have anything to do with eating bread or drinking beer, both of which also contain yeast?

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One woman has baked a loaf of sourdough with her vaginal yeast, which was… interesting. So we know that the yeast in the vagina and the yeast in bread are capable of doing similar things.

So does drinking beer and eating bread increase your likelihood of developing yeast infections? And what happens if your beer-drinking partner goes down on you? Are you doomed to the itchy power of thrush?

It’s complicated.

No research has been done on how drinking beer (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

No research has been done on how drinking beer and then performing oral sex affects the vagina, sadly, so information is extremely limited.

We spoke to GP Dr Roger Henderson, speaking on behalf of thrush experts Canesten, who told us that we don’t need to worry too much about turning down oral if we’ve been down the pub.

‘If your partner drinks beer and then goes down on you, there is little chance of this causing a vaginal yeast infection,’ Dr Henderson tells Metro.co.uk.

Think about it – even if beer did have an impact on yeast when applied directly to the vagina, there would be such small amounts being transferred through oral that it’s highly unlikely to have an effect – especially as by the time it’s served beer has left most of its yeast behind in the brewing process.

Oral is risky, however, if your partner has oral thrush, as this can be passed on through oral.

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‘If they have oral thrush then there is a definite risk of them passing this on to you vaginally and you may then develop the symptoms of vaginal thrush shortly afterwards,’ Dr Henderson explains.

In terms of drinking beer and downing bread yourself, it’s really not clear whether this has any impact on your likelihood to develop yeast infections. Again, there hasn’t been enough research into the area, but some people do report a reduction in yeast infection occurrence when they have a low-yeast diet.

What you choose to eat does have an impact on your vaginal health, but it won’t necessarily be bread and beer that’s the cause of any issues.

Dr Henderson tells us: ‘Some people with chronic yeast infections do report that their symptoms appear to improve if they change to a low-yeast diet.

Is bread to blame for your itchy vag? (Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)

‘Eating foods that are very high in sugar – especially if you suffer from diabetes – has been associated with yeast infections, and occasionally recurrent yeast infections may be linked to a poor diet if you are not getting enough iron and you develop an iron-deficiency anaemia.

‘A poor diet can also increase your risk of obesity and therefore yeast infections, as people who are very overweight have more skin folds that are warm and moist and so are prone to yeast infections there.’

It’s also worth noting that alcohol of any kind – including beer – can weaken the immune system, which may make it trickier to banish thrush and other infections. Your body needs to be fighting fit and alcohol-free to recover.

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So to be clear: If you currently have someone keen to go to town, but they happened to drink one beer earlier, don’t hold back out of fear of yeast infections. As long as you’re both sufficiently sober to consent, of course.

In the short-term, a beer or a slice of bread will not land you with thrush. You’re only in trouble if your diet is heavy in sugar and your body responds to that by making your vagina panic.

If you have thrush, avoid drinking beer or other alcohol so you can recover speedily, but beyond that, your vagina doesn’t have to prevent you from enjoying all your carby and carnal delights.

If you do find yourself having recurrent yeast infections, chat to your GP or gynaecologist to check there’s nothing to worry about, then take more conventional steps to preventing infection before reducing your (or your partner’s) beer and bread intake.

Easy tips to prevent thrush:

  • Avoid using scented products around your vulva and vagina – warm water to clean the vulva is all you need
  • Wipe from front to back, never back to front
  • Choose underwear made from natural fabrics
  • Take a break from wearing tights and skinny jeans to give your vagina a little room to breathe
  • Change your underwear after working out
  • Don’t put things in your vagina that aren’t supposed to be there – no detox balls, cucumbers, or anything else that could disrupt your bacterial balance

MORE: Having vaginismus does not mean the end of your sex life – and you are not alone

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I have seen several patients in particular who find it almost impossible to stay away from alcohol yet who have digestive issues, skin complaints and fatigue. This to me is saying that you have a money problem yet you keep taking on more credit with the bank and continue a gambling habit. Of course you have a problem, and the cause is right under your nose but you are either in denial or you just can’t be bothered. I can’t think of any food or beverage more destructive for the candida patient than alcohol.
Before I continue with this article, you should know I’ve recently compiled a list of science-backed ways to get rid of candida yeast infections. You can if you haven’t yet.

It never ceases to amaze me when I read many different blog sites, e-newsletters, e-books and other sources of information with regard to candida yeast infections, that most practitioners (and their patients) completely overlook one of the biggest maintaining causes (probably the # 2 dietary cause) of on-going yeast infections – alcohol. Now that I have your full and complete attention, listen up if you have candida and drink wine, beer or spirits please STOP!

There is plenty of scientific evidence that alcohol is harmful to health. It is in fact classified as a cancer causing agent in humans by International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) based on studies in humans, animals and studies on mechanisms by which alcohol can cause cancer. Apart from cancer, alcohol consumption is related to 60 different diseases and conditions which include:

  • lung disease
  • heart disease
  • reproductive disorders
  • mental and behavioural disorders
  • and also cause problems in the developing foetus.

When we drink alcohol, it is broken down in the liver where an enzyme known as alcohol dehydrogenase converts it into acetaldehyde. Then another enzyme breaks it down further into acetate, which gives our cells energy. The problem is that the body’s ability to convert acetaldehyde is undermined when there is more acetaldehyde in your body than the enzyme you can produce. High levels of this chemical remain in the body and can cause a kind of poisoning which not only does physical damage but can very much distort mental perceptions. A majority of alcohol’s harmful effects are due to the acetaldehyde. If you think that it is only alcoholics or people with a high level of toxicity who would get these effects, well ask yourself if you have ever had a hangover. Hangover is the first obvious sign that you have acetaldehyde accumulated in the body.

  • Oral Yeast Infection (Oral Thrush) Symptoms, Causes & Treatment
  • Fatty Liver And Candida Infection: Is it Connected?
  • Candida Yeast Overgrowth And Carbohydrates
  • Everything You Need To Know About Candida Glabrata
  • Candida Patients And Low Blood Sugar Issues
  • Feeling Fatigue, Low Immune System And Mood Instability

An additional factor to consider is alcohol sensitivity. A review article that was published in 1987 by Goedde and Agarwal discusses alcohol sensitivity where people who have a certain genetic makeup are deficient in the enzyme that converts acetaldehyde to clear it from the system. This results in acute alcohol sensitivity symptoms (flushing response) even by drinking very low amounts of alcohol.

Apart from this, if you are a woman, alcohol causes tissue damage more rapidly compared to men. Eriksson and colleagues from Finland published a research in 1996 which showed that acetaldehyde levels rise much more when women take alcohol during the high estrogen phases of the menstrual cycle. The same is also true for women who take oral contraceptives.

You may think that a little alcohol might be alright – but it is not known how little is little enough. A 1994 review of 10 years of research by Frank Holloway of USA concluded “a variety of factors may influence sensitivity to alcohol effects from time to time, person to person, and/or situation to situation”. Another 1992 review by Pedro Catarino from UK had commented “The idea that there is a safe level of alcohol consumption below which there are no adverse effects remains simplistic when based on the evidence we have accumulated to date. What is safe for one individual may not be for another – safety continues to be a relative matter in any discussion of alcohol use.”

On this matter, the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “This might not be the answer people want to hear, but there is no safe level for drinking alcohol. Of course there is lower-risk drinking, but WHO does not set particular limits, because the evidence shows that the ideal situation for health is to not drink at all.”

There is evidence that candida also produces acetaldehyde. It is able to use both alcohol and sugars (further reading – candida and sugar connection) for its energy needs and in turn produces acetaldehyde. Now, consider this situation:

  • You are suffering from candida and candida produces acetaldehyde in your body.
  • Your liver enzyme is continuously trying to clear the acetaldehyde produced by candida by converting it.
  • You then go ahead and have alcohol. Your body converts alcohol to acetaldehyde.
  • You will now not have enough enzyme to convert the acetaldehyde that is produced from alcohol breakdown by your body! Acetaldehyde will accumulate and cause toxicity.

You can read in details about how and why acetaldehyde can harm you – especially so if you are also suffering from candida infection here.

Remember, alcohol of any kind is bad for your candida infection. Anything that contains ethanol is!

Do all the arguments that you find on the internet make sense?

You will find a lot of conflicting information on the internet. You will also find arguments that say that it is ok to drink alcohol while on a candida diet. The arguments also seem logical by themselves. But let us look a couple of the arguments out there and find out how much they stand against evidence:

1) “The liver does not metabolize alcohol into sugar. On the contrary, most people will experience a dip in their blood sugar (glucose) levels when consuming alcohol. Alcohol is eventually broken down by the liver into acetate, and finally into carbon dioxide and water—not sugar.”–by David J. Hanson, Ph. D

It is true and is known for a long time that the liver does not metabolize alcohol into sugar – it produces acetaldehyde which is eventually broken down to acetate which is used by the cells for energy. It is also true that most people will experience a dip in blood sugar levels on consuming alcohol.

But does that mean that alcohol can actually function to your advantage by decreasing blood glucose and not allowing candida to grow? There are a few facts you should consider:

  • Candida can actually use ethanol as its energy source. Some strains of Candida albicans can use ethanol more effectively than others and produce acetaldehyde. Even Candida glabrata which is also involved in causing candida infections can utilise ethanol to produce acetaldehyde. So if you drink alcohol and think that it does not matter to candida, it does – it makes candida very happy!
  • Well, if you think that drinking alcohol will cause a reduction in your blood glucose level and thereby not be good for candida and thus good for you, think again. Why do you want to forget (or ignore) acetaldehyde that is produced from ethanol and the harm it can cause? If you are a candida sufferer, you are at an even higher risk of acetaldehyde accumulation as described earlier. So, yes, alcohol may reduce your blood sugar that candida likes for a meal, but beware, you are inviting an even bigger evil than sugar – acetaldehyde! Also, candida will love to use alcohol as its energy source if you are running low on blood glucose.

2) “Enjoy a drink because candida cannot feed with alcohol. Ethanol is a candida waste, it is not food for candida. Rum, Vodka, etc. Even beers if you aren’t allergic to yeast and gluten intolerant, you can drink them safe. Chose light beers to limit the carbohydrates amount. Alcohol is going to give calories to you. It is a MYTH you cannot drink during a candida diet. So, enjoy!!!!”

WOW, this one is simply WRONG. I suppose that by now you can already see yourself how wrong this is. Yes, sugars are broken down to ethanol by candida – but ethanol is not really a waste! As mentioned earlier, candida will be as happy to use ethanol as sugar. Another enzyme from candida converts ethanol into acetaldehyde and yet another enzyme converts acetaldehyde to acetate to give candida energy. So, ethanol is not good for candida – it is FOOD for candida. But if you drink any alcoholic drink when you have candida infection, you are inviting trouble as acetaldehyde is very reactive and it can interact with your molecules while candida converts it to acetate. Some candida strains are slow or deficient in this conversion and can cause acetaldehyde to accumulate and cause harm.

Another reason why you should not drink when you have candida infections is that alcohol affects your gut in many different ways – some of which may cause candida related harm. Let us have a look at few of these effects described in an article from 1997 by Bode and Bode from Germany and how these could potentially relate to candida issues:

  • Alcohol injures the mucosal membrane: If you have candida infections, this will only help candida to grow deeper into the tissues.
  • Alcohol interferes with absorption of nutrients: Nutrient (vitamin and mineral) deficiency could put you at a higher risk for candida infections.
  • Alcohol causes dysbiosis: There is evidence that drinking alcohol causes change in the bacterial microflora in your gut. This changed bacterial growth produce endotoxins and inflammation. You know very well that one of the major causes of candida overgrowth is dysbiosis.
  • Alcohol increases the permeability of the gut: This allows larger molecules like toxins produced by microbes and other chemicals to pass through the gut into the bloodstream. This can cause injury to your liver because these toxins in the blood stimulate inflammatory response. Also, candida by itself is known to increase the permeability of the gut resulting in food allergies. Having alcohol can actually aggravate your food/other allergies even further.
  • Alcohol with over 15% alcohol decreases your bowel function: Because of this the digested food remains longer in the intestines which could cause microbes to start degrading it causing bloating and gas. Increased permeability of the gut may allow the degradation products to get into your bloodstream.

The Solution

You know the solution, STOP all alcohol completely and watch what happens to your digestive system and bowel motion. You can also take CanXida supplement – you can find more about it on canxida.com. You will be most surprised to see a change over seven to ten days, I guarantee it. If this happens, and it will (unless you also eat lots of take-out and processed foods) you are on your way to great health. Congratulations, you are finally in what I call the “wake-up” mode. You have seen the light and will not only be decreasing your population of intestinal yeast, you will be improving your health in ways you didn’t think were possible – that skin rash will go, that itchy groin will go, that vaginal discharge will go, and many other signs and symptoms of a candida yeast infection will go.

Trust me; you will wonder why you didn’t see the light years ago. Don’t kid yourself – one glass a week is enough to keep you in the candida zone. If you are serious about eradicating a condition which has been bugging you for years, you will only know if the condition is caused by alcohol be stopping it. You can also get my book CandidaCrusher where I go in detail on how you can eradicate candida once and for all.

List of some frequently asked questions about candida and alcohol.

  • Always Disconnected & Dizzy: Is It Candida?
  • Alcohol Causes Many Yeast Infections
  • 12 Tips for Improving Your Bowel Function – Part 2
  • Candida Yeast Infections And Drunk Disease
  • Is Yakult Good for Candida?
  • Is Pumpkin Seeds Allowed If I Have Yeast Infection?

Does drinking alcohol cause candida?
Yes, drinking alcohol can cause candida through various mechanisms described in this article.

Does sugar alcohol affect candida?

Yes. Read more here.

Can alcohol worsen my candida if I drink it?

Yes, it can definitely worsen your candida. Candida can use alcohol as food and grow.

Is there any alcohol that doesn’t feed candida so I can drink once in a while if I am on candida diet? Or all types of alcohol are bad for candida?

All types of alcohol are bad for candida – if there is ethanol in your drink, it is bad for you.

Can I drink alcohol after I got rid of my candida overgrowth?

If you wish to avoid getting candida in the future, you should completely avoid alcohol as it can not only promote dysbiosis, attachment and penetration of candida, but also act as fuel for candida to grow on.

Can I drink Vodka?

No. Vodka has high amounts of alcohol, so you cannot drink it on a candida diet.

Does isopropyl alcohol kill candida?

Yes, 70-90% isopropyl alcohol can kill candida. Isopropyl alcohol, like ethanol kills microbes, but only at these very high concentrations.

Can alcohol kill candida?

Alcoholic beverages cannot kill candida as they do not have high enough concentration of ethanol.

What is alcohol challenge test? Is it good to detect candida overgrowth?

The “alcohol challenge test” is a test which checks if you have production of alcohol in your gut. A few cases were reported where people had all the symptoms of being drunk without having drunk any alcohol. This was attributed to the yeast growing in the system and was termed as the “auto-brewery” syndrome. This can be caused by alcoholic fermentation of carbohydrates in the gut by both bacteria (Neisseria and Clostridium) and yeasts (like the Brewer’s yeast – Saccharomyces and Candida) that have an overgrowth in the gut.

Basically, you fast for at least 3 hours before the test and should not have taken alcohol for 24 hours and then are fed glucose. Blood samples before and after feeding glucose are taken and tested for ethanol.

As this test can come out to be positive because of many different organisms it is not a very reliable test for candida overgrowth.

What about alcohol free wine/beer for candida is that okay?

No, they are not, especially if you are allergic to yeasts. Although the yeast may have been thoroughly filtered out, the compounds that yeast produces will still be there. Non-alcoholic wines and beers also contain small amounts (less than 0.5%) of alcohol. But if you are on a candida diet, the candida will absolutely love the little alcohol that you give it.

Are spirits or gin okay?

No, they are not as they contain large amounts of ethanol.

Is alcohol not allowed because it can cause die off?

No, this is not true. Drinking alcohol will not cause die-off. Alcoholic drinks cannot kill candida as they do not have enough ethanol to have the microbe killing effect.

If you’re like 75% of women, you’ll get at least one yeast infection during your lifetime. Half will get two or more.

You’re more likely to get one when you:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have diabetes
  • Have a weakened immune system
  • Take antibiotics
  • Use birth control with high doses of the hormone estrogen
  • Use douches or vaginal sprays

It may not be possible for all women to prevent yeast infections, but here’s what you can do to lower your odds.

  1. Wear breathable underwear. Cotton is your best choice. It doesn’t hold onto heat or moisture. It will help keep you dry.
  2. Keep things loose. Make sure your jeans, skirts, underwear, yoga pants, tights, pantyhose, etc. aren’t too snug. They can boost your body temperature and increase the amount of moisture around your private parts. That raises your chances for a yeast infection.
  3. Don’t douche. “Feminine hygiene products” like douches can disrupt the balance of bacteria in your vagina by removing some of the good bacteria that’s supposed to be there to fight off infections.
  4. Skip the scent in feminine products. This includes bubble baths, soaps, sprays, tampons, and pads.
  5. Avoid hot tubs and extra hot baths. Hot and damp are never your friends.
  6. Change out of wet clothes. Don’t sit in a wet bathing suit after you go swimming or damp workout gear after the gym. Change into dry clothes right away.
  7. In the ba throom, always wipe from front to back.
  8. When on your period, change your tampons, pads, and panty liners often.
  9. Manage your diabetes. If you have it, be sure to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels and keep them under control.
  10. Use antibiotics only when you have to. You don’t need them for conditions like a cold, because they don’t do anything against a virus. If you don’t have to, don’t take them.

Yeast Infections

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Treatment

Antifungal medications are used to treat yeast infections. These medications are available in various over-the-counter (OTC) preparations and in one-, three- and seven-day doses. They include:

Differences among the various OTC medications include the length of treatment indicated, preparation type and cost. The shorter course of treatment is more convenient but often more expensive. The one-, three- and seven-day durations of treatment appear to be equally effective. Prescription antifungal treatments also are available.

In general, it’s acceptable to use OTC antifungal medication to self-treat your symptoms if you’ve had a yeast infection diagnosed by a health care professional before and you are now experiencing the same symptoms.

However, if you meet any of the following circumstances, do not self-treat. Instead, contact a health care professional for guidance.

  • You’ve never had a yeast infection.

  • You have a fever and/or abdominal pain.

  • Your vaginal discharge is foul-smelling.

  • You are diabetic, HIV-positive, pregnant or nursing.

  • You used an over-the-counter yeast treatment but your symptoms have not gone away or they returned almost immediately.

If you take medication to treat a yeast infection—OTC medication or prescription medication—be sure to take the full course of the prescription. Don’t stop using it, even if you begin to feel better.

If your symptoms don’t respond or return shortly after they’d cleared up, consult your health care professional. Don’t just try a different over-the-counter treatment; your symptoms may not be caused by yeast.

Studies find up to an 89 percent error rate in self-diagnosis of yeast infections. Thus, if you think that you have a yeast infection, there’s a high chance you’re wrong. If your symptoms don’t ease after a few days of self-treatment with OTC medicine, or if they return promptly, see your health care professional. Keep in mind, however, that vaginal and vulvar irritation may persist for two weeks.

Yeast infections also may clear up without any treatment. However, there is a very small chance that a yeast infection may lead to a serious infection known as systematic candidal disease. This complication usually only occurs in women with compromised immune systems.

Side effects of OTC medications for yeast infections are generally minor and include burning, itching, irritation of the skin and headache. However, as with any medication, more serious side effects are possible, though rare, and may include hives, shortness of breath and facial swelling. Seek emergency treatment immediately if any of these symptoms occur.

Antifungal medications may damage condoms and diaphragms, so if you’re using such a medication, take other precautions to protect against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Also, don’t use tampons while treating yeast infections with medication inserted into the vagina.

If you see a health care professional, he or she may prescribe a single dose of oral fluconazole (Diflucan) or a generic equivalent, although this treatment is not recommended during pregnancy. Also, do not take fluconazole if you are taking cisapride (Propulsid) because this drug combination could cause serious, even fatal, heart problems. There have been reported drug interactions between warfarin, an anticoagulant (blood thinner) medication, and topical miconazole nitrate products (such as Monistat) and oral fluconazole (Diflucan). Additionally, fluconazole may cause liver damage in rare instances, particularly in conjunction with alcohol use. Discuss all the medications you may be taking when you discuss your symptoms with your health care professional.

Also, notify your health care professional immediately if you develop a rash while taking fluconazole. Other, less serious side effects may be more likely to occur. These include:

  • diarrhea

  • headache

  • dizziness

  • stomach pain

  • heartburn

If you have a yeast infection, your sexual partners do not need to be treated. However, if a male sex partner shows symptoms of candida balanitis—redness, irritation and/or itching at the tip of the penis—he may need to be treated with an antifungal cream or ointment.

Medications cure 80 to 90 percent of vaginal yeast infections within two weeks or less, often within a few days with less severe infections.

A small percentage of women (less than 5 percent) experience recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (RVVC), defined as four or more yeast infections per year. Treatment involves a longer course of treatment—between 7 and 14 days of a topical cream or suppository or oral fluconazole followed by a second and third dose three and six days later. Your health care professional may also recommend a preventative treatment after the infection has resolved. This treatment may involve a 150 mg dose of fluconazole or 500 mg of topical clotrimazole once a week.

Prevention

Among the strategies that may prevent vaginal yeast infections are:

  • Keep the external genital area clean and dry.

  • Avoid irritating soaps (including bubble bath) and vaginal sprays.

  • Avoid scented soaps, powders or toilet tissue.

  • Avoid daily use of panty liners, which can trap moisture and prevent good airflow.

  • Change tampons and sanitary napkins frequently.

  • Wear loose cotton underwear that doesn’t trap moisture.

  • After swimming, change immediately into dry clothing instead of staying in your wet bathing suit.

  • If you have diabetes, try to maintain stable blood sugar levels.

  • Take antibiotics only when prescribed by your health care professional and never for longer than directed. In addition to destroying bacteria that cause illness, antibiotics kill off the “good” bacteria that keep the yeast in the vagina at a normal level. If you tend to get yeast infections whenever you take an antibiotic, ask your doctor to prescribe a vaginal antifungal agent at the same time.

  • Wipe from the front to the rear (away from the vagina) after a bowel movement or urination.

  • Don’t use douches. Douching with vinegar or other chemicals increases the rate of vaginal yeast infections because it alters the vaginal bacterial balance.

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