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Yeast Infections - Natural Remedies To Cure "The Itch"

Aug 27, 2008
Yeast infections can take several forms and cause many health problems ranging from those that are simply irritating to those that are life-threatening. Yeast, known by the scientific name candida albicans is a fungus that lives in the human body as part of its natural flora. Certain conditions cause it to multiply, and this overgrowth causes ailments like thrush, esophagitis, and skin rashes. Yeast infections of the bloodstream can be very serious.

While not everyone is familiar with these conditions, any woman can name the most common form of candida overgrowth: the vaginal yeast infection. Rare is the woman who has escaped at least a few encounters with the itching and burning that characterizes the condition.

As previously mentioned, yeast lives throughout the body in safe amounts. The many factors that can upset the balance and cause a problematic increase of yeast in the vagina include hormonal changes, use of antibiotics, high blood sugar levels, excessive douching and use of highly-perfumed personal hygiene products, and very warm and damp conditions that occur from sweating and wearing wet bathing suits.

The first of these, hormonal changes, account for most yeast infections. Pregnancy, premenstrual hormonal fluctuations, hormone replacement therapy, and oral contraceptives can all trigger yeast overgrowth that causes the familiar troublesome symptoms of itching, burning, and cottage-cheese like discharge.

Another common culprit is antibiotic use. Antibiotics kill bacteria, including the useful bacteria in the vagina that keeps candida in check, allowing yeast to grow and cause infection.

Diabetics can get frequent yeast infections due to high blood sugar levels, as can those with impaired immunity. It's important to be checked by a health practitioner when one has recurring yeast infections, not only to rule out more serious diseases, but to confirm that the problems are being caused by a yeast infection and not something else with similar symptoms but that requires different treatment, like bacterial vaginosis.

Fortunately, there are many preventive measures and natural remedies to try when dealing with a yeast infection. Avoiding the known causes when possible is the first course of action you should take after seeing your doctor. Eating a nutritious diet that is well-balanced and avoiding excessive sweets, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and getting adequate sleep are advisable.

Lactobacillus acidophilus, a probiotic, or friendly bacteria, can be found in yogurts containing live cultures. These are much easier to find in supermarkets than in the past. Eating this is especially helpful when antibiotics are the cause of a yeast infection. If eating large quantities of yogurt does not sound appealing, acidophilus supplements are a convenient treatment or preventive measure for those prone to infection.

Direct methods of treatment can include inserting a tampon soaked in acidophilus-containing yogurt or diluted solutions of tea tree oil, boric acid, or cider vinegar with garlic. These remedies can also be applied to the vulva, the outer area of the vagina, to ease symptoms.

While comfort is not a word usually associated with vaginal yeast infections, here's hoping that knowing there is useful information available about how to deal with them is somehow comforting when you get that first sign of infection.
About the Author
Shannon Pollock has been teaching people about natural health remedies for many years. She is a specialist with experience in natural remedies for both people and animals.

For more information on natural ways to treat a yeast infection, as well as other natural health related topics, visit Shannon's website called Natural Health Remedies and More
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