If you have ever had a yeast infection, you know how much discomfort and pain it can bring. Most commonly it develops in the vaginal area, but the same type of fungus that causes it (called Candida albicans) can affect other areas or your skin. Fungal infection develops easier in a humid and warm environment, therefore, apart from the vagina, it can occur under skin folds in obese people, below the breasts, around dentures and in nail beds.
Causes and symptoms of yeast infection
Yeast infection occurs when the fungi that live in vagina develop to abnormal levels. Their presence in the vaginal area in small amounts is natural and does not affect the health unless they start spreading rapidly, triggered by an internal or an external factor.
Women are more vulnerable to yeast infection during pregnancy and antibiotic treatment. Diabetes, stress and steroid treatments may also influence the development of Candida albicans. During menopause yeast infections may occur more often since the decline of estrogen level affects the vaginal walls and they become thinner, weaker and more prone to infections.
Most common symptoms of yeast infection are redness, swelling, itchiness or even a burning sensation. It may be accompanied by a white discharge from the vagina. It’s normally odorless ant its texture reminds cottage cheese. When a woman suffers from a yeast infection, she will fell significant discomfort during the intercourse or while urinating.
The symptoms of yeast infection can be relieved with some home remedies that aim at restoring the bacterial balance in the affected area.
Home remedies for yeast infection
Natural yogurt with no added sugar can be used as a simple home remedy for yeast infection as it contains a high level of lactobacillus acidophilus, which is a type of ‘good’ bacteria that exists in every healthy body and helps control the spread of infection. There are various methods of including natural yoghurt in the antifungal treatment. You can apply it to the skin affected by yeast infection, cover it with a cotton cloth and leave it on for the night. Rinse it off with warm water in the morning and dry the skin well. Yoghurt is also safe to use in case of vaginal infections. The easiest way to apply it is to dip a tampon in the yogurt and insert it into the vagina. Leave it for two hours and remove it. You should repeat this procedure twice a day to achieve a significant relief from itchiness. Obviously, you can also incorporate natural yogurt in your diet to increase the level of lactobacillus acidophilus in your body. In this case, you can use any kind of natural or flavored yoghurt but try to avoid the sweetened versions since sugar intake boosts the development of yeast.
Due to their antifungal and antibacterial properties, cranberries are a popular ingredient in many over-the-counter and prescription-only medicines designed to fight infections. Cranberry supplements are recommended for women suffering from urinary tract conditions, including bladder infection. These fruits are of a great help when you fight a fungal infection. You should either eat 200 g of cranberries a day during the treatment period or drink 4-5 glasses of unsweetened cranberry juice. If you don’t like the taste of cranberries, you can buy cranberry supplements in many health food stores and pharmacies.
Coconut oil is another natural remedy well known for its anti-fungal properties. If the yeast infection occurs on your skin, it’s very simple to apply the oil on the affected area and you should do it 2-3 times a day to reduce the swelling and the itching as well as to kill the fungus. In case of a fungal infection in the mouth, you can swish the coconut oil twice a day for 10 minutes and spit it out. However, things get a bit more complicated when the infection develops in the vagina.
Coconut oil has a relatively solid texture, just like butter. What you can do to make it possible to insert it into the vagina is cool the coconut oil for an hour in the fridge, take one teaspoon of the oil and roll it with clean hands into a cylindrical suppository. They should resemble a tampon in shape and size. Place the coconut oil suppositories in the freezer and insert one into your vagina every night directly before bedtime. Make sure you wear briefs and a pad to protect the sheets from getting stained by any oil that might flow out during the night.
Apple Cider Vinegar
While apple cider vinegar is a very effective remedy for fungal infections, it can only be used externally on the skin or consumed with food or as a solution of equal parts of vinegar and water. Some people might recommend vaginal irrigation with a vinegar solution, but it might damage the good bacteria, too. If done improperly, vinegar irrigation can damage the walls of the vagina.