What Is Yeast?
Yeast is a fungus, that is normal and ever present in our mouth, large intestine, vagina and on the skin. A yeast "infection" is actually an over-growth of yeast in the vagina. Yeast infections cannot harm you, but may be extremely uncomfortable.
Is It Transmitted Sexually?
It is possible for yeast infections to be spread by sexual activity, however that is not always the case. When you come to Women's Health Specialists, discuss this with your clinician. You can decide whether your partner should be treated. Read information on Sexually Transmitted Infections and Safer Sex for more information on safer sex practices.
A yeast infection usually causes:
- intense itching inside the vagina or on the vulva (the outer genitals).
- The vagina can be become red and dry.
- Vaginal discharge is usually heavy, thick, with a white curded consistancy like cottage cheese.
- The odor isn't foul, but smells like bread yeast.
- The most widely known self-help remedy for yeast conditions is plain yogurt inserted into the vagina. There are many ways to put yogurt into the vagina. Using a speculum to separate the walls of the vagina to the place spoonfuls of yogurt into the vagina works. If you have a plastic insertion device you have used for other medications or spermicidal cream use it to put yogurt in your vagina.
- Douching (inserting fluid into your vagina) with yogurt diluted in water can be very beneficial for treating yeast infections.
The following home remedies are from Chris Nelson:
- Drink, douche and bathe with oat straw tea for one month.
- Apply a poultice of natural cottage or farmers cheese on a sanitary pad (or minipad). Change it several times per day. This will stop the itching and help draw out the infection. Use until symptoms do not reoccur within 12 hours. Cottage cheese contains lactobacillus, the normal bacteria of the vagina. Do not use supermarket cottage cheese, only natural food store type.
- Apply one applicator of yogurt or acidophilus culture at bedtime for 3 - 5 days. Alternatively, you can use acidophilus capsules inserted as a suppository. Use only natural food store or homemade yogurt.
- Paint the vagina with 1 - 2% water solution of gentian violet. Do this twice. Gentian violet will stain everything purple.
- Douche once a day for 5 days with: 1 TBSP potassium sorbate dissolved in 1-quart warm water. Potassium sorbate is an over-the-counter product. It is used to stop the fermentation of yeast in the winemaking process. Check at local pharmacies or winemaking stores.
- Douche once a day with: 1 TBSP vinegar to one quart of water. Use this in conjunction with yogurt. Yogurt and diluted vinegar (white vinegar) can be applied externally to help with itching and inflamed labia.
Maintaining Vaginal Health
Yeast and Bacteria live in unison in our bodies, and check on each other's growth. Anything that causes an inbalance on the yeast/bacteria normal growth in the vagina can cause a yeast or bacterial infection. Most women get yeast 'infections' after taking antibiotics because the antibiotics have killed the bacteria. Many women on the Pill have chronic yeast 'infections' because the the Pill alters the the natural balance of vaginal organisms.
- There are drugs available from your practitioner including vaginal creams, anti-fungal medications. These medications can work to relieve your symptoms and decrease the yeast.
- Be informed that sometimes the medications can spur on other vaginal irritations because it depletes the vagina of too much yeast.