According to a recent report, more than 300 million women worldwide are affected by urinary tract infections, bacterial vaginosis, and yeast infections every year. Yeast infections alone affect 75 percent of American women before menopause.
What Causes Yeast Infections?
Vaginal infections can be itchy and uncomfortable, and sometimes even painful. Most yeast infections occur when there’s excess yeast or Candida albicans fungus in the vagina.
In most cases, these organisms live in a healthy balance and as part of the vaginal flora. However, certain factors can disrupt the natural balance causing an infection. This can happen when:
- The vaginal pH or microbiome gets disrupted
- When there’s an imbalance in the gut microbiome
- When blood sugar levels are high
- Dietary changes
- Antibiotic therapy
- Cigarette smoking
- Sexual activity
Symptoms of a Yeast Infection
- Burning sensation in the vagina and vulva
- Frequent urination
- Itchy and irritated vulva
- Mild discharge odor
- Yellowish, yeasty discharge
What are Probiotics?
Probiotics are microorganisms that can be introduced into the body for their beneficial qualities — these live yeasts and bacteria that are good for the body, especially the digestive system.
This “good” bacterium is known to help keep the gut healthy and can be found in supplements and some foods including yogurt. The probiotic helps prevent overgrowth of Candida and other bacteria.
Can I use Probiotics for Yeast Infection?
Yes, you can. As mentioned, probiotics could help restore the balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria and clear up symptoms or even prevent the infection altogether.
Many types of bacteria are classified as probiotics. They all have different benefits, but most probiotics come from to main groups:
This is one of the most common probiotics. These “friendly” bacteria usually reside in our urinary, digestive, and genital systems. Lactobacillus can be found in yogurt, some fermented foods, and in dietary supplements.
Lactobacillus is used for treating and preventing diarrhea. It’s also used to treat and prevent diarrhea associated with antibiotics. Additionally, it can be used for infection with Helicobacter pylori; a type of bacteria that causes vaginal yeast infections.
This is a type of bacteria that normally reside in the intestines. The bacteria can be found in fermented foods like cheese and yogurt.
Bifidobacterium helps the body take in nutrients and prevent the overgrowth of “bad” bacteria. These probiotics are used in cases where a disease or infection might occur due to a reduced number of “good” bacteria. Simply put, Bifidobacterium prevent the reduction of good bacteria and the take-over by harmful bacteria.
What Do Probiotics Do for the Body?
Most women use plain yogurt to heal yeast infections. A study published in 2012 found that a mixture of natural yogurt with honey had similar effects to traditional antifungal medications. NB: honey contains antimicrobial properties that help balance the bacteria levels in the body and reduce vaginal inflammation.
However, the honey and yogurt mixture is effective at reducing yeast infection symptoms while antifungal probiotic medications are more effective at eliminating fungi.
For best results, it’s recommended that you combine the prescribed antifungal medications such as fluconazole with probiotic vaginal suppositories inserted in the vagina. The combination reduces the chances that your infection will reappear again.
If you get recurring yeast infections and you experience side effects from traditional antifungal medication, this combination might be beneficial for you.
How to Use Probiotics for Yeast Infection
Probiotics are available in the form of capsules of suppositories. Vaginal-friendly probiotics can be taken orally or vaginally. Keep an eye out for tablets and suppositories that lists Lactobacillus on their list of bacteria.
Orally – Depending on your yeast infection severity and frequency, your doctor might prescribe capsules that should be taken daily. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for fast results.
Vaginally – Suppositories are easy to use. Simply use your finger and insert the prescribed capsule, similar to how you’d insert a tampon.
For a more cost-effective method, use plain yogurt – Ensure you select one with a label that mentions Lactobacillus. NB: Avoid yogurts with added flavoring and sugar as yeast feeds on sugars. To use yogurt, remove a tampon from its applicator and refill the applicator with yogurt.
Next, lie down and insert the applicator into your vagina and release the yogurt inside. Remain on your back for a few minutes to allow the yogurt to settle. Afterward, apply some yogurt to your vulva (the outer part of your vagina). This will help relive and itching or burning sensation.
For best results, apply yogurt right before bed as it will eventually start leaking out of your vagina. If used during the day, line your underwear with a panty liner or a pad to protect your clothing.
Other Ways to Treat Yeast Infections
If you get recurring infections, then it might be an indicator that you need to heal your gut. The best way to approach this is by removing all sugars and simple carbs from your diet.
Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in good proteins and taking the probiotics mentioned above can help heal your gut.
Introduce veggies, eat healthy fibers from legumes, flax seeds, and include at least ¼ cup of lacto fermented vegetables into your daily diet. Don’t forget to take your probiotics as recommended by your physician.
Read More :- Best Probiotics For Women – The Ones That Work
How Long do Probiotics take to Work?
Oral probiotics can take from one week up to a month to rebalance the vaginal bacteria levels. Applying yogurt and honey can take about two weeks to work. Using vaginal suppositories is the most effective way as it takes about a week to work.
For faster results, consider combining all methods mentioned above. Don’t forget to change your diet as well.
Remember to check with your doctor before using probiotics, especially if you have a weakened immune system due to treatment you’ve received or due to an underlying condition.
However, adverse reactions are infrequent nonetheless. Some common but mild side effects to using probiotics for yeast infection include bloating and gas.
If you experience recurring vaginal infections that don’t respond to simple probiotic treatment, please see a physician to get appropriate testing.
LIFE RENU Recommended Probiotic
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