Have you experienced the symptoms before — the annoying vaginal itch and thick, milky discharge? Was that first attack irritating, maybe even frightening? If you’ve suffered through just one “yeast” infection, you certainly don’t want to go through it again. So, why not have a look at some home remedies for vaginal yeast infections?
Some Helpful Tips
Unfortunately, half of all women have more than one infection in their lives. But don’t despair. While there is no permanent cure, there is good news.
First-timers, see a doctor.
You may have heard that itching and discharge signal the start of infection. But did you know that some women also experience soreness or rashes in the vaginal area, even pain during urination or intercourse?
And did you know that other, more serious conditions, like sexually transmitted diseases, can have some of the same symptoms?
Don’t make the mistake of self-diagnosis when those first symptoms appear. You could be headed for trouble if you’re treating the wrong disease.
See your doctor. Remember, it often takes laboratory tests to know for sure.
Understand your risk
What are your chances for a yeast infection? To get some idea of what puts you at risk, you need to understand how and why a very small “yeast” can become so much trouble.At any given time, different areas of your body may be harboring colonies of Candida, the tiny fungus cells responsible for yeast infections.
Usually, that’s no problem. When you’re healthy, your body’s various defense systems are quite capable of handling these little organisms.
But when your immune system is weakened, fungus cells can quickly launch an invasion, especially in the genital tract, where there’s plenty of warmth and moisture.
Stress, both mental and physical, hormonal changes from pregnancy or birth control, diabetes, common viruses and HIV are just a few conditions that can put your immune system “out-of order.”
Even the medication you took to cure another infection may be a problem. Some antibiotics are so strong they destroy both “good” and “bad” bacteria in your body. And you need those good bacteria. They’re the first line of defense against fungal growth.
Keep yourself “cool”
Sometimes you can’t avoid the problems that leave your immune system vulnerable to infection. But you certainly don’t need to make it easier for yeast to take hold.
A yeast cell in your vaginal tract will thrive with extra heat and moisture. And unless you take a few precautions, you could be providing a very “warm welcome” for the next fungal invasion.
Blow it dry
Keep the area around your thighs and crotch as dry as possible. Take extra time to towel off after a shower, especially in the summer.
You may want to use your blow dryer on a low setting to help dry your genital area after you bathe or shower.
Change out of that damp bathing suit as soon as possible too. If you don’t, you are inviting trouble.
Dress loose and cool
Try to avoid fabrics that keep moisture trapped against your skin. Summer or winter, the right clothes can make a healthy difference. First, wear cotton panties.
Second, don’t wear pantyhose or tight clothes every day. Synthetic fibers in pantyhose and underwear, even the heavy fibers in very tight-fitting jeans, won’t draw dampness away from your body. Loose, cool and dry — that’s the prescription for smart dressing.
Wipe from front to back.
Wiping front to back when you use the toilet will help keep the bacteria in your rectum away from your vagina.
And don’t use feminine hygiene sprays, deodorant sanitary pads or tampons, bubble bath, or colored or perfumed toilet paper. All of these products can change the acidic environment in your vagina, and that allows the yeast to grow.
Eat yogurt to ward off bacteria
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just take a “spoonful of medicine” to stop yeast growth be fore the infection ever got started? Unfortunately, experiments taking this approach have had limited success.
However, some studies suggest that eating live bacteria found in yogurt might ward off fungal growth.
Buy an over-the-counter anti-fungal medicine
But for now, your best answer is medication that you apply after the symptoms appear. Inexpensive, nonprescription anti-fungal drugs usually destroy most yeast cells in just a few days.
To make sure the infection is really cleared up, you should use the full supply of medicated inserts or suppositories as directed.
And always heed the manufacturer’s warnings — if the symptoms don’t improve within three days, see your doctor. Don’t let the problem drag on.
It could be a lot more serious than a yeast infection…