Thrush and Yeast Overgrowth
Thrush infection are incredibly painful, awkward, uncomfortable and unpleasant.
No one wants to feel burning down there or discomfort.
The good news with thrush or yeast overgrowths is that there are a numerous ways that you can support your health to reduce incidence and severity. But before we get into that we should go back to the basics…..
What is Thrush?
The bird above is also a thrush but not what we are talking about today..
Thrush is the common name for an overgrowth of a particular type of yeast known as Candida albicans.
Normally, Candida live in our bowel and in smaller numbers in our vagina.
Thrush occurs when yeast numbers increase due a compromised immune function, digestive disturbances, chronic stress, antibiotic use, oral contraception use, diabetes, menstrual cycle changes (hormone disruption), pregnancy, iron deficiency and other immune disorders.
An overgrowth of Candida can occur in the mouth, digestive tract or vagina. For today we are going to focus on vaginal thrush.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can vary significantly for individuals however the most common symptoms are:
vaginal discomfort - burning or itching
a white discharge which may have a yeast like smell and has been known to have a cottage cheese consistency
redness and swelling of vagina and vulva
stinging or burning sensation during sexual intercourse or urination
skin splits in genital region
Treatments for thrush/yeast overgrowth?
There are a range of creams or pessaries available in the chemist in addition to oral tablets called fluconazole.
Unfortunately, these products do not work to treat the root cause to your yeast overgrowth. As a naturopath, I work to support not only your digestive microbial balance but also your vaginal microbial balance to avoid any further infections.
How can you prevent the incidence of thrush?
There are a wide range of ways to naturally prevent thrush through lifestyle and diet changes:
Ensure you wear cotton underwear and avoid synthetic fabrics
Avoid using soap in the vaginal region
Wipe from front to back when going to the bathroom to prevent spreading from the anus to vagina
Change laundry washing powders and avoid fabric softeners
Eliminate refined sugar - Candida thrive on sugar so reducing your dietary intake can support a reduction in numbers
Increase polyphenol rich foods in your diet including but not limited to: vegetables and their skins, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, green tea, peppermint, olives
Avoid gluten rich foods that can be inflammatory to the digestive system
Avoid foods that cause irritation to your digestive system or that you have an intolerance to
Take a course of probiotics when you use antibiotics to ensure a well balanced digestive microbiota
Investigate your hormonal disruption to ensure regular hormone production