When candida yeast multiplies, it’s capable of spreading to different parts of the body and causing all types of problems. Just like you can experience a vaginal yeast infection caused by overgrowth of
in the genitals, “candida virus” can take over your digestive system too. This is like a form of an internal digestive yeast infection and causes symptoms such as fatigue, digestive upset, changes in appetite or food cravings.
1. Boost Your Immune System with a Nutrient-Rich Diet and Probiotics.
A diet that boosts your immune system can help your body stay in tip-top shape, greatly reducing the risk of an infection since an increase in protective white blood cells is able to target the problem before it worsens. This is the reason why a weakened immune system is one of the significant risk factors for recurring yeast infections. People with viruses like HIV, or autoimmune disorders, diabetes or cancer are all prone to developing infections more often.
Support your immune system by eating a nutrient-dense diet, especially one high in vegetables, healthy fats (including antimicrobial coconut oil), probiotics and quality sources of protein. Probiotic foods (including kinds that contain bacteria such as lactobacillus or acidophilus) are beneficial for fighting infections of all kinds and proven to be beneficial for yeast infections.
Probiotic microflora that help to protect the intestines, improve the immune system and fight yeast. Probiotics are “good bugs” that compete with harmful pathogens in the body. The good kind of bacteria that live within your body and on your skin basically compete with candida yeast for available sources of “fuel.” Luckily, good bacteria are usually stronger than the yeast cells and therefore they can cut off the life supply of the yeast or fungi.
When it comes to your diet, make sure to control your blood sugar since high levels of sugar feed candida yeast growth. Some people with candida overgrowth need to eliminate nearly all sources of sugar, at least for some time, while the condition clears up. This includes most processed foods or snacks, alcohol, most grains (especially refined grain products), conventional dairy products, and even fruit and starchy veggies in some cases.
2. Keep Your Skin Clean and Dry
Yeast can only multiply to harmful levels when the conditions are just right. The best way to stop yeast from spreading is to keep your skin clean, dry and free from scrapes or wounds. Practicing good hygiene and taking care of any open cuts properly helps prevent infections, whether in the vagina, digestive tract, mouth or elsewhere.
Make sure to wash the genital area with soap every day and dry off the area well after showering, since fungi are most commonly found in moist environments (which is exactly why they can thrive in leftover foods and damp areas outdoors, such as soil). When you go to the bathroom, you can decrease the risk for spreading germs by wiping from front to back (from vagina to your anus, instead of the other way around).
Following sexual intercourse, make sure to wash the genital area. It’s possible to spread yeast infections during sex from person to person, and even though women are much more likely to carry yeast infections, men (especially men who are uncircumcised) can develop yeast infections in the genital area too. Always practice safe sex by using condoms, and abstain from sex altogether if you or your partner have an active infection.
3. Wear Clean Clothes
Make sure to wear clean underwear and, ideally, choose cotton underwear or another breathable fabric. Allowing air to reach your genitals helps stop moisture and warmth from developing, which worsens yeast growth.
You might also want to wear looser-fitting clothes and avoid stockings, tights or bathing suits if you’re prone to getting infections since these all increase body heat and retain moisture. When you do wear a bathing suit, try not to stay in one for too many hours, especially if the suit is wet or dirty.
4. Consider Other Medical or Hormonal Problems
Certain pre-existing medical conditions can increase your susceptibility to vaginal yeast infections because they alter bacterial and chemical balances within your body. Two examples are hormonal imbalances (including kinds that cause high estrogen or progesterone levels) and Type 2 diabetes.
You’re probably aware that diabetes is a condition in which blood sugar levels play a significant role, but did you know that sugar also fuels candida yeast growth? If you eat a diet high in sugar, or don’t manage your blood sugar properly, you give yeast more fuel to multiply.
When it comes to hormones, the female sex hormone progesterone can increase yeast infections in the vaginal area because it increases the production of glycogen, a natural starch that’s converted into sugar easily. Yeast can thrive off of these starch molecules, and because women have naturally higher progesterone levels than men, they’re more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.
Men can develop yeast infections too. But female sex hormones make them much more likely, especially when hormones are significantly elevated during the second half of the menstrual cycle, during menopause, when a woman is taking birth control or when a woman is pregnant.
5. Rule Out Allergies
Sometimes allergies to condoms/latex, soaps or other hygiene products such as bath oils, tampons, spermicidal jelly or douches can cause allergies and infections. Chemical products are irritating to the sensitive genital area and can negatively impact the balance of bacteria in your vagina. If you’ve recently started using new products and notice infections taking place, try switching up your products and use something more natural instead.
Also be careful about using products that cause vaginal irritation, such as those with chemical dyes, fragrances and other harsh ingredients. Avoid these potential yeast infection causes if possible. Luckily, there are usually readily available alternatives. For example, if tampons tend to cause infections, try using pads instead and always avoid fragrance-sprayed/deodorant tampons or feminine products.
Another word about douching — not only can douching cause allergic reactions, it can also alter the natural balance of good and bacteria within a woman’s vagina. This in turn can create an environment that allows candida to flourish, resulting in a yeast infection. Douching can also lead to other health concerns, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, bacterial vaginosis, pregnancy complications and cervical cancer. There is no evidence that douching provides any real health or cleansing benefits.The body naturally cleanses itself and douches often cause more harm than good. For all of these reasons, I don’t recommend douching.
6. Fight Yeast with Supplements and Essential Oils
Certain supplements and essential oils are beneficial for stopping yeast in its tracks, including:
- Probiotic supplements: one of the best natural treatments for yeast infections because they replenish good bacteria
- Apple cider vinegar: helps balance pH levels
- Elderberry and milk thistle: help cleanse your liver from prescription medications and hormones from birth control pills
- Boric acid: a safe alternative to some prescription medications for the treatment of recurrent yeast infections
- Antioxidants: antioxidants, including vitamin C, help boost the immune system
- Essential oils: tea tree, lavender and myrrh oils are gentle yet help kill a variety of yeast, parasites and fungi; use several drops mixed with coconut oil topically just outside of the vaginal area.
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