The human body is home to a small amount of fungi that are kept in check by the immune system and competing organisms. One yeast known as Candida can multiply and grow out of control when the environment is right, resulting in a full-blown Candida yeast infection. Candida infections are normally treated with anti-fungal medications but there are some natural alternatives. Learn more about controlling yeast overgrowth a Candida cleanse which we will detail below.
Yeast Infection Symptoms in Women
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva.
- A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating.
- Redness and swelling of the vulva.
- Vaginal pain and soreness.
- Vaginal rash.
- Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance.
- Watery vaginal discharge.
Candida infections can result in a wide range of symptoms. Oral candidiasis, also known as thrush, can result in white, bumpy lesions in gums, inner cheeks, tongue, and throat.3 Candida infections can also increase your risk of recurring genital and urinary tract infections.4 Recent studies also suggest that Candida overgrowth can contribute to a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.5 Thankfully, there is a simple way to control yeast overgrowth and potentially prevent yeast infections.
What Causes Yeast Infection in Women?
Candida is a naturally occurring yeast that is normally found in small amounts on the skin, in the mouth, and in your gut. There are currently over 150 known species of Candida in the body, but only 15 of those species can cause an infection.1
Usually your body’s immune system and competing bacteria keep Candida levels under control, making the yeast relatively harmless to your health. However, certain personal and environmental factors can disrupt the levels of bacteria or compromise your immune system, allowing Candida to grow unchecked.
Some common factors that may contribute to an overgrowth of candida include:
2. Oral contraceptives
3. A high alcohol intake
4. A diet that is high in sugar and refined carbohydrates
5. A compromised immune system
7. High levels of chronic stress2
How to Treat Yeast Infection in Women
Over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments or suppositories (with miconazole or clotrimazole) are the most common ways to treat yeast infections. These can take from 1 to 7 days. Your doctor may also prescribe a single-dose pill with fluconazole (an antifungal medicine) for you to take.
You can treat most vaginal yeast infections with an over-the-counter vaginal cream or suppository.
Yeast Infection Cream for Women
- Clotrimazole (Lotrimin and Mycelex)
- Miconazole (Monistat and Micatin)
- Tioconazole (Vagistat-1)
Home Remedies for Yeast Infection in Women
DrFormulas 4-Step Yeast Cleanse
This simple four-step cleanse can help you regulate your candida populations to support better overall health.
1. Adopt the Candida Diet
The Candida diet is a special low-sugar, anti-inflammatory diet that aims to support good gut health by eliminating sugar and other foods that Candida thrives on. This diet can help to reduce Candida levels and inflammation associated with Candida.6
The main rules to follow with the candida diet are:
- Avoid added sugars
- Cut out junk food
- Consume more non-starchy vegetables (avoid potatoes)
- Eat low-sugar fruits
- Enjoy healthy protein sources
- Use healthy fats and oils
- Eat gluten-free grains
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Eat more fermented foods
This diet avoids providing Candida with a fuel source to grow and avoids pro-inflammatory foods. Studies show that diets high in sugar, refined starches, trans fats, and saturated fats promote inflammation whereas diets high in omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and dietary fiber were also found to reduce to reduce inflammation.7
Studies on mice found that refined carbohydrates resulted in higher Candida growth rates in the digestive tract. Based on these studies a study was done on humans to determine the effect of diets high in refined carbohydrates and sugars on the colonization of humans by Candida. 28 healthy human volunteers were recruited. Consuming high amounts of refined carbohydrates had some influence on Candida colonization in healthy humans, though further studies may be required.8
2. Consume Natural Remedies with Antifungal Activity for Candida
Prescription antifungals are designed to eliminate yeasts and fungi like Candida. There are only a handful of prescription antifungals approved for use against Candida.
There are also natural ingredients that can help your body fight off excess Candida. The best natural antifungals include:
- Caprylic acid – A component of coconut oil, caprylic acid has been found in several studies to inhibit Candida One study found that caprylic acid could effectively inhibit the growth of mycelial and yeast-form growth of Candida at low concentrations, suggesting that it may act as an effective antifungal agent.9 Another study suggested that caprylic acid may be more efficient at neutralizing Candida than fluconazole, a prescription antifungal medication.10
- Garlic extract – Some studies suggest that fresh garlic extract may have antifungal effects to inhibit the growth of Candida. This benefit of garlic is attributed to allicin, a sulfur-containing component of garlic.11
- Ginger – Known for its anti-inflammatory characters, ginger also possesses anti-microbial and antifungal properties. It makes a great addition to the Candida cleanse diet. A study found that a 10 percent ginger extract effectively inhibited the growth of Candida albicans, as well as Streptococcus mutans and Enterococcus faecalis.
- Undecylenic acid – A fatty acid that is extracted from castor bean oil, undecylenic acid has been shown to possess antifungal properties. Studies have found that undecylenic acid may inhibit the growth of Candida albicans through an action similar to that of caprylic acid.13
- Grape seed extract – In one study, researchers tested grape seed extracts on 43 strains of Candida. Results showed significant inhibition of strains, particularly Candida albicans.14
3. Reduce Candida Toxins with Water and Fiber
Candida overgrowth can cause a variety of toxins to stream into your body as a result of the yeast’s natural metabolism. Yeast normally produce alcohol as they metabolize sugars. These toxins can lead to a handful of symptoms, including headaches, nausea, fatigue, and general brain fog.18 Eliminating toxins can help to relieve these symptoms while keeping your candida populations in check.
Maintaining a Candida diet is a great way to eliminate those toxins, but for added detoxification, drink more water. Water naturally helps to flush out toxins and harmful pathogens. Staying hydrated also supports good digestion. Even if you’re not suffering from a candida infection, it’s always a good idea to drink plenty of water. Dehydration contributes to a variety of physical issues, and studies show that even mild dehydration can result in increased tension, anxiety, and fatigue and problems with working memory and concentration.19
Fiber is another effective tool for reducing Candida. Remember that most prebiotic foods also happen to be high in dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is composed of plant material that your body can’t digest like other foods. It remains in the gut and promotes the growth of probiotics which compete against Candida.20 Prebiotics foods include: leafy greens, artichoke, onions, and garlic.17
Along with its prebiotic properties, fiber can naturally help with your general digestion. Fiber comes in two forms, soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber turns into a gel-like substance when mixed with water and can help to absorb toxins and excess cholesterol. Insoluble fiber does not dissolve in water and can help to scour the intestines and promote the movement of toxins and waste through your digestive system. Both are essential to keeping toxins under control and maintaining good digestive health.21
4. Take a Probiotic
Re-establishing your gut flora by consuming probiotics not only helps to regulate Candida colonization, but also promotes general good health. Your gut is home to a diverse array of both good and bad bacteria and yeast cells. Maintaining the delicate balance in your intestines supports healthy digestion and metabolism, ensuring that you fully and efficiently absorb the nutrients in your food.
However, your gut bacteria can be beneficial to nearly all aspects of your health. For instance, the gastrointestinal system plays a significant role in maintaining a healthy immune system, accounting for about 70 percent of the entire immune system.15 By replenishing your gut bacteria, you may also crowd out Candida and other harmful pathogens while potentially reducing any inflammation in your intestines.16
Thankfully, you can easily replenish your beneficial bacteria by eating probiotic-rich foods or taking probiotic supplements. Probiotic foods often comprise fermented foods that contain live and active cultures. One of the best probiotic foods is kefir, a powerful yogurt-like drink rich in probiotics.
If you find that probiotic and prebiotic foods aren’t enough, consider a daily probiotic supplement for an easy and convenient means of helping your gut flora flourish.
A candida infection can be an immense problem that keeps you from living your life to its fullest. With a four-step Candida cleanse diet, you can keep Candida populations under control and promote better digestion and better health.