Vaginitis, Yeast Vaginitis

 
Description

Candida albicans, the yeast typically responsible for yeast infections, is naturally present in your body. As a result, it is likely that women will have a yeast infection at some time in life.

This yeast resides in the intestines, genital tract, mouth, esophagus, and throat and is normally kept in check with other bacteria and yeast in the body.

 
Symptoms and Signs:

Symptoms include local irritation, intense itching and burning. There is typically a large amount of white, cheesy discharge, with an odour of yeast. The labia become red, swollen, and burn if mucous membranes become inflamed. Cuts and cracks can appear in severe cases.


 

Causes:

The vagina is normally too acidic and rich with beneficial bacteria to become infected. However, a number of conditions can cause Candida albicans fungal overgrowth, leading to a yeast infection. This yeast (fungus) occurs naturally in the body, but can flourish under a number of conditions, listed below. It is also the same fungus that causes thrush in the mouth.

Antibiotic use can also lead to infection, as these medications destroy both harmful and beneficial bacteria. Harmful bacteria typically thrive in this situation, if other conditions prove favourable for growth.

Foods high in refined sugars and yeast act as food for Candida. High intakes of sugary foods, refined carbohydrates (cookies, cakes, muffins, white bread, chips, crackers, et cetera), and yeast-rich foods (pizza, white bread, bagels, donuts, and other baked goods) can promote growth if a bacterial imbalance exists.

Oral contraceptives and pregnancy itself can often cause a yeast infection, when acidity and the sugar content of vaginal secretions change. Intrauterine devices (IUDs) can decrease normal vaginal secretions, creating a more favourable environment for yeast growth.

Air circulation can be limited by tampons, daily panty liner use, and tight jeans, promoting infection.

Yeast infections can also be transmitted through sexual intercourse. This may be one reason why some women experience recurring infection.

Allergies, lack of sleep, poor nutrition, and stress can all weaken the body, making infection more likely.

Other causes of infection include anemia, diabetes, poor hygiene, and commercial feminine sprays and douches.


 

What to Expect:

A yeast infection will continue if not dealt with. It is important to reduce candida levels, restore a vaginal bacterial balance, and ensure a healthy immune system through proper care and nutrition.

As previously mentioned, Candida albicans is part of the normal flora of your body. As a result, infection may occur in the future. Proper nutrition and preventative measures can be taken to reduce recurrence of infection. If the immune system is weakened due to other situations, resistance to infection and the likelihood of recurrence increase.

Sexual intercourse can cause further irritation if inflammation exists. A stinging sensation during urination occurs if the urethra becomes irritated.


 

Remedies

{tab=- Foods -}

Foods

To curb yeast/fungal growth, add 2 drops of oregano oil to juice or food daily. It is also available in capsule form. Take 1-2 capsules twice a day.

Grapefruit seed extract can also be used for this purpose. Use either liquid or capsule form. Mix the liquid into juice or food. Dosage is 500mg equivalent, twice daily.

Eat yogurt that contains acidophilus and/or bifidus bacteria to restore normal vaginal bacterial balance. Some women use the yogurt in their vaginal tract directly to accomplish the restoration of normal flora even faster. You can also eat kefir to accomplish the same goal.

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Food Supplements

Acidophilus and Bifidus supplementation will restore beneficial bacteria counts in the digestive tract and help keep harmful bacteria at bay. It is essential that these bacteria be restored to the body, particularly after the use of antibiotics. Look for a dairy-free formulation with at least 2.5 billion viable cultures per capsule and keep refrigerated. Take 2 or 3 capsules daily on an empty stomach, preferably in the morning or right before bed. Supplements with Fructooligosaccharides (FOS) provide a beneficial "bed" and initial food source for the bacteria. If dairy allergies have been ruled out, you can also eat yogurt that has had either bacterial culture added.

You can also purchase Acidophilus capsules for vaginal use. Follow directions on bottle. Usage is typically once a day before bedtime for ten days. One controversial treatment involves douching with one part vinegar, three parts water before applying the Acidophilus capsules. It is thought that this method creates a bacterial imbalance in the vaginal area. Consult with your gynecologist, naturopath, or other health practitioner as to the appropriateness of this method.

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Herbs

Aloe vera is useful for infections, relieves itching, and facilitates healing. Apply topically as needed. Drink aloe vera juice or use as a douche.

Calendula can be used in douche form. Make a strong tea and douche twice daily for one week. To prepare, add 3 to 4 teaspoons dried herb or 2 tablespoons fresh petal to 1 cup boiling water. Steep for 15 to 20 minutes.

Echinacea has anti-fungal properties and promotes proper immune system functioning. If supplementing, take one or two capsules daily. If using a tincture, take 20 to 30 drops twice daily. You can also prepare the tincture as a douche. Do not use echinacea for more than two weeks at a time.

Garlic's anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and general anti-biotic properties make for an effective long term remedy in the prevention and elimination of recurring yeast infections. This versatile herb also helps lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol levels and has antioxidant properties, too. Add it to your favourite meal and enjoy the numerous benefits. If you prefer to go "sans aroma", you may also take odourless garlic capsules. If eating whole cloves, take 2 to 4 daily. If using capsules, take 600 to 1,200mg once or twice daily with meals. If using a tincture, take 2 to 4mL three times daily.

Goldenseal has strong antibacterial properties. NOTE: This delicate, wild herb is becoming increasingly rare as its popularity grows. Use only after you have exhausted other possible courses of antibacterial treatment. To prepare a tea, use 1/2 to 1 tsp. powdered root per cup of boiling water. Let steep for 10 minutes. Drink up to 2 cups daily. Add honey or lemon to reduce the bitter flavour. If using a tincture, take 10 to 40 drops two times daily. If using capsules, take 250 to 500mg of powdered extract. Do not take for more than one week at a time and avoid completely if you are pregnant or have high blood pressure.

Pau D'Arco has anti-bacterial properties. Take in tea or capsule form. It can also be used as a douche.

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Homeopathy

Certain remedies can be used in acute situations if your symptoms fit the symptom picture of the remedy. For dosages, see the dedicated section on Homeopathy. Consult your homeopath or naturopath to determine your constitutional remedy: the remedy that best fits you as a whole person. Your homeopath or naturopath will take a complete case history considering all of your mental and physical ailments and match these symptoms with the symptom picture of the remedy.

Calcarea Carbonica: Milky discharge. Burning and itching before menses.

Graphites: Thin, white, burning discharge accompanied with weakness.

Mercurius Vivus: "Vaginitis of Mercurius Vivus" occurs with itching and burning made worse after urination. Symptoms improve with washing with cold water. Discharge is greenish and could be bloody.

Pulsatilla: Whit, creamy, possibly irritating discharge. Pulsatilla is appropriate for vaginitis in pregnant women.

Sepia: Also for vaginitis in pregnant women. Yellow, greenish discharge with intense itching.

{tab=- Lifestyle -}

Lifestyle

Avoid foods high in refined sugars and yeast, as these ingredients act as food for Candida.

Allow for proper air circulation around the vaginal area. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting, cotton clothing. Avoid tight pants, panty hose, or tampons.

Keep the vaginal area clean and dry. When finished bathing, hold a blow dryer (set on cool) 6 to 8 inches from the vaginal area and use until completely dry.

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Miscellaneous

Tea tree oil has powerful antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is not taken internally, but can be used as a douche. Alternatively, add 10 drops to a warm bath and enjoy for twenty minutes.

{tab=- Vitamins -}

Vitamins

Biotin inhibits yeast growth. Take 300mcg three times daily.

Vitamin A promotes healthy mucous membranes. Take 10,000 IU or more daily.

Vitamin C has antibacterial properties and supports proper immune system function. Take 1,000 to 3,000 daily. Increase up to bowel tolerance.

Vitamin E promotes healthy mucous membranes and proper hormonal balance. Take 400 IU daily.

 {/tabs}



Actions and Remedy Listings

 

Acidophilus

Acidophilus Douche

Aloe Vera

Avoid Sugars

Avoid Tight Pants, Panty Hose, Tampons

Bifidus

Biotin

Calcarea Carbonica

Calendula

Cotton Underwear

Echinacea

Garlic

Goldenseal

Grapefruit Seed Extract

Graphites

Keep Vaginal Area Clean and Dry

Kefir

Loose-Fitting, Cotton Clothing

Mercurius Vivus

Oregano Oil

Pau D'Arco

Pulsatilla

Sepia

Tea Tree Oil

Vitamin A

Vitamin C

Vitamin E


 

See also

Candidiasis

 

 
(also referred to as...)

Celiac Sprue, Celiac Disease, Wheat and Gluten Sensitivity, Wheat and Gluten Intolerance

 
Description

Wheat and gluten allergies are quite common among the general population and are often not considered when dealing with particular ailments and situations that can stem from an overreaction to foods containing these ingredients. Further, the use of wheat is extremely widespread and prevalent in our society. It is quite difficult to find common foods that do not contain some from of wheat-based product. From breads and bagels to sauces and soups, the potential for an allergic reaction is quite significant.

 
Celiac Disease

Though historically thought to be a rare disorder, celiac disease, or celiac sprue, is caused by an intolerance to the gluten found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats. It can appear at any age and affects both children and adults.


 

Symptoms and Signs:

Signs of food allergies in children include asthma, behavioural problems, chronic illness, colic, constipation, diarrhea, ear infections, headaches, learning problems, skin rashes and eczema, sleep disturbances, fatigue, puffiness and dark circles under the eyes ("allergic shiners"), chronically swollen glands, chronic (noncyclic) fluid retention, and spitting up.

Many of the above mentioned symptoms and signs may occur in adults as well. In addition, the following symptoms may be observed: an irritating cough or tickle in the throat, swelling or itching lips, tongue and mouth, aches and pains in the joints or abdomen, and nasal congestion.

 
Celiac Disease

Celiac disease often appears when an infant is first introduced to cereal foods. Signs include anemia, diarrhea, nutritional deficiencies, and weight loss. A baby may gain weight more slowly than normal, may look anemic or undernourished, and may have flatulence, poor appetite, and foul-smelling stools. Ulcers may also form in the mouth.

Other signs of celiac disease include large, pale or light-yellow-coloured, foul-smelling, floating stools, abdominal swelling, bone and/or joint pain, depression, dermatitis herpetiformis (red, itchy skin rash), fatigue, intense burning sensation, irritability, muscle cramps and wasting, nausea, vomiting,


 

Causes:

Wheat allergies or sensitivities are caused either by an inability to digest the food molecule or an allergic reaction to it.

Wheat allergies can develop during the infant years when new foods are being introduced. If wheat is introduced into the diet before the digestive system is mature enough to handle this more complex food, it will pass directly through the system and into the blood stream. Once the intact, whole food molecule enters the blood stream, it will be seen as an invader by the immune system, which will develop antibodies to defend against the "invader".

 
Celiac Disease

Celiac disease is caused by gluten intolerance, specifically to a protein called alpha-gliadin that causes a reaction in the intestinal mucous lining. The reaction damages the villi (finger-like projections) lining the small intestine, hindering nutrient absorption.

An intestinal biopsy and positive blood test for antibodies against gliadin (anti-alpha-gliadin antibodies) will confirm the presence of celiac disease.


 

What to Expect:

Food allergies and sensitivities can lead to anxiety and panic attacks. If this is a concern, track ingested foods and anxiety attacks to determine a correlation.

 
Celiac Disease

Malabsorption, diarrhea, and additional food allergies are common among people dealing with celiac disease. The disease can also become life-threatening if not treated. Long-term concerns include bone disease, gynecological disorders, infertility, internal hemorrhaging, intestinal malignancies, general nervous system impairment, lymphoma, miscarriages, pancreatic diseases, and some autoimmune disorders.

You are strongly advised to discuss this matter with your naturopath or other health practitioner to determine the most viable course of treatment suitable for your needs.


 

Remedies

{tab=- Foods -}

Foods

A variety of alternative grains are available and are used in place of wheat flour to make breads, cereals, and other baked goods. These include amaranth, buckwheat, kamut, millet, potato, rice, spelt, and tapioca. NOTE: Spelt and kamut contain gluten in small amounts, but may be tolerable. Consult with your nutritionist, naturopath, or other health practitioner to determine the most appropriate grains for your needs..

Tamari soy sauce can be purchased in a wheat-free preparation.

Non-gluten pancake and muffin mixes are also available. Non-gluten baked goods may also be purchased at specialty bakeries.

{tab=- Food Supplements -}

Food Supplements

Regarding celiac disease, essential fatty acids are required by the villi in the intestines. Flaxseed/ linseed oil, borage oil, pumpkin seed oil, hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, fish, eggs, and walnuts are all sources of EFA's. The oils may be the most ideal. Take one tablespoon daily on yogurt, rice and/or bean dishes, salads, and vegetables. If using flaxseed oil capsules, take 2 to 3 capsules daily, in the morning. If using evening primrose oil capsules take 1 500mg capsule daily, in the morning.

{tab=- Lifestyle -}

Lifestyle

Eliminate foods from the diet and avoid commercial products that contain wheat or gluten. This long list includes:

 

Barley

Beer

Breaded Meats

Breaded Potatoes (Chips, Wedges, et cetera)

Breaded Vegetables

Bulgur

Commercially Prepared Cakes or Cookies

Commercially Prepared Pastries

Couscous

Creams Thickened with Wheat Flour

Durum Semolina Pastas

Egg Dishes Thickened with Flour

Flavouring Syrups Containing Wheat Flour

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP)

Ice Cream Cones

Instant Coffee Containing Wheat Flour

Macaroni

Malted Milk

Meat Tenderizer (Containing MSG)

Most Baked Beans

Most Biscuits

Most Breads

Most Gravies

Most Gravy Cubes

Most Hors D'oeuvres

Most Sausages (Unless Made With Pure Meat)

Most Soy Sauces

Muffins

Packaged Suet

Pancakes

Prepared Drinks Containing Malt

Pretzels

Puddings Thickened With Wheat Flour

Rolls

Scalloped (or Creamed) Potatoes Or Vegetables, Unless Made with Corn Starch

Semolina

Spaghetti

Starch and Vegetable Starch

Stewed Fruits Thickened with Flour

Stock Cubes

Stout And Lager

Triticale

Various Flours (Bread, Brown, Cake And Pastry, Durum Wheat, Gluten, Graham, Granary, Strong, Wheat, White, Whole Meal, Whole Wheat)

Wheat Bran

Wheat Germ

Wheat Starch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be sure to check the ingredient list of the following items and avoid these foods if you cannot guarantee they are wheat free:

 

Baking Powders

Bouillon Cubes and Extracts

Candy Bars

Canned Fish

Cheese Sauces and Spreads

Commercial Fruit Pie Fillings and Jams

Condiments

Hot Dogs

Ice Cream

Luncheon Meats

Mustard Powders

Mustards

Preformed Hamburgers

Salad Dressings

Sauces

Soup Mixes and Bases

Soups Containing Any Type of Noodles

Tomato Sauces

 

 

 

 

You may justifiably be wondering what is left! While the list may be full of popular items, note that many have had wheat flour added and could easily do without this ingredient. Not on this list are raw or cooked fruits or vegetables, the myriad types of rice available, animal products, and the large variety of wheat substitutes listed in Foods, above.

Many people with a wheat/gluten allergy/sensitivity are able to tolerate baked goods made from spelt and kamut, which have a much lower gluten content than wheat, but contain gluten nonetheless. Rye may also be a viable alternative. Consult with your dietician, naturopath, or other health practitioner to determine the appropriateness of these foods for your needs.

The following foods may also contain wheat flour. Check ingredient listings carefully on cloudy lemonade, curry mixes, dried meals, ginger beer, gravy mixes, ice cream, rice paper, sauce mixes, and soups.

{-tab=- Therapies, Healing Aids, & More -}

Therapies, Healing Aids, & More

Skin tests or positive IgE RAST testing can help determine specific allergens.

{tab=- Vitamins -}

Vitamins

Celiac Disease

A multi-vitamin with chelated mineral complex is recommended to provide full-spectrum supplementation of essential vitamins and minerals necessary for proper overall function.

Vitamin A, D, and E are fat-soluble vitamins that are often deficient. Take 10,000 to 25,000 IU vitamin A, 400 to 1,000 IU vitamin D, and 400 to 800 IU vitamin E daily. It is important to address B complex and K deficiencies as well, see below.

Vitamin B Complex is needed to correct digestive and nutritional deficiencies. Take one 50mg capsule once or twice daily. Do not take more than 50mg at one time as your body cannot absorb a larger amount in a single dosage

Vitamin C assists in the uptake of nutrients. Take 2,000 to 8,000 mg daily, in divided doses. Start at the lower dosage and increase up to bowel tolerance.

Vitamin K deficiency is also common among people with celiac disease. Ideal sources of vitamin K include asparagus, avocados, beef, broccoli, cabbage, dark green leafy vegetables, egg yolks, green tea, nuts, oatmeal, rye, seeds, soybeans, turnip greens, wheat, and wheat germ oil. Vitamin K is also found in kelp and alfalfa supplements and is available in some multi-vitamin/mineral preparations. If directly supplementing, take 2,000 to 3,000mg daily, in tablet form.

{/tabs}

 

 Actions and Remedy Listings

Amaranth

Buckwheat

Carefully Check Ingredient Listings

Essential Fatty Acids (Celiac)

Food Allergy Testing

Kamut

Millet

Multivitamin with Chelated Minerals

Non-Dairy Foods

Non-Dairy Milk

Non-Wheat Grains

Potato

Rice

Spelt

Tapioca

Vitamin A

Vitamin B Complex (Celiac)

Vitamin C (Celiac)

Vitamin D

Vitamin E

Vitamin K (Celiac)

Wheat-Free Breads

 

 


 

See also

Diarrhea, Food Allergies, Malabsorption Syndrome

 

 

See Anorexia Nervosa

See Bulimia

Dyspepsia -- See Indigestion

See Indigestion

See Obesity

See Poor Appetite

See Underweight