Sooner or later most women get yeast infections. A variety of microscopic organisms normally reside as peaceful neighbors in the vagina, among them the yeast-like fungus Candida albicans. But changes such as taking antibiotics for other conditions can kill off certain flora and leave Candida to go on a rampage. This results in Candida vaginitis, or a yeast infection.
Over and above proper use of at-home medications, there are quite a few things that you can do to prevent and treat recurring infections.
First, try a vinegar douche. Flushing your vagina with a dilute solution of vinegar and water occasionally–no more than once a week — may help prevent yeast infection recurrences. The vinegar makes the vagina a little more acidic, which is bad for yeast.
Second, apply yogurt. Some people believe that yogurt, which contains bacteria that are cousins to the “good” bacteria in the vagina, may help the good bacteria repopulate. If you’re trying this remedy, be sure to use plain, unsweetened yogurt containing live cultures, and apply it to your vaginal opening at bedtime.
Third, you might also eat more yogurt. Yogurt gives women a double benefit: It’s a low-fat, high-protein, high-calcium food, and the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria it contains helps create a more normal bacterial environment.
Fourth, crunch on carrots. Eating carrots and other foods rich in beta-carotene — a natural substance that’s converted into vitamin A in the body — may offer protection against yeast infections. In one study, vaginal cells in women with yeast infections had significantly lower levels of beta-carotene than the vaginal cells in women who didn’t have yeast infections. The doctors theorize that the benefit of beta-carotene may be its ability to boost the immune system. Spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and apricots also contain plentiful amounts of beta-carotene.
Fifth, wear cotton underwear. Candida likes moist, warm environments to grow in. Keep dry and cool by wearing cotton underwear, loose clothing, and pantyhose with a cotton crotch. Also sprinkling a little cornstarch in your groin area helps absorb moisture.
Sixth, exercise without tight clothes. Tightness interferes with cooling air circulation. A pair of running shorts is better than running tights because air can circulate in them. And look for sportswear with an open, rather than tight weave.
Seventh, cut out the sweets. Women who eat too much sugar will probably get more yeast infections. Excess sugar can feed the condition.