We have all been there. Had that horrible itchy discomfort that is commonly known as Vaginal Thrush. At Her Store NZ, we like to source where possible natural treatments for some of life’s intimate health issues like vaginal thrush. So we have put together some tips on how to avoid getting thrush in the first place and how to treat it naturally at home. 75% of all women at some time in their life will suffer from Vaginal Thrush, a common yeast infection. Not only can Thrush be painful and uncomfortable it can be embarrassing with the tell-tale signs of itchiness, so let’s learn how to avoid it and how to treat it at home.
So What is Vaginal Thrush?
Thrush is not a bacterial infection and is not caused by being unclean. It is a naturally occurring phenomenon which can sometimes be passed on between partners. Thrush is caused by an overgrowth of yeast. Usually, good bacteria within the vagina help maintain a balance of bacteria and yeast. However, an imbalance can lead to an overgrowth of yeast. This can lead to an infection such as thrush. Changing oestrogen levels in pregnancy and menopause can cause women to suffer from vaginal thrush. Other conditions can also lead to a yeast overgrowth like hot humid weather, tight-fitting synthetic clothing, vaginal washes, health conditions like diabetes and regular antibiotic use.
What are the symptoms of Vaginal Thrush?
Vaginal thrush symptoms can vary greatly. The most common ones result in a burning sensation when urinating, itching that causes swelling of the vagina and surrounding area. Also sometimes a cottage cheese like discharge can be present which sometimes has a smelly odour. Some women can suffer terribly because they have an allergic reaction to thrush discharge. This causes burning and stabbing pains that make everyday actions difficult.
How to avoid getting Vaginal Thrush
- Avoid perfumed soaps and vaginal douches and washes. Women should wash their intimate area with either plain water or an unperfumed wash. Pat the area dry before dressing again as yeast thrives in a moist environment.
- Wear breathable underwear and gym clothing. Cotton and modal are your best bet as the fabric breaths which helps you to avoid sitting around with a damp crotch. Most gym gear is synthetic and non-breathable. Thus creating conditions that thrush thrives in due to the moisture and warmth.
- Support your immune system. It goes without saying your immune system affects how your body performs and responds to threats such as thrush.
- Stay hydrated. Dehydration can cause countless problems and is very bad for the body. When you urinate, you flush out any toxins and bad bacteria. However, if you’re not able to flush toxins through the body, you’re more likely to get discomfort and infection. Strong urine can also be very irritating on vaginal tissue that is slightly irritated.
- Avoid sugar. A diet high in sugar is also highly acidic which can damage the delicate ph balance of the vagina and ultimately lead to yeast overgrowth.
- Use water-based personal lubricants. Water-based lubricants like Bonk are PH balanced to maintain the typical vaginal environment which combats thrush and irritation. They also help avoid irritation caused by friction which can upset the delicate vaginal tissues.
So what can you do to treat thrush at home?
One of the main contributors to vaginal thrush is diet.
Since refined carbs and sugar feed the yeast you need to avoid these. Changing to a diet that starves the yeast can help rid the body of thrush. The type of diet you will need to follow is very similar to eating Paleo. You will need to eat a clean diet avoiding processed foods and a diet which is high in anti-fungal foods. Foods like garlic, ginger, coconut oil, cinnamon and yoghurt.
This is an old fashioned, highly effective remedy which I have used myself. You can purchase boric acid from the chemist very cheaply and make your own capsules or more recently some health food companies have started to make boric acid capsules. Boric acid acts as a strong antiviral and antifungal agent in the body. You do not ingest the capsules you insert them into the vagina at night and you cannot use them if you are pregnant. If you would like to make your own boric acid capsules follow these instructions.
Probiotics.Probiotics can contribute to maintaining the natural levels of good bacteria (known as lactobacilli) in your vagina, helping to prevent recurrent thrush and bacterial vaginosis. Not all probiotics are the same though and you need to use one specifically for vaginal health. At Her Store, we can highly recommend Uqora Promote probiotic as it is specifically designed to promote and maintain healthy bacteria in the vagina. Promote contains two special strains of lactobacillus, a family of bacteria that are the most common bacteria in a healthy vagina. The two strains included in Promote are Lactobacillus Rhamnosus and Lactobacillus Reuteri, and they specifically live in the vagina, unlike others. These are the only 2 strains that have been clinically proven to restore and maintain healthy bacteria to the vagina. This is because they live naturally in the vagina and work to keep bad bacteria and yeast at bay.
Although not a natural treatment we think it is worthwhile mentioning. Antihistamines can be highly effective for some women. As bizarre as it sounds some women become allergic to Thrush. This can cause chronic symptoms of burning and itching. Common over the counter antihistamines can alleviate the pain and discomfort but will not get rid of the yeast infection.
Natural fibre underwear.
As mentioned above it is important to wear underwear that is natural and breathable. This is why over summer you are more susceptible to getting thrush. Also, go commando at night to allow the vaginal tissues to breathe and to stay dry.
Baking soda in a warm bath is an ideal way to calm inflamed tissue. If you have had children you probably did this for your babies when they had a nappy rash. The same principle applies to soothing inflamed vaginal tissue.
As you can see there are many at home treatments that you can try to ensure a healthy vaginal PH as this will help avoid getting vaginal thrush. However, should you be unfortunate enough to get vaginal thrush there are many home remedies that can help as well as over the counter treatments. A good probiotic can help you avoid thrush, bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections. If symptoms persist, you should go to your doctor to rule out any other underlying causes of your irritation.
For more information read this interesting article on vaginal thrush.