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Getting Rid of a Yeast Infection

written by: BStone • edited by: lrohner • updated: 10/16/2010

What is the best way to get rid of a yeast infection? Learn how to treat this condition using prescription or over-the-counter medication or natural home remedies.

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    The Yeast Infection

    Caused by an excess of Candida albicans fungal cells in the vagina, a yeast infection can occur whenever the body's immune system is suppressed and the ecology is imbalanced. The use of antibiotics orsteroid medications, being overweight or pregnant, and wearing tight underwear or underwear that is made from synthetic fibers all increase the risk for a yeast infection. While not necessarily a threat to your well-being, it can be uncomfortable with the itching, soreness and discharge that characterizes this condition.

    How to get rid of a yeast infection? There are several options, each with its benefits. Decide which one is right for you.

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    Prescription Medications

    One way to treat a yeast infection is to make an appointment with your doctor and get a prescription for an anti-fungal medication. What are the benefits of this method? You can get an official diagnosis to know for sure whether you have a yeast infection or not. If your symptoms are actually caused by something else, such as a sexually transmitted disease, you will find that out as well. For a woman who has never had a yeast infection before and is not sure how to recognize one, a visit to the doctor may be beneficial, at least for a diagnosis. For women who have repeated infections, it may be wise to talk to your health care provider to check for an underlying cause such as diabetes. Pregnant women should talk to their doctor about any symptoms.

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    Over-the-Counter Medications

    Many women may choose over-the-counter medications to treat their infection. There are many commercial brands of anti-fungal creams that are available. They are meant to be applied to the vagina each day for several days. Sex and soaking in the tub has should be avoided while on these medications. While this method is popular, it can be expensive, especially for women who contract yeast infections several times a year. Also, many natural fungi that are present in the vagina can build a resistance to these creams which would make their use more negative in the long run than positive.

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    Natural Remedies

    cloves Is it possible to get rid of a yeast infection without pills and creams? Yes! You can correct your body ecology with food, herbs and nutrition to treat an infection. The great benefit of this method is that it is an effective way to treat, but also to prevent. By boosting the immune system and creating a more balanced body pH you are strengthening your body so another infection will not occur in the first place. Why a woman may not choose this remedy is that it involves more work — changes to diet and the use of herbs and supplements if desired. This is not as straightforward as applying a cream or swallowing a pill.

    In terms of diet focus on eating vegetables, fish, yogurt, and whole grains that do not contain gluten. Sugar, flour-products, and yeast breads should be avoided as fungal cells thrive in a sugary environment. Cheeses, chocolate, baked goods, honey, potatoes, nut butters, soy sauce, fermented foods, and vinegar should be avoided and citrus should be minimized while getting rid of an infection. Eating yogurt will encourage beneficial bacteria to thrive rather than the yeast populations.

    Beneficial herbs include:

    • Aloe vera — Drinking aloe vera juice will increase the strength of the immune system by increasing white blood cell production.
    • Pau d'arco — This is a potent anti-fungal herb which can be used to treat all types of fungal infections. Make a tea with two teaspoons of the dried herb and one cup of boiling water. Steep for ten minutes. Drink three cups daily during treatment.
    • Clove — This is another powerful antiseptic herb. Use two teaspoons of cloves and steep in boiling water for ten minutes.

    You can also supplement with vitamin C with bioflavonoids to boost the immune system, acidophilus to fight the fungal infection, flaxseed oil supplements for healing, and garlic to help defend the body from infections.

    How to get rid of a yeast infection? There are different methods that you can use. For some people the security of a doctor's visit may be right, while for others a healthy diet may be the preferred remedy. Whatever route you choose to take care of your body is what is right for you.

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    References

    Balch, Phyllis, CNC. "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." (Penguin Group, 2006).

    Center for Young Women's Health <http://www.youngwomenshealth.org/can.html>

    The Yeast Infection Homepage <https://www.msu.edu/~eisthen/yeast/>

    photo by Elenadan (CC/flickr)