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Thrush

Thrush (Vaginal)

Vaginal thrush affects millions of women during their lifetime and many women will have several bouts of thrush every year. Some women suffer from thrush on a monthly basis, which can be enormously uncomfortable, inconvenient and even embarrassing.

What is vaginal thrush?

Thrush is an infection caused by a yeast (fungus) called candida albicans, which occurs naturally in the gut, in the skin and in the vagina. Under normal circumstances, it is kept under control by other ‘friendly’ bacteria in the body, but occasionally it overgrows, which is when problems start.

What symptoms could you experience?

With vaginal thrush you usually get a thick, white, sticky discharge with soreness and irritation. The discharge can often look like cottage cheese and can have an unpleasant smell. If you are suffering from thrush, you may experience pain during sex and when passing urine. The outside of the vagina may also feel sore and swollen.

The most irritating symptom is an intense itching around the outside of the vagina, which is definitely worse in some cases than in others.

Men are also susceptible to thrush, which appears as a discharge from the penis, with soreness and/or reddened skin.

What are your choices?

Because a discharge can be caused by other infections (such as Gardnerella see Vaginal Infections sectionit is important to know what type of infection or overgrowth you have. This will, of course, determine the most appropriate treatment.Diagnosis is made by your doctor, who will take a sample of the discharge on a swab. The swab is then sent to the lab for testing.

The aim of the natural treatment is to ensure that your body has all the nutrients it needs to function optimally, thereby boosting your immune system. The programme focuses on certain foods and supplements in order to do this. You’ll also encourage the friendly bacteria in your system, to create a normal balance that keeps the yeast under control.

Candida in the Digestive System

Candida can exist in other parts of the body other than the vagina. For example, oral thrush is common in babies, and appears as white patches on the inside of the mouth.

Candida can also form in the intestines. In the intestines, the yeast form of candida can become ‘mycelial’ (that, is, it forms root-like growths). These roots can penetrate the intestine walls, and cause the gut to ‘leak’. Small pieces of undigested food then escape into the bloodstream. This condition is known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’, and is the result of an overwhelming infestation of candida in the body, known as ‘candidiasis’.

Persistent vaginal thrush can be one of the symptoms of candidiasis, but other symptoms can include food cravings especially for sugar and bread, fatigue, a bloated stomach with excess flatulence, a ‘spaced out’ feeling, and becoming tipsy on a very small amount of alcohol. Both men and women can suffer from candidiasis.

A Candida Test (saliva), which can be organised by post, can be used to detect an overgrowth of yeast in the digestive system and the rest of your body.

Supplements

The supplements recommended below may be helpful with thrush. For best results you should take them over a period of three months, at the end of which you should be reassessed in order to monitor improvements and changes and then adjust the supplement programme according to your new condition.

Multivitamin and Mineral

A good quality multivitamin and mineral should form the foundation of your supplement programme to make sure that you are getting a ‘little bit of everything’. You then add in those nutrients in slightly higher amounts which are known to help with thrush.

Beta-carotene

Levels of beta-carotene (a type of vitamin A) have been found to be low in the vaginal cells of women who have thrush. It is suggested that this may effect the immune response of the cells in the vagina, which encourages (or at least allows) the yeast to overgrow.

Zinc

Zinc deficiency has been connected with women who have recurrent thrush. Adequate levels of zinc are critical for the optimum functioning of your immune system. People who are deficient in zinc will be susceptible to recurrent infections or infestations of any kind (that’s why you may seem to suffer from one cold or tummy bug after another when you are run down). If you are zinc deficient, your immune system can be compromised and your body will not be able to control yeast overgrowth.

Omega 3 fatty acids

The Omega 3 fatty acids contained in oily fish and certain seeds have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral actions so it is important to take supplementary Omega 3 fatty acids while you are combating an attack of thrush. If you have a tendency to recurrent thrush, it’s worth taking an Omega 3 fish oil supplement every day over a period of six months. Try also to ensure that you are getting enough of these essential fats in your food.

Garlic

Garlic is well-known for its effect on the immune system and it has both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. Take garlic as a supplement when you are trying to eliminate an attack of thrush and as prevention if you are prone to attacks. In clinical studies, garlic extracts have been to found to prevent the growth of candida. One of the active ingredients in garlic is called ‘allicin’, and it appears that this is the ingredient with the ability to prevent an overgrowth of yeast. When buying supplements choose one with a high level of allicin.

Probiotics

A probiotic is the opposite of an antibiotic, which means that it encourages rather than destroys bacteria in the body. That’s not as alarming as it sounds! What probiotics do is increase the growth of ‘healthy’ bacteria in the body, which is known as flora. By taking probiotics, you are aiming to increase the amount of beneficial bacteria in your system which in turn helps to control the amount of yeast overgrowth. As well as eating live plain organic yoghurt, (for more information on the dietary recommendations for thrush see the rest of the Thrush ebook) it is important to take probiotic supplements. Yoghurt has shown to be helpful in preventing attacks of yeast, but a probiotic supplement goes one step further to actually treat a yeast infection. The difference is that the probiotic levels in yoghurt are high enough to work on a preventative basis, but they will not be concentrated enough to deal with an infection.

There are probiotic pessaries that can be inserted into the vagina. Alternatively, you can use live yoghurt in the same way. Some women slather a tampon with yoghurt, and insert it into their vaginas, removing the tampon after 30 minutes or so, which should be enough time for the yoghurt with all its beneficial bacteria to be absorbed by the body. This method can be effective but, like anything that is used externally, messy! Furthermore, if you already have a yeast infection, there can be no doubt that levels of beneficial bacteria are not high enough. Even if you choose one of these external methods, it’s a good idea to take a good oral probiotic alongside.

If you are currently suffering from thrush, add in fructooligosaccharides (FOS), which are the naturally occurring water-soluble fibre in fruits and vegetables. These act as a food source for the growth of friendly bacteria. Many probiotics also contain FOS.

Herbs

Herbal treatment is aimed at treating an active attack of thrush and also working to prevent future attacks.

Tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Research has been undertaken into the effects of tea tree on candida and other vaginal infection and it has been shown to be an excellent anti-fungal and antibacterial agent herb.

This essential oil (the same type of oil that is used in aromatherapy) is not taken by mouth, but used vaginally to combat the thrush. It is possible to buy tea tree oil pessaries. Try adding a few drops of tea tree essential oil to your bath when you have thrush. If you are prone to thrush, it can be used on a preventative basis.

Echinacea

Because your immunity will be compromised if you are suffer from recurrent thrush, one of the aims of herbal treatment will be to boost your immune system. Echinacea is one of the best herbs for increasing immune system function. One study showed that women suffering from recurrent thrush, who were given echinacea, had a 43 percent reduction in the number of attacks. For optimum benefit to the immune system, it seems that echinacea is more effective if taken with short breaks. I would suggest 10 days on and then 3 days off and then 10 days on.

Caution

You should not take any of the above herbs if you already taking HRT or any other hormonal treatment unless they are recommended by a registered, experienced practitioner.

For more information on other herbs to help with thrush, see the rest of the ebook on Understanding Thrush ebook at The Natural Health Practice which you can download

Tests

There are a number of tests available that are extremely useful and are well worth considering. These tests can give you invaluable insights into understanding what is going on in your body at the moment and can tell you what vitamin and mineral deficiencies and heavy toxic metal excesses you may have. They can let you know what your general condition is and how well your digestive system is functioning and then explain what action you need to take to rectify any imbalances the results may reveal. The analysis of these results lets you know what supplements you need to take in order to bring your body back into balance and into optimum health. This is also designed to help prevent these problems from recurring in the future. You would then be re-tested after three months to monitor your progress and to adjust the supplement programme accordingly.

Mineral Deficiency Test with Supplement Programme (hair)
Find out what the mineral and heavy toxic levels are in your body

This test measures the deficiencies and excess levels of 12 different minerals (including calcium, chromium, cobalt, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium and zinc) and 6 heavy toxic metals (including aluminium, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury and nickel) that may be present in your body. Find out more – Mineral Deficiency Test with Supplement Programme (hair) 

Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme
Discover what vitamins and minerals you need and should be taking

The analysis of this comprehensive questionnaire will give you a three monthly supplement programme to help balance any vitamin and mineral deficiencies you may have. Find out more – Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme

Candida Test (saliva)
Do you have a yeast overgrowth?

This test will show you whether you have a yeast (candida) overgrowth. You can have yeast overgrowth in the vagina, which is more commonly known as thrush, but it is also possible to have yeast overgrowth in other parts of the body. Candida can also form in the intestines and mouth.

In the intestines, the yeast form of candida can become ‘mycelial’, in that it forms root-like growths that can penetrate the intestine walls, and cause the gut to ‘leak’. Small pieces of undigested food then escape into the bloodstream. This condition is known as ‘leaky gut syndrome’, and it is the result of an overwhelming infestation of candida in the body, known as ‘candidiasis’.

Persistent vaginal thrush can be one of the symptoms of candidiasis, but other symptoms can include food cravings, especially for sugar and bread, fatigue, a bloated stomach with excess flatulence, a ‘spaced out’ feeling, recurrent cystitis, headaches and becoming tipsy on a very small amount of alcohol. Both men and women can suffer from candidiasis.

Candidiasis can be caused by the use of antibiotics because they kill off healthy bacteria in the gut, allowing candida to overgrow. Other causes are the use of steroids for asthma and arthritis, for example, and also the Pill and HRT. People with a poor immune system such as those suffering from chronic fatigue can also be susceptible to a candida overgrowth as well as those with diabetes.

If you have a yeast overgrowth, it will cause an immune response and the body will produce higher levels of specific antibodies to candida. These antibodies can be detected in a saliva sample, which can be organised by post. This sensitive test not only detects a recent or current candida infection but also previous infections. Find out more – Candida Test (saliva)

After three months you would then have a re-test in order to monitor your progress and adjust your supplement programme according to your new condition.

If you need help in obtaining any of the supplements, herbs or tests mentioned above, click, thrush options at The Natural Health Practice. They can supply all of them for you online or if you prefer to talk to somebody first you can also order by mail order on the telephone. The products supplied by this company are always of the highest quality.

Plan of Action

Nutrition

Ensure you are getting the right nutrition.Follow the dietary recommendations outlined in the free The Foundation of Health ebook For more information on the special dietary recommendations for thrush, read the rest of the ebook on Understanding Thrush ebook at The Natural Health Practice

Supplements

The supplement programme below should be taken for at least three months in order to achieve best results

Nutrients & amounts

A good multi-vitamin & mineral supplement   Probiotic 22 billion beneficial bacteria
Beta Carotene 7mg Omega 3 Plus fish oils (700mg EPA and 500mg DHA per day)
Zinc 15mg    

To avoid having to purchase numerous supplements for all of the above and to make the process easier, I have put together a supplement programme which contains all the nutrients mentioned above and in the correct dosages. For more information about these click Thrush Supplement Programme.

In my book ‘The Natural Health Bible for Women’ I explain the impact of nutrition on thrush and also give in great detail a list of the most important nutrients and herbs required in order to help you.

If you would like to order these special supplements now, you can do so through the Natural Health Practice by clicking Thrush Supplements at the Natural Health Practice.

Herbs

Good herbs should include:

Herbs & amounts

Garlic  1000mg
Echinacea  300-400mg
At the end of three months you should reassess your condition and adjust your supplement programme accordingly.

Tests

The tests below have been specially selected to be the most helpful if you are concerned about thrush.

Mineral Deficiency Test with Supplement Programme (hair) 

Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme

Candida Test (saliva)

After three months you would then have a re-test in order to monitor your progress and adjust your supplement programme according to your new condition.

If you need help in obtaining any of the supplements, herbs or tests mentioned above, click, Thrush options at The Natural Health Practice. They can supply all of them for you online or if you prefer to talk to somebody first you can also order by mail order on the telephone. The products supplied by this company are always of the highest quality.

Read More

Understanding Thrush Ebook
The section above forms part of a larger ebook on Thrush.
 
In the rest of the ebook you will learn what the medical approaches to thrush are and how to combine them with the natural approach. This is called Integrated Medicine and is the way that healthier of the future is moving towards. You will also learn what medical tests will give you an accurate diagnosis of your condition and if you really need to have them. The medical treatments for thrush are then examined which can include looking at either drugs or surgery. Each treatment is then discussed and the pros and cons of the options explained. The Integrated Approach to thrush is considered in some detail so that if appropriate you can know how to combine the best of both conventional and natural medicine.

At the end of the ebook is a practical step by step summary of what you can do to help yourself.

If you would like to read the rest of this ebook click, Understanding Thrush ebook at The Natural Health Practice and you will be given details of how you can download the whole ebook.

The Natural Health Bible for Women Book
Or if you would like even more in depth advice about Thrush then read ‘The Natural Health Bible for Women’ book – An international best seller.

Disclaimer

The contents of this site are for information only and are intended to assist readers in identifying symptoms and conditions they may be experiencing. This site is not intended to be a substitute for taking proper medical advice and should not be relied upon in this way. Always consult a qualified doctor or health practitioner, especially if you are pregnant, taking the pill or on any medication. Your situation will need to be looked at individually and you should not attempt to self treat. The author and publisher cannot accept responsibility for illness arising out of the failure to seek medical advice from a doctor.

The views expressed by third parties placing material on these pages are not representative of the views of the author or publisher. The Author and Publisher cannot monitor the content not produced by us and has not reviewed all the third party material published on this site and the Author and Publisher accept no liability whatsoever in relation to the content of third party material placed on these pages.

 
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