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Vaginal infections

Vaginal Infections and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

As well as thrush and urinary tract infections (UTIs) that can affect women, there are, however, other conditions that can affect the vagina, and these infections are becoming increasingly common.When the birth control pill took over as the main form of contraception for women, it replaced a variety of other methods, many of which acted as a barrier to sperm reaching an egg for fertilisation. But these methods did more than prevent sperm getting through, they also prevented diseases from entering the reproductive organs. Today, many women have had more than one sexual partner and there has been a dramatic increase in sexually transmitted disease (STDs). Some of the classic STDs, such as syphilis, are in decline (the result of early detection and improved methods of treatment), but they have been replaced by another group of infectious agents, which can cause discomfort and more serious problems.

What are these vaginal infections?

The two main infections are caused by either a bacteria (bacterial vaginosis) or by a tiny parasite, known as trichomonas vaginalis.

Bacterial vaginosis

This is the most common cause of abnormal vaginal discharge among women.

Trichomonas vaginalis

This is caused by a tiny parasite called a ‘trichomonad’, which lives in the vagina. It is spread by having sexual intercourse with someone who has the infection.

What are the symptoms?

Bacterial vaginosis
There are a number of potential symptoms, including:

  • Itching, soreness and redness around the vagina, vulva or anus
  • Grey or yellow vaginal discharge with a fishy smell, especially after sex
  • A burning sensation when passing urine
  • Pain during intercourse

You may suffer from some or all of these symptoms.

Trichomonas vaginalis

Unfortunately, there are fewer symptoms for this type of infection, and you may not even have any, which can make diagnosis a bit more difficult. You may, however, experience:

  • Yellow or green vaginal discharge which is frothy and smells fishy
  • Soreness and itching around the vagina

Bacterial vaginosis

This inflammation of the vagina develops when normal vaginal lactobacilli (‘healthy’ bacteria) are replaced by an overgrowth of Gardnerella vaginalis (unhealthy bacteria), anaerobic lactobacillis (unhealthy bacteria) and mycoplasmas (small organisms that infect your vagina or urinary tract).

In other words, there is a sudden imbalance in the natural bacteria of the body. Scientists are not sure what causes this imbalance, but when this infection is present the normal – slightly acidic – quality of the vagina changes to become more alkaline. The acid/alkaline balance in the body is known as a ‘pH balance’. It is suggested that a sudden shift in balance from acid to alkaline allows other bacteria to take hold.

Trichomonas vaginalis

This condition is sexually transmitted and is, therefore, only present if you have been in contact with someone carrying the parasite.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

PID is an umbrella term for any inflammation of the organs in the pelvis, and it is normally caused by an infection in any of the reproductive organs, including the womb, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, womb lining and/or vagina. PID is sexually transmitted and the symptoms can be very extreme. They include:

  • Foul smelling vaginal discharge
  • Fever
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Breakthrough bleeding between periods
  • Back pain
  • Pain on intercourse
  • A need to pass urine more frequently
  • Pain when urinating

It is believed that the infection spreads from the area around the cervix and migrates upwards. The two most common organisms that are implicated in PID are Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae.

If you suffer from any of the symptoms listed above, you should see your doctor immediately. It is essential that a proper diagnosis is made and that any other reason for the symptoms, such as ectopic pregnancy or appendicitis, are ruled out.

What are your choices?

If you are suffering any irritation around the vagina, or if you have an unusual discharge, it is very important that you see your doctor.

A swab will be taken and sent to the laboratory to work out which infection, if any, is present. You may find that you are suffering from a simple, and easily treated yeast infection (see section on Thrush), but you could be suffering from one of the infections listed above, which can be more problematic. If you find you carry one of these infections, your partner will also need to be screened.

It is important that your diet is as healthy as possible to encourage resistance to any colonisation of bacteria. Supplements are recommended to boost your immune system so that it can more effectively fight off infections. They can also help to encourage the success of your medical treatment. Ultimately, however, your supplement plan is designed to prevent future attacks, using nutrients that are known to be helpful in the prevention of vaginal infections.

Supplements

The supplements recommended below may be useful for vaginal infections. 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 would 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 be helpful for vaginal infections.

Vitamin C

This vitamin is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. It also helps with the formation of collagen, which is very important if you are suffering from a vaginal infection or PID. Collagen is a protein that is found in an abundant supply in the body. It maintains the integrity of skin, ligaments, tendons and bone. If the collagen matrix (which is the main component of connective tissue) is intact, infection is less likely to spread, and your organs are less likely to become scarred by the infection. The bacteria can spread through the connective tissue so having extra vitamin C at this time will help to strengthen the connective tissue, make it more resistant, and decrease the time it takes for your body to repair damaged tissue.

Beta-carotene

Beta-carotene is a type of vitamin A that is known to help your body produce collagen, and it also helps to keep your cartilage strong. It is important that you have adequate levels in your body to help stop the spread of infection. Beta-carotene is also a powerful antioxidant and is found in high concentrations in the ovaries. However, if there isn’t enough in the body, levels in the ovaries will be inadequate, and the ovaries will be less likely to be able to fight off attacking infectious agents. Studies show that adequate levels of beta-carotene can help to prevent excess cell damage. Beta-carotene is also vital for immune function and for the normal growth of the type of tissue found in the vagina.

Vitamin E

We now know that vitamin E encourages an increased resistance to chlamydia infections. As well as taking a vitamin E orally, you can open up a capsule and apply the oil to the inflamed area -or insert a yeast-free capsule into the vagina to help soothe the tissues and encourage healing.

B Vitamins

These water-soluble vitamins are often deficient in women with vaginal infections. They are needed for healthy cell replication, which is particularly important when cells (such as those in the vagina) are bombarded with infection.

Zinc

Zinc is an important mineral for the immune system and needs to be taken when an infection is present. Not only does it help to boost immunity, which can encourage faster healing, but it can help to prevent a recurrence.

Garlic

Often called ‘nature’s antibiotic’, garlic is very important while you are trying to fight off an infection because it has strong antibacterial properties. So not only can it help to deal with the present infection, but it can help to prevent a recurrence by making the body an inhospitable place for invaders.

Probiotics

Lactobacillus acidophilus, ‘beneficial’ bacteria known as flora, normally inhabit the vagina in good numbers. Infections such as bacterial vaginosis tend to ‘get hold’ when the balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria in the body change. Therefore, it makes sense that if the bacteria in your body are largely healthy; it is less likely that opportunistic bacteria can take over. What’s more, lactobacillus is toxic to Gardnerella vaginalis, which is the main cause of bacterial vaginosis. Probiotics need to be taken orally, but I would also suggest that you use a specially designed probiotic pessary inserted directly into the vagina.

At the end of three months you should reassess your condition and adjust your supplement programme accordingly.

Herbs

Herbs are taken to help increase the effectiveness of your immune system. They can be useful while you taking medication, but they are also extremely effective when used following an attack in order to prevent a recurrence. Some herbs work on the infection directly.

Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)

Tea tree oil has been the subject of recent research into its beneficial effect on vaginal infection. It appears to have antimicrobial properties and was especially successful in treating trichomonas. This essential oil is not taken by mouth but used in your bath, add a few drops of the essential oil to your bath water, together with 3 cups of pure apple cider vinegar, which can be very helpful when you have a vaginal infection.

Echinacea

This is the herb of choice for boosting the immune system and strengthening its ability to fight off infection. Studies show that echinacea is more effective if taken with short breaks (the immune system benefits are less effective if it is taken continuously). I would suggest ten days on and ten days off, ten days on etc. for maximum benefit.

Caution

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

For more information on other herbs to use for vaginal infections, see the rest of the Understanding Vaginal Infections 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

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, vaginal infections 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 vaginal infections, read the rest of the ebook on Understanding Vaginal Infections 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)
B-complex 25mg of each B vitamin Zinc 15mg
Vitamin E 300iu used as an oil to rub into sore tissue Vitamin C 1000mg

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 Vaginal Supplement Programme.

In my book ‘The Natural Health Bible for Women’ I explain the impact of nutrition on Vaginal Infections 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 Vaginal 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 vaginal infections.

Mineral Deficiency Test with Supplement Programme (hair)

Online Personalised Supplement Assessment Programme

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, Vaginal Infections 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 Vaginal Infections Ebook
The section above forms part of a larger ebook on vaginal infections.
 
In the rest of the ebook you will learn what the medical approaches to vaginal infections 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 vaginal infections 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 vaginal infections 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 Vaginal Infections 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 Vaginal Infections 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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