Tag Archive | bacteria

Benefits of Daily Probiotics

goodbacteriaProbiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines between harmful and beneficial bacteria and work to remove toxins from the body. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt with live cultures, is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance.

Probiotics promote healthy digestion by providing beneficial bacteria to recolonize and balance the GI tract, and hinder the growth of harmful, toxic bacteria, while also promoting a healthy immune system.

Probiotics may seem new to the food and supplement industry, but they have been with us from our first breath. During a vaginal birth while the newborn passes through the birth canal, a newborn picks up bacteria from his/her mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed and have been shown to be the reason why some infants born by Cesarean section have allergies, less than optimal immune systems, and lower levels of gut microflora.

What are probiotics used for?
Some people use probiotics to prevent diarrhea, gas, and cramping caused by antibiotics. Antibiotics kill “good” (beneficial) bacteria along with the bacteria that cause illness. A decrease in beneficial bacteria may lead to digestive problems. Taking probiotics may help replace the lost beneficial bacteria. This can help prevent diarrhea.

A decrease in beneficial bacteria may also lead to other infections, such as vaginal yeast and urinary tract infections, and symptoms such as diarrhea from intestinal illnesses.

Probiotics may also be used to:

• Help with other causes of diarrhea.

• Help prevent infections in the digestive tract.

• Help control immune response (inflammation), as in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.

When using probiotics, the idea is not to kill off all of the bad bacteria. Our body does have a need for the bad ones and the good ones. The problem is when the balance is shifted to have more bad than good. An imbalance has been associated with diarrhea, urinary tract infections, muscle pain, and fatigue.

Maintaining the correct balance between the “good” bacteria and the “bad” bacteria is necessary for optimal health.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. On the flip side, it takes in the things that our body needs (nutrients from food and water) and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.

The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Some believe that this role is the most important. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders (for example, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), and infections (for example, infectious diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori, skin infections, and vaginal infections). By maintaining the correct balance from birth, the hope would be to prevent these ailments. Our immune system can benefit anytime that balanced is restored, so it’s never too late.

Probiotics convert the fiber in food into healthy fatty acids that nourish the cells that line the intestines. They also help the intestines make short-chain fatty acids, which contribute to the overall health of the body.

Benefits of Probiotics in Pregnancy
Many women suffer from digestive issues, such as heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and intestinal cramps, during pregnancy. Probiotics help relieve constipation and other intestinal issues by improving gastrointestinal function. The healthy bacteria can also improve the immune system of both the mother and baby during pregnancy. Probiotics can help you fight off or avoid colds and other illnesses, which is essential during pregnancy due to a suppressed immune system. Taking probiotics during pregnancy may also help prevent allergies and eczema in both mothers and infants.

A study performed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology discovered a lasting impact on babies whose mothers took probiotics during pregnancy. According to this study, babies and toddlers up to 2 years old were 40 percent less likely to suffer from eczema compared to babies whose mothers did not drink probiotics. Additionally, babies who did experience eczema had less severe cases. This study, which was published in the “British Journal of Dermatology,” highlights the effectiveness in preventing eczema in children and did not indicate any adverse risks to the mother or baby.

References
Parenting; Ask Dr Sears: Probiotics During Pregnancy?; William Sears;
http://alturl.com/354h8
Pregnancy Today; Probiotics and Pregnancy; Teri Brown
Colorado State University Extension; Food Safety During Pregnancy; J. Dean & P. Kendall; December 2006
San Mateo Medical Center; Acidophilus and Other Probiotics; 2011

Benefits of Daily Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help maintain the natural balance of organisms (microflora) in the intestines between harmful and beneficial bacteria and work to remove toxins from the body. The normal human digestive tract contains about 400 types of probiotic bacteria that reduce the growth of harmful bacteria and promote a healthy digestive system. The largest group of probiotic bacteria in the intestine is lactic acid bacteria, of which Lactobacillus acidophilus, found in yogurt with live cultures, is the best known. Yeast is also a probiotic substance.

Probiotics promote healthy digestion by providing beneficial bacteria to recolonize and balance the GI tract, and hinder the growth of harmful, toxic bacteria, while also promoting a healthy immune system.

Probiotics may seem new to the food and supplement industry, but they have been with us from our first breath. During a vaginal birth while the newborn passes through the birth canal, a newborn picks up bacteria from his/her mother. These good bacteria are not transmitted when a Cesarean section is performed and have been shown to be the reason why some infants born by Cesarean section have allergies, less than optimal immune systems, and lower levels of gut microflora.

What are probiotics used for?
Some people use probiotics to prevent diarrhea, gas, and cramping caused by antibiotics. Antibiotics kill “good” (beneficial) bacteria along with the bacteria that cause illness. A decrease in beneficial bacteria may lead to digestive problems. Taking probiotics may help replace the lost beneficial bacteria. This can help prevent diarrhea.

A decrease in beneficial bacteria may also lead to other infections, such as vaginal yeast and urinary tract infections, and symptoms such as diarrhea from intestinal illnesses.

Probiotics may also be used to:

• Help with other causes of diarrhea.

• Help prevent infections in the digestive tract.

• Help control immune response (inflammation), as in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Poor food choices, emotional stress, lack of sleep, antibiotic overuse, other drugs, and environmental influences can all shift the balance in favor of the bad bacteria.

When using probiotics, the idea is not to kill off all of the bad bacteria. Our body does have a need for the bad ones and the good ones. The problem is when the balance is shifted to have more bad than good. An imbalance has been associated with diarrhea, urinary tract infections, muscle pain, and fatigue.

Maintaining the correct balance between the “good” bacteria and the “bad” bacteria is necessary for optimal health.

When the digestive tract is healthy, it filters out and eliminates things that can damage it, such as harmful bacteria, toxins, chemicals, and other waste products. On the flip side, it takes in the things that our body needs (nutrients from food and water) and absorbs and helps deliver them to the cells where they are needed.

The other way that probiotics help is the impact that they have on our immune system. Some believe that this role is the most important. Our immune system is our protection against germs. When it doesn’t function properly, we can suffer from allergic reactions, autoimmune disorders (for example, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis), and infections (for example, infectious diarrhea, Helicobacter pylori, skin infections, and vaginal infections). By maintaining the correct balance from birth, the hope would be to prevent these ailments. Our immune system can benefit anytime that balanced is restored, so it’s never too late.

Probiotics convert the fiber in food into healthy fatty acids that nourish the cells that line the intestines. They also help the intestines make short-chain fatty acids, which contribute to the overall health of the body.

Benefits of Probiotics in Pregnancy
Many women suffer from digestive issues, such as heartburn, diarrhea, constipation and intestinal cramps, during pregnancy. Probiotics help relieve constipation and other intestinal issues by improving gastrointestinal function. The healthy bacteria can also improve the immune system of both the mother and baby during pregnancy. Probiotics can help you fight off or avoid colds and other illnesses, which is essential during pregnancy due to a suppressed immune system. Taking probiotics during pregnancy may also help prevent allergies and eczema in both mothers and infants.

A study performed by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology discovered a lasting impact on babies whose mothers took probiotics during pregnancy. According to this study, babies and toddlers up to 2 years old were 40 percent less likely to suffer from eczema compared to babies whose mothers did not drink probiotics. Additionally, babies who did experience eczema had less severe cases. This study, which was published in the “British Journal of Dermatology,” highlights the effectiveness in preventing eczema in children and did not indicate any adverse risks to the mother or baby.

References
Parenting; Ask Dr Sears: Probiotics During Pregnancy?; William Sears;
http://alturl.com/354h8
Pregnancy Today; Probiotics and Pregnancy; Teri Brown
Colorado State University Extension; Food Safety During Pregnancy; J. Dean & P. Kendall; December 2006
San Mateo Medical Center; Acidophilus and Other Probiotics; 2011

Eating Safely in Pregnancy

During your pregnancy, the body lowers its internal defenses against bacteria to accommodate the baby. Unfortunately, a less effective immune system puts mom and baby at a greater risk of food-borne illnesses. This leads expectant moms to become confused about food safety.
Coffee: For those women who would not be the same without their cup of morning coffee, take heart — coffee is considered safe during pregnancy. Because caffeine can cross the placenta and affect your baby, it is smart to limit your coffee to 2 to 3 cups per day, maximum. Pregnancy hormones and metabolism can wreak havoc on your digestive system, so coffee may make you a bit more jittery than usual. If you find yourself having a hard time dealing with coffee, try to cut back even more, or go half-decaf.
Caffeinated Soda: The same rules dealing with coffee pertain to caffeinated soda — moderation is key, so try to limit your intake of soda to no more than 24 ounces(680 g) per day. Since it has no nutritional value, try replacing it with water, milk( 2% of lower) or a healthy juice (watch the sugar content!)
Diet Soda: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has deemed artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and Splenda® safe to eat during pregnancy. However, it is artificial, and Splenda® hasn’t been around long enough to research long term effects. Unless you’re diabetic, it may be worth just splurging on an occasional non-diet soft drink, and avoid artificial sweeteners altogether.
Tea: A cup of tea can be a relaxing part of your day, and some teas can have added health benefits as well. Be sure to watch caffeine content.
Chocolate: Some women who fear consuming too much caffeine while pregnant and limit their intake of chocolate will be happy to know that because the amount is negligible, they can indulge in this favorite craving. Beware — chocolate during pregnancy is a notorious cause of heartburn! (watch the calories too!)
Vegetarian or Vegan Diet: because these diets tend to be very well balanced and healthy, most healthcare providers will not advise against a vegetarian or vegan diet. However, studies have shown that pregnant women on these types of diets may suffer from a B12 deficiency which can lead to serious anemia. Be sure to get extra calcium and protein if on these diets and your Vit. B complex.
Fish:women should avoid certain types of large fish that contain high levels of mercury. There are many other types of fish and shellfish that will give them the benefits of omega-3s: Shrimp, flounder, scallops, catfish and crab are all examples of fish that are safe to eat during pregnancy. Just be sure that they are fully cooked.
Spicy Foods: While spicy foods may wreak havoc on your digestion, and cause searing heartburn, it’s safe to eat during pregnancy. Interestingly enough, certain strong tastes can cross the placenta and babies learn to have a taste for what their mom likes.
Livestock with antibiotics: Because the levels of antibiotics in livestock are so
minute, red meat is safe to eat during pregnancy. If you’re concerned, eat organic, free-range meat to ease your worries. Be sure to cook your red meat medium to well done during pregnancy.
Sugar: Pregnant women can safely consume regular sugars, in moderation. These sugars include granulated sugar, honey and brown sugar.

Foods that Aren’t Safe to Eat During Pregnancy
Alcohol: Alcohol in any amount is unsafe for the health and development of your baby.
Un-pasteurized Juices: Un-pasteurized juice can harbor bacteria that can affect you and your baby. Unless you’ve washed, squeezed and bottled the juice yourself, you have no idea how it was handled before it got to you. The process of pasteurization should kill all bacteria, making it a safe during pregnancy.
Smoked/Cured Meats and Deli Meats: Cold cuts and smoked meats can harbor bacteria like E. coli and listeria, which can be very dangerous for a pregnant woman and her baby. Avoid them during pregnancy, as well hot dogs — even the ones you make at home.
Fish: although fish is generally safe to eat during pregnancy, certain large fish which prey on smaller fish may have unsafe levels of mercury in their flesh. Avoid shark, swordfish, tilefish and king mackerel during pregnancy. Limit tuna to smaller types of tuna, and canned tuna, to about 6 ounces (170 g) per week.
Soft Cheeses: Certain soft cheeses can harbor bacteria as well — stick with hard or pasteurized cheese

Is it safe to each sushi during pregnancy?
From http://pregnancychildbirth.suite101.com/articles.cfm by Jody Morse
Why Eating Sushi During Pregnancy is Okay
According to the American Pregnancy Association, there are a few reasons why sushi should not be avoided entirely. Remember that fish offers numerous health benefits. The vitamins and nutrients which can be found in sushi can actually be beneficial to the growth and development of the baby. Keep in mind that sushi is also often cooked, so the risk of bacteria is not quite as high as one may think.

Sushi to Avoid or Limit During Pregnancy
Keep in mind that there are certain types of fish which should be avoided by pregnant women, no matter how they are cooked. Kajiki (swordfish), Saba (mackerel), shark, and tilefish are the four types of sushi that should be avoided during pregnancy. While most people are recommended to only eat these types of fish once a month, women who are pregnant are advised to avoid them altogether.

There are other types of fish would do not need to be avoided entirely, but should be limited because they are higher in mercury than other types of fish. It is recommended that pregnant women do not eat any more than three six-ounce servings a month. This list of sushi includes shiro, hamachi, makjiki, toro, inada, meji, buri, kanpachi, masu, ahi, katsuo, and maguro. The types of fish which are used in these sushi dishes include yellowfin tuna, albacore tuna, yellowtail, bonito, bluefin tuna, bluefin, big eye, trout, and blue marlin.

Types of Sushi Women Can Enjoy While Pregnant
Although women should avoid the above mentioned types of sushi at all times during their pregnancy, there are other types which are lower in mercury. These types of fish can be enjoyed by women who are pregnant on a more regular basis.

What is Mastitis? Cause, Treatment and Prevention

Mastitis occurs when bacteria enter your breast through a break or crack in the skin of your nipple or through the opening to the milk ducts in your nipple. Bacteria from your skin’s surface and baby’s mouth enter the milk duct and can multiply — leading to pain, redness and swelling of the breast as infection progresses.

Mastitis is often caused by Staphylococcus aereus and Escherichia coli bacteria. It is an unwelcome guest, especially to first time moms who have a difficult enough time trying to establish a breastfeeding routine with their baby. It is also unwelcome to those of you who have already experienced cracked nipples, have thin or sensitive skin, engorgement or a weakened immune system. Mastitis is often preceded by engorgement, plugged milk ducts or cracked and bleeding nipples.

Symptoms of mastitis include:
• A red, sore spot or “hot spot” on your breast
• Breast tenderness or warmth to the touch
• Swelling of the breast
• General malaise, or feeling ill
• Overall, flu-like symptoms
• Fever of 101 degrees F or 38.3 C or greater
• Red lines following the troubled milk duct’s path

Because many healthcare providers will prescribe antibiotics, it is up to the mother to find, in addition to the antibiotics, other remedies and comfort measures to help shorten the episode of mastitis, ease the pain and help to continue to breastfeed your baby.

Self-care remedies. Resting, continuing breast-feeding and drinking extra fluids can help your body overcome the breast infection. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, the course of therapy will usually be ten to fourteen days of antibiotics. Even though you may feel better after 48 to 72 hours of taking the antibiotics, be sure to finish the antibiotic regimen to ensure your breast infection is resolved.

To relieve your pain and discomfort:
• Maintain your breastfeeding routine-Yes; you can still breastfeed your baby with a breast infection. It is safe for you and for your baby. It is also recommended by the La Leche League to continue breastfeeding on the affected breast through mastitis to help shorten the episode of the infection and avoid abscesses. Mastitis need never be the reason to discontinue breastfeeding your baby
• Avoid prolonged engorgement before breastfeeding your baby. The mother needs to reduce the fullness as much as possible at each feeding to ease the inflammation and expel any milk plugs that may be present. Some babies may be reluctant to breastfeed on the infected breast because of elevated sodium content in the milk. If the baby cannot be persuaded to nurse, the mother needs to express milk to keep her breast soft.
• Use different positions to breastfeed your baby; sometimes the same position causes pressure points on a certain area of the breast, thus causing a plugged duct which can lead to mastitis. Be sure you are in a good and comfortable position before your baby latches on
• Drink plenty of fluids! Did I mention this before? This is important enough to repeat!
• If it is too painful to breastfeed on the affected breast and/or your breast is too sore to have babe latch on, you can pump and hand expressing your milk
• If you have difficulty emptying a portion of your breast, apply warm compresses to your breasts, take a warm shower, or kneel in your tub filled with warm water and submerge your breasts before breastfeeding your baby or pumping
• Wear a good supportive bra
• While waiting for the antibiotics to take affect, take a mild pain reliever such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil, others)

Prevention
Minimize your chances of getting mastitis by fully draining the milk from your breast while breastfeeding. Allow your baby to completely empty one breast before switching to the other breast during feeding. If your baby nurses only a few minutes on the second breast, or not at all, start breastfeeding on that breast at your next feeding.

Alternate the breast you offer first at each feeding, and change the position you use to breastfeed from one feeding to the next. Make sure your babe latches on properly before each feeding. If your baby is not latched on properly, break the suction with your finger. If baby fusses a few seconds, that is okay. This is better than you developing cracked nipples that can lead to mastitis.

Finally, do not let your baby use you as a pacifier. Babies enjoy sucking and often find comfort in suckling at the breast even when they are not hungry.

Breastfeeding your baby is the most fulfilling action in the mother-infant bonding process. It should be pain free and fulfilling.

by Angel J. Miller, MSN, CNM

Excerpts from Mayoclinic.com on Breastfeeding problems; La Leche League (lll.org)

Importance of Oral Health During Pregnancy

“Why do my gums bleed so much and so easily?” Oral health is a key component of overall optimal health and wellbeing across a person’s lifespan. During the course of pregnancy, it is very important to obtain treatment for your oral health and it IS safe throughout pregnancy. It is very surprising to find out that 22% of U.S. women reported they never accessed oral health care prior to becoming pregnant, and less than one third of pregnant moms visited their dentist in the postpartum period (between 2 to 9 months postpartum) following the birth of their babies. These statistics were obtained in a 2004 study. Surprising? Yes. Can it be prevented? Absolutely!

Why is oral health so important, especially during pregnancy? The many physiological changes that a woman’s body undergoes during pregnancy can have an undesirable affect on her overall oral health and good oral hygiene. The many hormonal changes that occur in pregnancy can increase the risk of the pregnant mom to be more susceptible to oral infections, such as periodontal disease, and can reduce the body’s ability to repair soft tissues in the mouth. In addition, “pregnancy gingivitis” or mild inflammation of the gums occurs in approximately 60% to 75% of pregnant women. If this condition is left untreated, it can lead to periodonitis, which can lead to bone and tooth loss. Periodontal disease has been associated with cardiovascular disease, stroke, poor diabetes control and adverse birth outcomes. The pain that results from oral disease can also harm nutritional intake and affect a pregnant woman’s self esteem.

While oral health is important to a women’s overall health, her oral health is also important in its relationship to the health of her unborn child. Studies have shown an association between periodontal disease and adverse birth outcomes such as low birth weight, preterm birth and gestational diabetes. More importantly, transmission of bacteria from the mother to her baby is the primary way that children first acquire the disease that causes cavities. Evidence suggests that most infants and most children acquire caries-causing bacteria from their mothers. Cavity-causing bacteria is passed through saliva via activities like sharing utensils, wiping off the baby’s pacifier in the mother’s mouth, and testing food before feeding to your baby. The healthier mom’s mouth, and the longer the initial transmission of bacteria is delayed, the more likely children are to establish and maintain good oral health.

Tips to help promote oral health:
• To help prevent or control tooth decay, brush your teeth with fluoridated tooth paste twice/day, and FLOSS DAILY
• Eat fruit, veggies, whole grain products and dairy products. Limit foods containing sugar to meal times only (watch those carbs!!)
• Drink plenty of water or low-fat/skim milk. AVOID carbonated beverages
• Choose fruit rather than fruit juice to meet the recommended daily intake of fruit (and will have less sugar)
• Obtain necessary oral treatment ideally before pregnancy. Those who have bleeding gums or cavities, should visit a dentist as soon as possible
• Diagnosis (including necessary dental x-rays) and treatment can be provided throughout pregnancy; however, the period between weeks 14 and 20 weeks of pregnancy is the best time to receive treatment.• Delaying necessary treatment could result in significant risk to the mother and indirectly to her baby

If you are dealing with morning sickness or frequent nausea, especially in the first trimester, here are some tips:
• Eat small amounts of nutritious foods throughout the day: the 6 small meals a day rule is important throughout pregnancy, but especially for dealing with nausea
• Chew sugarless or xylitol gum (causes bacteria to lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity causing process) after meals.
• Rinse your mouth with water and a teaspoon of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) after vomiting to neutralize acid
• Gently brush teeth with fluoridated toothpaste twice a day to prevent damage to demineralized tooth surfaces
• If you can’t brush your teeth because you feel sick, rinse your mouth with water or a mouth rinse that has fluoride

POSTPARTUM
For mom:
• Maintain good oral health
• Limit foods containing sugar to meal times only (watch sugar intake overall)
• Avoid saliva-sharing behavior, including:
Sharing spoons or other utensils
Cleaning a dropped pacifier or toy by putting it in your mouth

For Baby:
• After the first tooth erupts, wipe your baby’s teeth after feeding with a soft cloth or soft-bristled toothbrush
• Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than water
• Ask your baby’s healthcare provider about your baby’s oral health status
• Schedule your baby’s first dental visit for between ages 6 and 12 months

Promoting oral health during pregnancy is the solution to achieving overall health and well-being for pregnant women, their babies and families. Visit your dentist regularly and maintain good oral hygiene.

Article by Jessie Buerlein, MSW, Project Mgr, presented by Angel J. Miller, MSN, CNM
Quickening, Summer 2009. Volume 40, Number 3
Official Newsletter of the American College of Nurse Midwives

Submitted by the Improving Perinatal and Infant Oral Health Project, a joint effort of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the Children’s Dental Health Project. For more info please visit http://www.cdhp.org

Treating Yeast Infections Naturally

Yeast infection is a form of vaginitis, an inflammation or infection of the vagina. During a lifetime, almost 75 percent of all women are likely to have at least one vaginal yeast infection and nearly half have two or more according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Candida albicans (which is the cause of yeast infections) is naturally occurring in our bodies and only becomes problematic when it reaches levels that our immune systems cannot fight. It is a yeast-like fungus which is often found in the mouth, vagina, and intestinal tract. It is a normal inhabitant of humans that usually does not cause any adverse effects. This fungus, in combination with the right growing conditions for the bacteria, is what manifests as a yeast infection. Despite what you might think, a yeast infection isn’t only an external problem; it’s also an internal problem. There are many things that can trigger an infection and while most medications treat the symptoms, none cure the actual cause of the infections.

So what are the conditions under which these bacteria can thrive and multiply? Candida albicans thrives in warm, moist areas and especially so if your immune system is already struggling, for example, following a bout of flu or during pregnancy. It is further encouraged by situations such as insufficient cleansing of the genitals following sex – particularly anal followed by vaginal sex – as well as the use of oral contraceptives and some antibiotics. Being exposed to a partner who already has a yeast infection makes you more susceptible to developing a similar infection also. Menstruation and sperm also can contribute to getting a yeast infection. Yeast infections are more common after menopause.

  The fact that many people won’t talk about yeast infections is not surprising. If you have trouble getting rid of yeast infections keep reading. You need to treat the actual infection or prevent one from occurring in the first place. You need to find out the cause of why you may be more susceptible to yeast infections than others.

First and foremost, review your diet! There are a host of factors that actually cause an infection to multiply explosively and get out of hand. Simple sugars actually feed a yeast infection. If you want to alleviate your problem right now you must cut out sugar from your diet in as many ways as possible. Candy, sugary desserts, coke, sugary juices, bottle drinks, energy drinks, sports drinks all need to be reduced or ideally cut out. Strive to restore the pH balance of your body’s own acids.

It’s not just women that can be plagued with yeast infections, anyone can get them. Men, women, children, babies, the elderly. A yeast infection can be chronic and hidden with strange or unusual symptoms that occur from time to time.

People who have diabetes are especially prone to yeast infections. Likewise, taking steroids and some antibiotics may also facilitate overwhelming bacterial infection that will manifest as a yeast infection. In fact, any condition – or treatment for other conditions – that affects a person’s immune system may leave them vulnerable to this troublesome infection. HIV and AIDS sufferers or those with cancers are similarly at risk but even people who are stressed or have dietary deficiencies are more likely to experience recurrent yeast infections. Scratches in the vagina (caused during insertion of tampons or other objects) can also promote yeast infections.

Nix the “feminine deodorant sprays;” no soap, nylon bathing suits, or pantyhose without a cotton crotch. Wear only cotton or nothing at all. Hot, moist environments incubate yeast.

Below are some natural remedies to help alleviate symptoms/infection

1. Vitamin E as a suppository or vitamin E oil can be used once or twice/ day for 3 – 14 days to soothe mucous membranes of the female reproductive organ.

 2.  Vitamin A used this way (per vagina) can be irritating to local tissue, should not be used more than once per day for up to 7 days.

 3. Insert unpasteurized, plain yogurt with a small spoon, spatula or vaginal cream applicator. Insert at night and wear a pad.      Repeat for 3 to 7 nights, until symptoms disappear. Douching with yogurt and water can help, too. It also helps to eat a lot of yogurt.

4.  Another option is to create a douche with water and yogurt and insert it via a squeeze bottle.

 5.  Douche with a vinegar/water solution. One tablespoon of vinegar to one quart of water, once a day. Especially effective when  used with yogurt suppositories.

 6. Lactobacilli such as acidophilus are natural residents of a healthy vagina. They prevent overgrowths of yeast. (They also turn milk into yogurt.) Insert two acidophilus capsules into your vagina daily. Adding Lactobacilli vaginally stops yeast from growing and creates copius amounts of lubrication.

7.  Plain unsweetened yogurt which is available in natural food stores can  be inserted as is into the vagina to help maintain or restore natural  bacterial balance.  Be sure the yogurt you use contains live cultures of  acidophilus or lactobacillus (it will say so on the label). Insert at least two (2) tablespoons daily: you will need to wear a pad. Here are some tips on getting it in there. Yogurt can be inserted with an empty tampon inserter, vaginal cream inserter or a turkey baster (the baster works best). Symptoms should be relieved within 48 hours. If the yeast is persistent and you experience chronic or repeated overgrowths, then your partner needs to be treated as well. If your partner is male, have him soak his penis in yogurt or diluted apple cider for 5 minutes daily to kill the yeast living in or on the glans; this way he won’t keep re-infecting you.

8. If neither acidophilus or yogurt cure the yeast, you need to re-acidify your vagina. Boric Acid is the most efficient, and you can purchase it in the drug store. Dilute it one teaspoon to one cup of warm water and mini-douche daily with the barrel of a syringe, or use a diaphragm jelly inserter which can be bought at the pharmacy without having to buy the jelly. Don’t use if the skin is raw or broken, and discontinue if an irritation develops. This is wet and messy but boric acid is anti-bacterial and will cleanse some non-specific vaginitis as well.

9.  Apple cider vinegar douches (2 tablespoons vinegar to a pint of warm water) is very effective. Even though yeast flourishes in an     acidic environment, there is something in vinegar that inhibits its growth. Vinegar can also inhibit the growth of bacteria and        trichomonas by establishing the proper acidity (pH) for the proliferation of “good” bacteria. Don’t douche for longer than 10 days.

10. Drinking apple cider vinegar daily will help in prevention of a yeast infection, keeping balance in your body.

11. Regular douching should be discouraged. The vagina is a self-cleaning environment, so routine douching shouldn’t be necessary and could make your vagina too alkaline. Women who douche more than three times a month are four to five times more likely to have rampant yeast.

Natural home remedies are an alternative to medical treatments, but it is always best to check with your healthcare provider to go over your natural treatment options.
                                                                                                                 

Maintaining a Healthy Vagina

–         Wipe front to back when urinating to avoid bringing bacteria from the rectum forward

–          DO NOT DOUCHE REGULARLY!  This alters the healthy balance of bacteria in the vagina

–        AVOID pads and tampons with deodorant/perfumed scents – chemical irritants are present and can help promote vaginal irritation

–        Avoid chemical irritants that are present in hot tubs, swimming pools, scented toilet paper, bubble bath vaginal  hygiene products   (such as sprays, powers, soaps, douches)

–      DO NOT USE TALCUM POWDER – this is linked to ovarian cancer

–  Change tampons and pads at least every 4-6 hours- be aware of signs and symptoms of toxic shock syndrome

–  Reduce intake of dairy products and simple sugars – these favor the overgrowth of yeast

–  Consider using condoms for recurrent infections to avoid re-infection

–  Avoid repeated intercourse in a 24 hour period – vaginal pH will not return to normal for 24 hours, and you may be more prone  to an infection during this time

–  Consider taking acidophilus tablets daily – maintains pH in the vagina and prevents the overgrowth of yeast

–  Be aware that vaginal discharge is your friend – discharge is evidence of daily cleaning of your vagina and will change throughout your menstrual cycle

– Wear cotton underwear and/or sleep without underwear – helps promote circulation of air around the vulva – Your vulva sweats more than any other body part

–  Keep your sexual aids clean to avoid re-infection

–  Practice good stress management