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This post shares a three-step process for healing chronic yeast infections: using essential oils, diet and probiotics. I’m sorry to say that having suffered from candida overgrowth in and on so many parts of my body, vaginal yeast infections are no exception. I have seen many medical doctors and naturopaths for this condition and have tried all of their suggestions. In the end, I am pleased that some good can come of my suffering; I can share with you what finally worked for me. (And in Part 2 here of this post, I share what worked to relieve my husband’s jock itch.)
Several of the other remedies I’ve tried worked a little, or helped briefly; but this remedy is the only one I’ve found to actually remove the horribly itchy symptoms of vaginal yeast infections forever. Further down in this article, I also talk about thrush and rectal itching. We’ll leave no stone unturned!
Anti-Candida Diet and Herbs
Firstly, the patient must be willing to adopt an anti-candida diet for this to work, a grain-free version. So I recommend the GAPS diet in conjunction with the anti-candida diet. In a nutshell this means eliminating the following foods from the diet: grains, all sugar, including honey, all fruit, dairy, alcohol, starches like potatoes and sweet potatoes, mushrooms, legumes and even vegetables with fructose, like beets and carrots.
Among the few things that are effective to heal candida overgrowth in the form of vaginal yeast infections, rectal itching, and thrush on one’s nipples or other parts of the skin, the most exciting thing about the remedies I’m sharing today is that they are all based in nature. I have learned that we must fight nature with nature.
While antibiotics can be unproductive and cause more pain, this approach rotates herbal remedies; otherwise the yeasts and funguses can morph and remain one step ahead of the fight.
How to Heal Vaginal Yeast Infections
STEP 1– Have you ever heard of a sponge tampon?* A couple of years ago I finally dared to try them, loved them and then in turn, found an additional use for them.
Tea tree oil is an essential oil and is used as maintenance, to keep the sponges safe and free of bacteria. It can also be used after your initial purchase of new sponges (here’s the most affordable source), to sanitize them.
When dealing with a yeast infection, you also make use of essential oils with the sponge, in this case clove and lemongrass essential oils. I got this idea from Donna Gates, the creator of The Body Ecology Diet and a woman who has helped many with pathogen overgrowth and with introducing fermenting veggies as a healing food.
Here’s my adaptation of the recipe she gave to use with a normal tampon; I use and prefer the sea sponge:
- In a small bowl with a lid, stir together the two oils: carrier oil + 1 essential oil.
- Moisten your sea sponge completely first with non-chlorinated water and squeeze out any extra.
- Place your sea sponge 1/2 way into the oil and squeeze out a small amount of excess, so it is not dripping oil.
- Your fingers will be holding the side of the sponge that is moist with water. The other half will be wet with oil; this will be the side to insert first.
- Insert the sponge by pushing it up inside your vagina, as you would a tampon.
- Line your undies with a thin panty-liner.
- Replace the lid on your little bowl as you can use this oil dip on any freshly cleaned sponge or new tampon. Up to four fresh applications daily are appropriate. Sleeping “in the sponge” is great too.
- Note- It may sting! The first time I did this technique the stinging lasted a full 15 minutes and I got “die-off;” it was actually an amazing experience to know the process was working all too well. I crashed on my tummy on our bed, a major nap in the middle of the day, as a huge colony of pathogens were killed. The stinging varied in its intensity after this first time, but definitely decreased over time. I also got used to the sensation and didn’t mind it. In contrast, there are products like boric acid, that my gynecologist once recommended, that ate away at my skin over time. The essential oils caused some stinging but were always gentle with my skin. Used over time, they never thinned or injured the skin in any way.
- Note- Alternate the oils, 4 days of one, then 4 days of the other. (So you will have two little bowls: one of clove + carrier oil, and one of lemongrass + carrier oil.) This keeps the pathogens from figuring out how to morph.
STEP 2– As with any battle against pathogens, they must first be killed and then secondly, the environment must be recolonized with “good flora.” This is the same reason that we eat fermented veggies and all probiotic-rich foods. We must keep the friendly probiotics in our systems continually to prevent the invasive pathogens from overgrowing. There is a wonderful probiotic called Metagenics – Ultra Flora IB. It is the ideal flora with which to repopulate your vagina.
The probiotic comes in a pill form that does not dissolve easily; so here’s what to do:
- Buy gelatin capsules.
- To save money, make 3 gelatin capsules for every one IB Flora capsule. That’s right; each gelatin capsule will only contain 1/3 of the powder that the original IB Flora capsule contained. But it will be enough! I just pack the pills as I need them; but feel free to sit down one day and make a bunch so they’re ready when you need them.* Keep them in the refrigerator.
- Spend up to two weeks, or as little as three days, depending on the severity of your yeast infection, using just the essential oil sponge, the killing process! Use the sponge 24 hours a day, so that pathogens are being killed constantly and they never have a chance to repopulate.
- When you feel symptom-free and sense that you have defeated the foe, it is time to introduce the new colony of good guys.
- Line your undies with a thin panty-liner. Place one gelatin capsule inside your vagina, suppository style, and continue to put new pills in 1-2 times every 24 hours, so one in the morning and one at night.
- Do this every day until you can take a break and remain symptom-free.
- Once you’re well, after intercourse or during times in your cycle when you’re producing more cervical fluid, use the probiotic suppository pills again, as a preventative measure; the moist environment can be a great invitation for the invasive pathogens to return. They do not stand a chance if you keep the good flora there first.
- Remember to keep a no-sugar diet. If you feel healthy and well and want to enjoy honey and other treats, just be on your guard and ready to use a suppository at the first sign of itching.
Rectal Itching and Thrush on Nipples
While I’ve got you, I mentioned above rectal itching and thrush on one’s nipples. For these symptoms, the best cures are firstly, the dietary recommendations already mentioned, and then “painting” the itchy areas with whey. Whey will rise from the surface of a really good quality plain yogurt or all natural sour cream, such as Nancy’s brand. If you take out a spoonful or more of the solid yogurt from the container, several hours later whey will have pooled in the spot. It is full of probiotics. (Clove and lemongrass essential oils mixed with a carrier oil may be a good step as well; but I have never needed to use them in these areas; and I can’t tell you ahead of time how much they may or may not sting.)
Internal Pathogen Overgrowth
You may also refer to Part 2 of this article, which discusses one other key element in eradicating yeast overgrowth– internal overgrowth in the GI tract, as well as how to handle hard-to-kill topical yeast overgrowth, such as in cases of jock itch or rectal itching that won’t resolve.
The Anti-Candida Diet
If you are feasting your pathogens on sugar, they will keep repopulating. Even if you kill them locally they will be systemic and keep returning. So an anti-candida diet means no sugar, no grains, no peanut butter or mushrooms, if the case is really stubborn then no carrots or beets, no fruit or dried fruit, no honey or maple syrup, no dairy to start and then only dairy that is fully cultured, full of live and active cultures and lactose-free. But you can have xylitol, preferably North American grown and hardwood-derived, such as Global Sweet brand; and you can have stevia. Paleo and GAPS diets can be good guides for starting this diet lifestyle.
Moon Sponges or Tampons
- By the way, here’s a quick blurb about sponge tampons from one company, Moon Times, that makes and distributes them,
Moon Sponges are completely natural sea sponge tampons containing no synthetic fibres. The environmentally friendly and comfortable alternative to ‘disposable’ tampons!Women have used sponges as tampons for thousands of years! Sustainably harvested and reusable for up to 12 months, sponge tampons are economical, easy to use, and earth friendly. For your health and comfort, for the planet, for a change!*NOTE: Moon Sponges come in 3 sizes- small for light flow days, young women or pre birth, medium/normal- our usual size sponges and large for women with heavy flow, prolapses and for the months after childbirth when conventional tampons and menstrual cups may not feel as comfortable! We recommend using Tea Tree Oil to disinfect your sponge tampons . It is a gentle, safe, and natural antiseptic. Tea Tree Oil is an effective germicide and has been proven to inhibit up to 60 strains of bacteria, including s. aureus. It will also eliminate any odour on your sponge. Use a solution of 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil and 1 cup warm water.
*For those who don’t want to mess with filling their own capsules, here’s a handy gadget + 1000 gelatin capsules: Capsule Filler Kit