This isn’t a pleasant topic and talking about it is embarrassing, but since three out of four women have a yeast infection in their lifetime and more than half of all women will have one more than once, I think it is a relevant topic to discuss. And since there may be other women Googling “chronic yeast infection,” besides me, I think I need to tell my story in hopes of helping them, if only to let them know they are not alone.
First of all, a yeast infection is simply an imbalance of yeast in the vagina. “This happens when the ‘good’ bacteria in the vagina can’t regulate the yeast fungus (known as Candida albicans). Without the bacteria monitoring the yeast, it multiplies and further upsets the vagina’s normal condition, resulting in a yeast infection.” (From http://www.monistat.com) And as many of us know, the symptoms are not pleasant.
I have been suffering from chronic yeast infections for almost four years and have treated them in many ways: prescription pills, over the counter inserts, supplements, a change in diet, and home remedies. Shortly I will tell what I had most success with but first I want to tell what led to this experience in hopes that I can prevent someone else from making the same stupid mistake I did.
In 2005, I went to Mexico while taking antibiotics for an abscessed tooth that I was scheduled to have a root canal on when I returned. My prescription ran out while I was there so I went to a Mexican pharmacy where they sold me a bottle of the same medicine (amoxicillin) but in a huge economy sized bottle of 100. I only used maybe ten of them before stashing the remainder in a drawer. In 2007, I got a urinary tract infection and at that time we did not have health insurance. (Thank God we do now!) We could not afford a doctor visit, but it was so painful that I started taking the Mexican antibiotics, hoping that although amoxicillin isn’t commonly prescribed for a urinary tract infection, that it would cure it anyway. Well, it did, but I didn’t know how many to take before I should stop. (Oh, how I wished I’d gone to a doctor instead of self-medicating!) I know that when you’re taking antibiotics, you’re supposed to finish your entire bottle of pills or the infection could come back so I ended up taking them way too long and only left twelve pills in the bottle before stopping. So I took probably about 75-80 pills. Believe me, I’m as horrified at myself as you are!
What I did was kill off all of my good bacteria along with the UTI. I got a sudden and inexplicable rash on my back that left light scars for a few years, and the first yeast infection of many reared its ugly head. There was no good bacteria left in my vagina to counter-act the yeast and it just took over with abandon.
I used over-the-counter inserts (Monsitat & generic stuff) over and over, with the infection only going away for a couple of days and up to a few weeks at a time before returning. With the pill from the doctor, it only went away for two days. In desperation, I turned to natural remedies and along with purchasing a whole lotta acidophilus capsules and other pills that promised to rebuild my good bacteria, I purchased an e-Book online called, Cure Your Yeast Infection Naturally. This book is excellent and worth the price ($29.97)–it has many home remedies, all of them safe and natural (I will detail a few later). The remedies did help my symptoms, but couldn’t fully cure me, even when I went on the special diet it outlined with no sugar, no starches, nothing fermented (not even mushrooms or soy sauce). And of course, nothing with yeast. I was buying special yeast-free bread from the grocery store for months but none of this permanently rid me of the infection.
I had the best result from a soothing yogurt douche outlined in the book, but wasn’t able to completely cure myself for an extended period of time until I followed the recommendation of a lady I met online who also had problems with yeast infections. She told me the sure-cure that her doctor had recommended to her: fill double 00 vegetable capsules (available for purchase at health food stores or online) with boric acid and insert one into the vagina for three nights in a row. The capsule dissolves and the boric acid is released, killing all the yeast it comes in contact with.
Obviously, I freaked. Boric acid is used to kill cockroaches and ants. And she wanted me to stick it up my hoo-ha?!
After much deliberation, I finally decided that if she’d been doing it for years to no bad effect and a doctor had been the one to recommend it to her, then it was worth the risk if it would finally end my torture. (The stuff pictured above is the only source I could find and although the packaging was a definite turn-off, I bought and used it.) And it worked!! After the first treatment, I was yeast-infection free for probably six months! The only problem was that it did eventually return and when I tried the boric acid treatment again, it only worked for about as long as the over-the-counter treatments had in the past. A few days or a few weeks later, it was back!
Eventually I tried a different delivery system for the boric acid, making a mixture of it with warm water and using it as a douche so that it could reach every nook and cranny. Then I followed that with the yogurt douche I mentioned before, hoping that after killing off the bad stuff I could make a happy PH balance by introducing the good stuff back in. This was in June and it worked for about a month, but I did the yogurt douche every day and once I stopped, the yeast infection returned and this time I could not get rid of it with the boric acid douche followed by the daily yogurt douche. It was growing in strength and I was wondering if I would be plagued for life!
Well, I am happy to report that I have been yeast infection-free ever since I started taking the HCG drops, which has been a very welcome side effect. The relief could be caused by the drops, or it could be the very low-carb diet, but I suspect that as I’m burning off all this fat that has been on me since I came down with the first yeast infection, I’m also sort of detoxing in the process and eliminating all the Candida that has been caught up in my tissues. Obviously there must have been a mega surplus to keep me having the YI’s for such an extended period of time.
However, this detoxing process has brought about another frustrating side-effect that I will talk about in my next blog, as this one is already way too long and you need to get back to work, finish the laundry, walk the dog, chase the naked toddler back into the house.
I want to leave you with my two favorite natural remedies from the eBook I purchased. The first is to simply take a clove of garlic, peel it, and insert it into the vagina. While this never cured me, as long as the garlic was inside I had no itchiness so it was a big relief. And don’t worry, you can push the garlic out easily with your kegel muscles. It will not be trapped inside!
The second is the recipe for my favorite yogurt douche. Yogurt is yeast’s enemy–the bacteria it contains fights off Candida and helps create a normal PH balance once again. So applying it directly through douching really works wonders and it’s very soothing.
1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 drops tea tree oil
1 Tablespoon acidophilus culture or 1/4 cup yogurt with live, active cultures (preferably organic)
Mix all ingredients in a quart or liter of warm water. The douche can make most contact with your skin if you lie on a warm towel in an empty bathtub. Place the warm solution (make sure it is not too hot) in a douche bag and gently douche. Alternatively, you can use a plastic syringe or a meat baster instead of a douche bag. Or, you can soak a small natural sponge in the mixture and leave it in the vagina for several hours or overnight.