Vaginal discharge is normal, particularly for women who still move through the four phases of the menstrual cycle. Getting to know your vaginal humidity makes it much easier to spot when something does not feel quite right… you just have to know what’s normal for your body, and what may be a sign of imbalance.
Symptoms and Common Causes of Yeast Infections
Yeast infection symptoms can range from mild to moderate, and include:
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
- A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or while urinating
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal pain and soreness
- Vaginal rash
- Thick, white, odor-free vaginal discharge with a cottage cheese appearance
- Watery vaginal discharge
If you are a baker, you know that yeast needs warm water and sugar to awaken from its dormant state. A question to ask when you feel something is off in your vagina is “what conditions could have helped disrupt the health of my vaginal flora to the point of becoming a friendly environment to uninvited guests?” Here are some things to consider:
Phase in your Menstrual Cycle: Our vaginas need a moderately acidic environment to protect us from infections. The time that you are most likely to get a vaginal infection is during or right around your period when your protective vaginal fluids (mucosa) is at its lowest. Depending on our overall health and where we are in the cycle, certain conditions can create a friendly environment for “uninvited guests”.
Repeated intercourse over a short period of time: Semen needs an alkaline environment to survive; that is why the ejaculate has a pH of about 9… quite high compared to the average vaginal pH of 3.8 to 4.5. One episode of intercourse can increase the vaginal pH for eight hours. Repeated intercourse during a 24hr period will threaten the bacterial balance by turning the vaginal pH much higher than normal. If Eros visited with you more than once in one day, I recommend that you use an apple cider vinegar douche (1 tablespoon per quart of warm water) to help your vagina return to her normal acidic state.
Dampness: Wearing restrictive, nonabsorbent, synthetic clothing close to the skin in the vulvar area can cause dampness and thus increase the likelihood of a yeast infection. Remember that yeast is a fungus which thrives in wet and warm places! Be very mindful to change your sport’s clothing right after exercise to avoid “sitting in dampness” for longer than healthier.
Immersion Bath: While immersion baths excel at helping us relieve stress, some women may experience a change in the vaginal pH when sitting in water. If this sounds true to you, try adding 1 cup of apple cider vinegar to your bath and do not sit for longer than 20 min.
Diet: Eating foods high in refined sugars can create the perfect environment for yeast to grow. Dairy can also contribute to yeast vaginitis in some women, particularly those who know to be sensitive to milk derived products. You may also notice that the way your body digests those foods depends on where you are in your cycle. I recommend that you use “attention” as your inner compass to asses which, how much and when is the best time to visit with certain foods.
Antibiotics: repeated courses of antibiotics may disrupt your intestinal and vaginal flora making you more susceptible to yeast overgrowth. If this is the case, I recommend that you support your intestinal flora with probiotics. I personally like this one from Metagenics. Sauerkraut is also a phenomenal probiotic and so is Coconut Kefir. Both are fairly easy to make at home!
Supplements and home remedies
- Eat more leafy green vegetables, including spinach, collard greens, dandelion greens, beet and carrot tops as well as barley, garlic, citrus fruits, mung beans, artichokes and cabbage. Eat little or no fruits and avoid drinking alcohol until your vaginal flora goes back to normal.
- Make a tea with 1 cup of fresh dandelion and 1/2 cup of barley in 4 cups of water. Bring ingredients to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain and drink 3 cups/day1.
- Take one capsule of UltaFlora Women’s a day for a month to help your vaginal flora restore balance.
- Apply yogurt topically to the vulva (the area around the vaginal opening or insert yogurt into the vagina. Follow this link for more information.
ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR INNER KNOWING!!
To your Health!
Yamin Chehin L.Ac; Dipl. O.M
Potential of hydrogen, or pH, is the standard measure of hydrogen ion concentration, the quantitative appraisal of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Numerically, it is equal to 7.0 for neutral solutions. Levels of pH less than 7.0 characterize acidic solutions, while levels greater than 7.0 characterize basic (or alkaline) solutions. The vaginal pH fluctuates from 3.8 to 4.5, and is classified as moderately acidic. Kelly KG. Tests on vaginal discharge. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, editors. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd ed. Boston: Butterworths; 1990; p. 833-5. [ Links ] Back to paragraph
From the book “Secrets for Sel-Healing” by Dr Maoshing Ni. First edition.