Nope, this is not a post about brewing beer—I’d be happier if it was. It’s about the bugaboo that affects all women, sooner or later, the yeast infection. Candidiasis if you prefer the medical term. However you describe it, it is always a pain in the… well, you know what.
Note for the guys: You should know about this health issue that affects the women you love.
My first impulse is the run to the doctor and ask for a prescription for Diflucan. One pill and your yeast is gone, hooray! But I’m concerned about how many different medications that I’m asking my body to process: anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and NSAIDs. Plus all the supplements I take to help support my body. My poor liver has a lot to process and I really don’t want to throw in a powerful anti-fungal to the mix.
So hooray for Wikipedia and their inclusion of the following on home remedies for candidiasis:
Home remedies for candidiasis include the consumption or direct application of yogurt, which contains lactobacillus (probiotics, “friendly” bacteria that kill yeast), acidophilus tablets or salves, and even lightly crushed cloves of garlic, which yield allicin, an antifungal. Boric acid has also been used to treat yeast infections when gelcaps are filled with boric acid powder and two are inserted at bedtime for three to four nights. Another remedy is to douche with a weak mix of sodium bicarbonate (bi-carb soda) in water (1 teaspoon to 1 cup). Bi-carb soda is alkaline and changes the vagina’s acidity temporarily to a higher alkaline environment in which candida cannot survive.
I knew about the yogurt (much less messy if you use a children’s medicine syringe), but the baking soda was a new idea to me. Here’s hoping I can create a candida-hostile environment naturally.
“Naturally” includes changes to my diet. Now, here’s the controversial part: “systemic candidiasis” is a diagnosis that is not fully accepted by the medical establishment and one with which I have experience. Unfortunately.
About 8-9 years ago, I was diagnosed with “systemic candidiasis” by a doctor in Markham, Ontario. Oddly enough, most everyone who crossed her threshold was given the same diagnosis. Apparently, systemic candidiasis is amazingly prevalent among women who happened to live northeast of Toronto.
I tried to be a good little patient. I ate the completely restrictive (no carbs, no corn, no sugar) diet exclusively. I drank concoctions of some oily substance that was anti-fungal, psyllium powder, and bentonite liquid clay. I replenished my body with acidophilus supplements. I did this for about 2 months.
I had gone to this doctor for relief of severe depression and anxiety symptoms. How enticing that my emotional imbalance could be blamed on a simple overgrowth of yeast releasing toxins into my body. I bought it.
For about eight weeks. Then I had a breakdown, got suicidal, and took a trip to the ER so I could get into the mental health treatment program. I got anti-depressants, anti-anxiety agents, and therapy. After only a couple of weeks on this new regime, I was feeling infinitely better.
So, I’m somewhat loathe to jump whole-heartedly onto the systemic candidiasis scam, er, bandwagon. It’s possible and I believe that some people do have systemic yeast issues. But not nearly as many as some alternative health practitioners would like us to believe.
YMMV, as always.
In any case, I have found that changing my diet without being insane about it actually does help when I have a vaginal yeast infection. Which brings us back to High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). The anti-candida diet recommends avoiding sugar in any form as well as certain fruits and vegetables, including corn. It’s pretty amazing how many foods contain either corn or a by-product of corn. Kind of scary actually, when you consider that corn is one of the most genetically-modified crops. I don’t think any of the major manufacturer’s are using organic corn to make their HFCS—that wouldn’t be good for the bottom line.
I’ve requested “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” from the public library. The book sounds very interesting. I heard the author speaking on CBC—he discussed the “corn economy” and discusses how food companies are using HFCS as a means of increasing profits: it’s cheap and it leaves it’s consumers craving more. Hey! That sounds a lot like tobacco! Coincidence? I think not!