Let’s take a look at some Ayurvedic recommendations as vaginal yeast infection treatments and remedies. We also take a look at lifestyle and dietary recommendations for prevention.
Vaginal thrush, vaginal yeast infection or vaginal candidiasis are the terms used for the disorder that is marked by the overgrowth of a type of yeast that belongs to the Candida species.
This yeast causes symptoms like vaginal itching which may often be severe, burning during urination, thick and white vaginal discharge that typically does not smell bad, painful sex, and redness around the vagina, which worsens at the premenstrual stage.
Such an infection is common as well as easily treatable. But the problem arises when the infection is recurring 4-5 times or more in a year.
Ayurveda has the solution to this problem and takes a holistic approach to analyze and managing this condition, as it does in all other diseases.
From conventional western medicine’s point of view, Candida Albicans accounts for 94% of all cases of vaginal yeast infection.
Yeast is a natural inhabitant of the human vagina but is opportunistic in nature and causes infection in susceptible individuals. This depends upon the presence of a sufficient amount of fungal organisms, or reduced resistance, or both.
Conditions that can increase the susceptibility of a person to this condition are:
Studies have shown that the local immune response of the vaginal cells plays an important role in fighting this infection.
Naturally acting bacteria called lactobacilli maintain the pH of the vagina between 3.5 and 4.5. Any condition which increases the pH, say more than 5, leads to the growth of yeast in the vagina, thereby further leading to this condition.
Antibiotics kill these friendly bacteria and are one of the major causes of recurrent yeast infections.
Ayurveda considers vaginal candidiasis a condition that is caused by the aggravation of the Kapha and Pitta doshas. In fact, a perfect environment of the vagina is dependent upon an ideal state of doshic balance at the systemic and the local cellular levels.
An excess of Kapha increases the pH while an excess in Pitta brings the pH level down below what is normal. Both situations are not good for vaginal health.
Lactobacilli, though very effectively controlling opportunistic bacteria, rather than inhibiting the growth of the yeast directly, does it the indirect way by maintaining the optimal vaginal pH. Now let’s take a look at some Ayurvedic yeast infection treatments.
Ayurveda has always put more emphasis on strengthening the body to make it fit to fight infections, and in the case of vaginal infections, this focus is on the local use of herbs.
Based on the causes enumerated above, proper management of this condition includes reducing the yeast population in the body (not in every case apart from fulminant infections), building up the beneficial bacteria population, limiting and controlling yeast triggers (like the use of antibiotics, birth control pills mentioned above), strengthening overall health, controlling diabetes (a Kapha dominated disorder), and balancing the Kapha and Pitta doshas.
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High Kapha and low agni are likely causes of a chronic yeast infection. These need to be addressed by treating the dysfunctional digestive system and changing the diet.
It is best to follow a diet that is Pitta-soothing, but not Kapha-provoking.
Regular exercise is also very beneficial to keep Kapha in balance. You need to, however, keep yourself well hydrated and avoid exercising when the weather is hot and/or humid.
Local washing with triphala tea is beneficial. No douching is to be done.
Herbs like triphala, manjistha, neem, ashoka, vidanga and musta are useful and can be used after due consultation with an Ayurvedic practitioner. They help to make the vaginal mucosa stronger and also balance Kapha and Pitta.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this document may be viewed as the diagnosis or treatment of any medical disease whatsoever. The contents of this document are the opinions of the author based on his learning and experience.
Please consult your primary care physician before implementing any change in your diet or lifestyle. Please consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner before trying the yeast infection treatments mentioned in this article.
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