Is vaginal yeast infection or thrush caused by eating sugar?
Do natural home treatments like yogurt or garlic treat vaginal yeast infection symptoms?
This Physical Therapy video helps you gain immediate and long-term relief from vaginal yeast infection. You’ll also learn the potentially dangerous thrush home remedies to avoid.
Vaginal Yeast Infection Treatment Timestamps
1:09 Vaginal yeast infection symptoms
1:30 Immediate symptom relief OTC remedies
2:37 Natural yeast infection treatments that don’t work
4:36 Effective vaginal yeast infection treatment
7:13 Time for thrush symptoms to stop
7:20 Recurrent yeast infection management
Vaginal Yeast Infection
Yeast is a single cell organism that can only be seen under the microscope. Many different types of yeast live normally on the skin, inside the bowel and vagina of some women. These microorganisms usually live in harmony and balance with other microorganisms including fungi and bacteria without causing any problems.
Vaginal yeast overgrowth can occur when this balance is disrupted causing a range of pelvic symptoms.
Typical Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infection
Vaginal yeast infection symptoms include:
- Vaginal itch
- Burning sensation
- Vaginal dryness
- Pain during intimacy
Contrary to common belief, a thick white thick vaginal discharge is not a definite sign of a vaginal yeast infection.
Causes of Vaginal Yeast Infection and Myths
Some of the scientifically backed theories about potential causes of yeast infection include:
- Taking antibiotics that kill helpful bacteria in the vagina and upset the microbial balance
- High sugar levels in urine resulting from diabetes or kidney damage, not from eating sugar
- High estrogen levels for example just before menstruation, during pregnancy or HRT therapy
- Smoking cigarettes or cannabis
- Clothing that traps moisture including latex or waterproof incontinence underwear and pads or panty liners that trap moisture
Diet Myths and Yeast Infection
There are a number of diet myths related to the causes of vaginal yeast infection. These diet myths include:
There is no truth to the notion of sugar in the diet causing Candida infection. The Candida diet which eliminates sugar on this premise is not scientifically proven. Sugar consumed in the diet is not released into the vagina.
Products made from yeast including bread, cakes, beer and wine do not cause thrush. The yeast in these products is not alive when consumed and the type of yeast used in these products is a different type of yeast that causes vaginal yeast infection (Candida Albicans).
Yeast Infection Home Treatment Myths
Some natural home yeast infection treatments are unproven and potentially dangerous.
- The Candida Diet lacks scientific evidence. Consuming sugar does not increase sugar inside the vagina.
- Garlic is a known antifungal treatment however crushed or sliced garlic will burn the tissues inside the vagina.
- Tea tree oil has no scientific supporting evidence for treating vaginal yeast infection. Furthermore, tea tree oil can cause irritation and allergic reaction in the vaginal tissues.
- Yogurt may feel soothing however yogurt doesn’t contain the correct strains of bacteria for vaginal health and will not cure yeast infection.
Immediate Relief from Vaginal Yeast Infection
There are 2 types of over the counter medications that can give fast symptom relief:
- Antihistamines such as Zyrtec can quickly reduce itching
- Topical steroid cream (soft) with 1% hydrocortisone applied externally only on the vulva can reduce swelling, redness and itching.
Best Vaginal Yeast Infection Antifungal Treatments
The most common form of yeast infection results from a yeast called Candida Albicans which causes approximately 90% of vaginal yeast infections. There are two forms of over the counter antifungal medications used to treat this condition:
- Topical cream or pessary
- Oral tablet
Both forms of treatment are equally effective for treating Candida Albicans overgrowth.
Benefits of the topical creams is that they act locally in the vagina rather than affecting yeast in the bowel and they don’t cause nausea that the oral medication can cause some women. Some women find that topical creams cause burning sensation when applied.
Topical over the counter medications are a class of drugs known as azoles such as Clotrimazole (for example Canestan) which is available as a 1, 3 or 7 day medication.
Oral antifungal medication is Fluconazole (Diflucan) where 1 dose is usually used to treat mild to moderate yeast infections. These oral antifungal drugs can interact with other medications and may have other effects on some of the body systems which is why it’s important to check with your doctor or pharmacist first before taking them.
How Long for Thrush Symptoms to Ease
Symptoms of vaginal yeast infection usually start to ease within 3 days of commencing appropriate antifungal treatment however it can take up to one week for symptoms to fully resolve.
Recurrent Vaginal Yeast Infection
Sometimes antifungal medications are not effective. In this case see your doctor and possibly referral to a medical specialist.
Your doctor may perform a swab test to test for Candida by sending the swab sample to the lab to identify the type of yeast infection.
It’s possible that vaginal symptoms like vaginal itch and burning sensation are not caused by a vaginal yeast infection or that the yeast is a different type to that treated by regular antifungal medications (i.e. Candida Albicans).
Some women have recurrent yeast infections which can be caused by contraceptive devices such as IUD’s, low iron and other coexisting medical conditions.
Gunter, J. (2019) The Vagina Bible, Piatkus Publications, Great Britain.