Ah, the dreaded vaginal yeast infection. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 75 percent of all women will have one at some point during their lives, and nearly half of those women will have two or more. But what causes this most uncomfortable of conditions? The answer may surprise you.
The majority of all vaginal yeast infections are caused by a microscopic yeast organism called Candida albicans. Although naturally present in a healthy vagina, Candida albicans can cause problems when certain factors—such as stress, antibiotic use, a high-sugar diet, illness and hormonal changes—upset the healthy balance of good and bad bacteria in the vagina and allow the opportunistic yeast to grow out of control. When that happens, it can cause uncomfortable symptoms such as itching and irritation, vaginal discharge, painful urination, and more.
Because Candida albicans thrives on sugary, processed foods, preventing vaginal yeast overgrowth begins with following a healthy, low-sugar diet. Increasing your fiber intake through foods and natural fiber supplements is also recommended, as fiber helps to nourish the beneficial vaginal bacteria (called probiotics) that work to crowd out harmful yeast organisms. Finally, taking a daily probiotic supplement with a high Lactobacilli count can help maintain a balanced internal environment, since Lactobacilli are the most prevalent good bacteria in a healthy vagina and urinary tract.
Want to learn more about controlling yeast overgrowth naturally? Get advice from natural health expert Brenda Watson!