Judith Kaplan, CNM APRN
Yogurt on a Tampon
Listen, I understand the urgency:
I get calls for help at midnight, during holidays;
in fact an urgent call this Christmas eve inspired
today’s blog. She had tried probiotics and even
yogurt injected into the vagina.
Yeast infections can be extremely uncomfortable,
with a constant intense itch combined with sharp pain.
As the second most common vaginal infection following
Bacterial Vaginosis, there are a lot of women suffering with it. Imagine all of those smiling PTA moms, store clerks, friends at the gym- smiling bravely through the agony of yeast.
Is there ever a convenient time for a yeast infection? It can strike at any time, especially if you are under stress – and who is not under stress in our modern lifestyle or during the holidays? Stress can cause inflammation, and lower your natural immunity.
Actually, vaginal yeast is not an infection since fungi are an important part of the body’s normal microbiome, the delicate balance of microbes that keep us healthy and balanced. Problems exist only when there is an overgrowth of this normal flora. Yeast “infections” often flare up during stressful times, during pregnancy, during oral contraceptive use, after antibiotic use and also with pre-diabetes; all common conditions.
Although I am all about getting to the root cause of a problem and fixing things from the inside out, at times a more integrative approach can be very helpful even to long term healing. All of the natural treatments may be actually less effective in the middle of the yeast storm. I often recommend a 3-pronged attack: 1- pharmaceutical cream or pill for immediate relief, 2- gut and vaginal reboot to jumpstart a deeper healing, and 3- long-term strategic plan to balance your immunity and gut flora in order and prevent flare-ups in the future.
And there will be flare-ups in the future if the root cause is not addressed. Since yeast is a part of your natural gut flora, it can’t just be eradicated once and for all like bacteria with antibiotic. Yeast simply has to be kept from growing out of control by correcting the imbalances that allowed it to overgrow, or else the infection will return in all of its pricky-itchy glory. And return again. And again.
But you don’t want to just keep using pharmaceutical anti-fungal creams every month or two, because the creams can further disturb the delicate vaginal microbiome. Anyway, all that gooey cream dripping out of your private parts is unpleasant.
Therefore, if you chose to use pharmaceutical anti-fungal cream or pill for temporary relief, it is essential to start planning for long term self care practices to stop the vicious cycle. This would start with a good quality oral probiotic from 20-40 billion CFUS for at least 3 months and to use vaginal probiotics from the lactobacillus strains. But this also is just a temporary fix. The vaginal yeast is a red flag that you have an overall imbalance and inflammation that could affect your health in worse ways. This requires long term planning to fix, and includes finding the triggers in your lifestyle and correcting them. A short term gut reboot is a good way to start the long term strategy.
But if you are desperate, you can get immediate temporary relief with a 7-day over-the-counter vaginal cream available at the closest 24 hour pharmacy. You might want to also purchase a sitz bath in case the cream causes burning, in which case and witch hazel or aloe soak might help. Or to insert yogurt in the vagina on a tampon. Another option is to get a prescription for a stronger anti-fungal cream like Nystatin, and one-time oral anti-fungal like Diflucan. This will give you a short period of respite to start the long term reboot of your vaginal and gut microbiome.
Hoping this helps,