Yeast infection generally only causes local symptoms, but is better understood as a whole-body illness. The common yeast Candida albicans is responsible for most infections. Symptoms of yeast infection include itching, irritation, a white discharge from the infected area and rash.
Prescription and over-the-counter antifungal medications can treat yeast infections. Vaginal infections can be effectively remedied using over-the-counter antifungal ointments such as Monistat or Vagistat. These products contain the active ingredients miconazole and tioconazole, two powerful antifungal medications.
For systemic yeast infections, the prescription drug Nystatin is an effective treatment option. It is available in oral and topical preparations and generally causes fewer side effects than other common antifungals such as fluconazole and amphotericin B, which are usually reserved for more serious infections.
Caprylic acid supplements are an extremely effective internal treatment for yeast infection. According to fungusfocus.com, caprylic acid is often chosen over the oral antifungal medication Nystatin by doctors for treating systemic yeast overgrowth and local infection. Probiotic supplements work well for keeping yeast infections at bay and are recommended as a followup to antibiotic treatments to restore bacterial balance in the intestines.
Another option for treating yeast internally is garlic supplements. Garlic contains the antifungal compound allicin, which inhibits the growth of yeast and kills off existing Candida organisms. Because of their close relation to garlic, onions are also an effective remedy for yeast. Both can be taken in supplement form or added to food for their healing benefits.
Tea tree oil is another potent yeast killer. A diluted solution containing 1 or 2 drops of tea tree oil in a carrier such as olive oil can help fight infection externally. Tea tree oil can cause irritation when applied in strong concentrations, so always use a diluting agent and avoid using on extra-sensitive areas.
Diet & Lifestyle
The role of diet, stress and other lifestyle factors is often underestimated when it comes to treating yeast infection. A diet high in sugar, alcohol and yeast provides the perfect environment for Candida to flourish, as do excessive caffeine intake and smoking. Avoiding these substances is important, especially during acute infection.
Because yeast cannot multiply when the immune system is functioning properly, avoiding stress and other immune suppressors can help during a yeast infection. Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation daily, and aim for 8 hours of sleep each night, as sleep is a vital rejuvenation period for the immune system.
The most effective way to prevent yeast infections is through proper hygiene and other healthy practices. Wear loose-fitting undergarments and underwear with a white cotton crotch, and avoid using scented products on the genital area. Remove bathing suits and other wet clothing as soon as possible, and always wash thoroughly after intercourse.
Antibiotics and medications containing hormones are among the top causes of yeast overgrowth. Follow courses of antibiotics with probiotic supplements to restore balance to the intestinal tract, and be aware of diet and other lifestyle choices, if you’re on birth control.