Bothered by recurring yeast infections in the mouth, throat, vagina, intestines or anus? Well, the good news is that several nontoxic home remedies, along with diet changes, can inhibit growth of Candida, the fungal culprit in the common yeast infections (candidiasis or thrush) ranging from annoying to life-threatening for PWAs.
For mild cases, suppositories, creams or lozenges may help some. For severe or persistent infections, Diflucan can be effective, though expensive; Sporanox less so. But long-term prophylactic use of these agents risks fungal resistance rendering the drugs unusable in case of a later infection.
Even with drug treatment, many physicians urge repopulating the intestinal tract with "good bacteria" (probiotics) that control the fungus. One approach is daily consumption of yogurt containing live cultures. One study found a daily cup of yogurt led to a threefold decrease in recurrent vaginal candidiasis. Another method is taking probiotics such as Lactobacillus acidophilus or L. bulgaris (two to four capsules daily for about a month). These measures are also key preventive tools for anyone taking antibiotics (especially prophylactically), since those drugs wipe out the intestine's probiotics, often provoking Candida overgrowth.
A cornerstone of the protocol used by Kamau Kokayi, a Brooklyn physician, is eliminating -- or at least greatly reducing -- dietary sugar intake. This is key for both prevention and treatment, as animal tests show that Candida grows dramatically in the presence of sugar.
During an acute infection, this means foregoing even "natural" sugar sources, such as honey, fruit and fruit juices; long-term, it's enough to simply avoid refined sugar and foods with it. Nutritionists advise a diet emphasizing vegetables, protein and moderate amounts of fat and sufficient whole grains to avoid weight loss.
Kokayi also finds his patients benefit by using combinations of herbs such as pau d'arco (a tree bark), oregano extract and garlic. Other practitioners consider grapefruit-seed extract a powerful treatment and prophylaxis, which can be shored up with mathake or ginger teas, vitamin C and caprylic acid.
When Ted Hershey developed resistance to Diflucan, he started taking ten garlic capsules daily and drinking pau d'arco tea to control thrush. "These two treatments really turned around my yeast infection."
Any self-medication for serious or persistent conditions should be done in consultation with a qualified health practitioner. Send your home remedies to POZ Partner, 349 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014.