Articles, Blog

Yeast Infections – Tehseen Meghji, Naturopathic Doctor, Toronto, ON

August 18, 2019

Phil: Let’s talk about yeast infections.
First of all I’m actually interested – can women diagnose this themselves because there
could be a few different things that might like a yeast infection, right? Tehseen: Exactly. Ya, so generally it’s
not advisable to diagnose it yourself, although there are some tell-a-tale signs of a yeast
infection, it can be easily confused with other conditions such as bacterial vaginosis
or an STI, which is a sexually transmitted infection, as well as other bacterial origins
and things like that, so it’s really important, specifically for recurrent candida infections
or yeast infections to make sure that you’re diagnosing it correctly to prevent things
from reoccurring as well. Phil: Okay so that’s when they can come
in to see you and you can fairly easily figure out which one it is, or is it a challenge? Tehseen: Ya, so it’s definitely a detailed
history. A lot of time it’s important for me if I’m unsure to send them and refer
them to their medical doctor as well to get a pap test done and a swab. So the vaginal
swab will give us a clear-cut answer for what organisms are in the vaginal canal. So candida
is normal in all women and most women will have that in their vaginal flora, and it’s
when it becomes out of balance that we get infections. So a lot of times if the vaginal
swab comes back with that, I’ll have a good idea that okay, that’s a possibility. But
you do need the signs and symptoms to know, too, because sometimes the swab will be positive,
but there may not be signs and symptoms, because it’s part of the normal flora as well. Phil: Okay, so what do you do when you have
diagnosed a yeast infection. What can they do about it? Tehseen: So there’s lots that you can do.
At home, basically they can follow a low sugar diet, low carbohydrate diet, because sugar
feeds yeast, so that’s one of the main things to be aware of when you have yeast infections,
especially recurring yeast infections. So following an anti-candida diet for a short
time… Phil: How long? Tehseen: So anti-candida diet is very restrictive,
so this is something that I usually recommend to my patients for acute symptoms, when they’re
actually experiencing the symptoms, that can be really helpful, but on a day to day basis,
avoiding sugar is usually the best benefit. And the reason why sugar is usually the best
benefit is because sugar depresses the immune system. So a lot of times there’s a candida
overgrowth because your immune system is not strong enough, and you don’t have enough
of the good bacteria to offset the candida, and that’s why it overgrows. So making sure
that you’re immune system is strong, and not feeding the candida with sugar, is going
to help with that. So dietary changes are really important for something that they can
do at home, as well as avoiding things that are synthetic origin, so making sure that
you’re wearing cotton underwear and favoring unfragrant soaps and pads over tampons and
things like that – natural cotton pads are better. So avoiding anything that going to
irritate the area and cause it to increase the risk of an infection. Phil: Okay, and on top of that what would
you do to really help them overcome this? Tehseen: For sure, when people come in with
yeast infections, usually some of the things that I will recommend are having garlic in
the diet because that’s antifungal – that’s something dietary, but there’s much more
that you can do botanically, with different botanical herbs. There’s a bunch of suppositories
if indicated that can be helpful in treating acute conditions. So these are the things
that you use for an acute condition, but as a naturopathic doctor I wanna see what’s
causing it to being with? Why does somebody continue to have yeast infections? Most women
– about 75% of women – will have a yeast infection once in their life. Is that something to be
overly concerned about? Probably not. But if it’s reoccurring over and over and over
again, this is something that can signal immune dysfunction, hormonal imbalances, digestive
issues – a lot of times digestion is very correlated with vaginal yeast infections because
there may be excess candida in the digestive tract. So depending on where we’re looking,
we’re gonna treat that root cause. So making sure that they have the tools and the knowledge
to work with that on a daily basis so that it’s not continuing to recur. Probiotics
are something I definitely will always recommend, but it’s important they’re getting the
right type of probiotics, so there’s so many different strains of probiotics, and
that’s our good bacteria, but there’s different ones that have been researched to
be more effective in yeast infections versus some other type of infection, so educating
my patients on which probiotics they would need, and using them both orally and vaginally
sometimes is important. So it depends on where we’re at and going through the history and
determining what is best. Phil: And they can expect – is it something
you feel pretty confident that you can help get rid of recurring yeast infections? Tehseen: For sure. So the good thing about
natural therapies or naturopathic approaches compared to something say over the counter,
antifungal medications which are a prescription, or something like Monostat which you can buy
over the counter – the natural therapies actually work against the resistant strains, so a lot
of times – and they don’t have many side effects – and a lot of times the conventional
treatment, the prescription drugs will have side effects, although they are effective,
they’ll have side effects that most people are not wanting, and it can be hard on the
liver as well. Phil: And wouldn’t most of the prescriptions
be more focused on just killing the yeast instead of changing the environment? Tehseen: Exactly. Ya, so that’s exactly
it, so it’s working on a symptom basis more so, and they’re not always effective against
the resistant strains. So with naturopathic support, you’re doing the symptom approach
to because you want to get rid of it – it’s not comfortable – so you want to get rid of
it, but then at the end we’re looking at making sure it’s not recurring again. So
not only treating on a surface level – finding out where that disfunction is in the body
that’s continually making the person susceptible to having them over and over and over again,
and that’s where I think naturopathic medicine really excels for yeast infections.

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