There are a lot of various pharmaceutical and natural medications on the market to treat yeast infections which are commonly known as thrush. These products are often prescribed by a doctor or in some countries can be bought over the counter at pharmacies or supermarkets.
Yeast infections are most commonly caused by Candida albicans which is a microorgamism belonging to the kingdom Fungi. Other species of yeast have also been identified as the causative agent in some yeast infections. The most notable of these is Candida glabrata because it is more resistant than Candida albicans to anti-yeast medications and this can be a problem when using certain treatments.
Yeast can cause infections in the vagina and the surrounding genital area of females; in the mouth; on the skin in areas such as the groin, under the breasts, under the arms and on other moist sweaty areas of the body; on the genital area of males; on the nappy area of babies; and in the nail folds.
Because the symptoms of yeast infection are so typical, sufferers of yeast infections often self diagnose and self medicate. The risk here is that the infection will be incorrectly diagnosed and treated. There are a number of different infections which may mimic a yeast infection and these will require alternative treatments. In actual fact, the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology in 2002, reported a study where only 33% of woman who were self treating for vaginal thrush actually had a yeast infection. All the rest were infected by other pathogens which needed alternative medication.
The self treatment of yeast infections has also lead to commercial advertising of anti-yeast products available to purchase from pharmacies and supermarkets, and so commercialism has has lead to a revolution in the self management of thrush symptoms. This may not be so bad if the sufferer is well educated in the facts about yeast infection, but it may not always be the best thing if the person who suffers from the recurrent yeast symptoms is uninformed and mislead.
Some of the pharmaceutical medications available over the counter or on prescription by a doctor to treat yeast infections include:
– Fluconazole (Diflucan), available in oral form
– Clotrimazole (Canesten), available as a topical cream and pessaries
– Miconazole (Monistat), available as a cream
– Amphotericin B, available in oral form by prescription only
– Nystatin (Fungicidin), available as a cream
– VagiCare, available as a pessary
– Threelac or Fivelac
– Formula SF722 by Thorne Research, available as a formula
These pharmaceutical anti-yeast medications are the first line of attack when a patient has a yeast infection. The problem with using these drugs is that they cure the symptoms of the initial yeast overgrowth quite quickly but do not attack the cause. A lot of sufferers find that the symptoms reoccur once the prescribed course has finished. Many people go on to develop recurrent thrush which is both debilitating and embarrassing.
Pharmaceutical medications need to be used as instructed, and in the prescribed dose. If it is not used correctly there is a possibility of mutation where the yeast may become resistant to the drug being used. This in turn results in the drug being ineffective against the strain of yeast causing the infection. This can also occur if the treatment is used too often. In order to prevent mutation from occurring it is important to rotate yeast medications regularly to minimize the exposure of yeast to the same medication and thus the development of resistant strains.
Another problem with the use of pharmaceutical medications is that a few people can develop a reaction or an allergy to the creams over the course of time. It is always important to read the instruction sheet prior to using any new medication. And they are also costly.
Many sufferers of recurrent yeast infections have turned away from using pharmaceutical preparations because they are concerned about the effects of their frequent use. A large number of frequent yeast sufferers are now using natural remedies. Natural anti-yeast medications include a number of natural products including:
– Bacterial Probiotics (Lactobacillus, Acidophilus and Bifidobacteria), available in capsules or in yoghurt
– Yeast Probiotics (Saccharomyces), available in capsules or as bakers yeast
– Caprylic Acid, available in liquid form
– Olive Leaf Extract, available as a powder
– Oregano Oil, available in liquid form
– Grape Fruit Seed Extract (GSE), available as an extract
– Black Walnut, available as an extract
– Apple Cider Vinegar, available in liquid form
– Garlic, ingest raw cloves or use as a suppository
– Raw Honey, in liquid form
– Tea Tree Oil, use topically or as a suppository
– Hydrogen Peroxide, this can be bought in a concentrated solution which must be diluted before using on the skin or as a douche.
– Boric Acid, available as suppository in capsular form (Caution: it is toxic if ingested)
– Iodine. effective as a douche, a gargle or topically
– Mycopryl, available in tablet form
– Aloe Vera Juice, available in liquid form
– Concentrated Cranberry, available in juice or tablets
– Colloidal Silver, available in capsules
– Gentian Violet, available in liquid form
The benefit of using these natural medications is that they are cheap, readily available and can be used in any combination. This allows for the rotation of medications so that resistance to the natural medication does not develop. Because the medications are natural they are safe to use with very few side effects.
It is important to have a holistic approach to treating yeast infections so the other important consideration when treating recurrent yeast infections is diet. It is estimated that approximately 80% of recurrent yeast infections are affected by diet. It is important therefore to make dietary changes when treating recurrent yeast infections. Some dietary changes to consider are:
– Reducing the amount of sugar and refined foods
– Eliminating foods containing yeast or yeast products
– Eating foods which are known to have an anti-yeast effect
– Drinking lots of water
– Increasing fibre intake
– Taking vitamins and other supplements
So the confusing thing for most people is what is the best way to go when treating recurrent thrush? Is pharmaceutical or natural medication best? A holistic approach is really the answer. It is advisable to initially obtain an accurate diagnosis by visiting a doctor. Then use the medication as prescribed by the doctor. If the symptoms reoccur then it is important to become familiar with your own body – know the triggers and symptoms associated with your yeast infection. A little bit of research is required to learn more about natural remedies and dietary changes which you can use to get rid of your yeast infection forever. See a doctor if your symptoms either change or get worse, or if you develop other health conditions. That way you can best decide what the best approach is to treat your yeast infection.