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Bummed Out By The Yeastie Beasties?

Did you know you’re basically made of bacteria? Yup, and this is a good thing. Because that bacteria does a whole lot for you, from breaking down your food, to guarding your vagina like it’s the entrance to Nirvana (and hey, maybe it is).

You're Made of Bacteria

Bacteria that is guarding you...

Guarding from what you ask?

Well, from bad guys. Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by yeast; there are a whole lot of different types of candida, but the main bad guy is Candida Albicans.

We often think of yeast overgrowth as occurring in the gut or mouth, where it’s known as thrush. But, Candidiasis also occurs in the vagina, and we know it as yeast infection. There are a whole load of technical names for it - candidal vaginitis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, or vaginal candidiasis - or there’s the classic slang, ‘ricotty-botty’.

If you’ve ever had one you’ll know why; itchy, unpleasantly cheesy discharge.

Good Bacteria versus Bad Bacteria

Before you freak out, let’s return to our bacteria buddies. The main bacteria in our vagina is from the lactobacillus family. This bacteria produces lactic acid which helps maintain the vagina’s acidic pH levels (3.5 - 4.5). This is way more than just maintenance, this is the way in which it protects us. The acidic environment keeps other bacteria, and yeast, from moving in on a healthy vagina.

Unfortunately a lot of things can mess up the microbiome and thus the pH of the vagina; things like hormone changes, immune system changes, or even antibiotic use. This makes the vagina more alkaline and bacterial infections can arise. If your discharge is white, thick and sweet smelling, the culprit is most likely yeast or Candida infection.

Top 5 Tips to Kick Candida to the Curb

What you really want to know is...what the hell do I do to make sure this doesn’t happen? Well, here are our top five tips for kicking Candida to the curb -

✔️ Avoid sugar - yeast thrives on it, so ditch the soda, sweeties and artificial sweeteners.

✔️ Processed carbs - because they’re full of sugar too and often a whole lot of other stuff which isn’t great for the gut, which in turn affects the vagina.

✔️ Alcohol - again, it’s full of sugar and not great for the gut.

✔️ Taking a good daily probiotic with high levels of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium helps put good bacteria back into the body and improves the microbiome.

✔️ Read this great article on our other tips for keeping your vagina happy and healthy.

Remember, if you are using estrogen, it can increase glycogen production which yeast will thrive on. The vagina has many hormone sensitive receptors, which is why a woman’s risk of getting a yeast infection increases during times of hormone fluctuations. Estrogen levels drop as you go through menopause and then, if you’ve started to use a little estriol to help with vaginal dryness, it is not uncommon to stimulate more yeast production at first. If this happens, step down the use of estriol to once every other day to give the vagina time to adapt.