What and Why?
Because of its location in your body, your vagina has to work hard to keep healthy. A certain amount of inoffensive discharge is normal and healthy, and the transition into something less wholesome is easy to spot. You cannot expect to eradicate the microbes that get there. They are not infections from outside, but accustomed inhabitants of your bowel and skin. In health you achieve a balance with them. Some of the bacteria that colonize the vagina are friendly, whereas fungal infections such as thrush can be a serious nuisance. Fortunately these two microbes are directly antagonistic to each other, so you ally yourself to the bacteria and let them control the fungi for you.
Under any kind of stress, particularly in diabetes and pregnancy, this arrangement breaks down. Even in good health, preventative antibiotic treatment can kill off your bacterial allies indiscriminately, opening you up to fungal nuisance. Accidental consumption of small doses of antibiotics, present in any flesh-based food you regularly consume, may also open you up to antibiotic resistant bacteria, some of which thrive in the absence of air which results in an offensive body odour.
Any stubborn vaginal discharge heavy enough to make you wear protection, that is accompanied by pain or body odour, or that itches severely, is well worth consulting a doctor about. If tests reveal no recognizable bacterial infection that your doctor is able to treat effectively, you had better adopt these measures on your own account.
What can I do?
Advice to maintain and maximise your health
- Consult your doctor about antifungal treatment, if thrush persists or recurs frequently.
- Eat two or three cartons daily of live yoghurt. Prove it is not stale by culturing a teaspoonful in some milk in the warm — it will go to yoghurt in a few hours if your purchase was fresh. ‘Natural’ yoghurt may not be live.
- Support this with a healthy diet based on fresh raw vegetables and fruit, with whole-grain cereals, a little fresh sea fish if you desire it, and a few free-range eggs . Avoid meat. Take absolutely no sugar or refined flour, on which fungi thrive.
- Avoid the contraceptive pill if you can.
- Towards the end of each menstrual period, soak the first centimetre of an internal tampon in live yoghurt before you insert it. Do this several times. This gives the lactobacilli a head start to recolonise your vagina after your menstrual flow has ceased.
- A food-state Iron supplement sometimes helps women with a really stubborn thrush problem to solve it finally.
- A daily vinegar bath can finally tip things your way. Try douches of Cider Vinegar (two tablespoons per litre warm water), or warm Sitz baths containing a cupful of Cider Vinegar.