Yeast, otherwise known as Candida albicans, is a fungus that inhabits the gastrointestinal tract and vagina. When yeast levels are balanced, the body functions optimally; however, when yeast levels are disrupted, infection can occur.
Yeast overgrowth can result in a vaginal yeast infection and, less commonly, in an oral thrush infection. A combination of diet, lifestyle, and supplementation with a quality, multi-strain probiotic can ensure that these embarrassing infections are kept at bay.
Causes of yeast overgrowth
Yeast levels in the body can become out of balance for many reasons, including:
- antibiotic use
- a weakened immune system
- uncontrolled diabetes
- high blood sugar
Vaginal yeast infections
According to Mayo Clinic online, as many as three out of four women will experience a vaginal yeast infection—many will have several. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include itching, burning, and redness of the vaginal opening as well as a thick white discharge.
Anyone who’s had a vaginal yeast infection knows how uncomfortable and embarrassing they can be. However, there are several natural strategies for preventing this potentially nasty fungus from taking over.
- Avoid douching, using scented tampon or pads, bathing using bubble bath, or using feminine hygiene sprays.
- Wear only cotton underwear; avoid wearing tight undergarments and pants or skirts.
- Do not linger in wet clothes after swimming or working out.
- Avoid hot tubs.
- Avoid eating too much sugar.
In addition, probiotics (especially lactobacillus strains) have been shown to prevent yeast infections and even stop candida in its tracks.
Yeast overgrowth in the body can show up as another embarrassing condition: oral thrush. Though most common in babies, oral thrush can affect adults too when their immune systems are weak.
Symptoms of oral thrust include the following:
- white, creamy lesions on the tongue and lining of the mouth
- pain and occasional bleeding of lesions
- dry, cracked lips
- dry mouth
- loss of taste
To prevent oral thrush, visit the dentist regularly, avoid consuming large amounts of sugar, and eat yogourt with active bacteria cultures.
Oral thrush also responds to probiotic supplementation. A 2007 study of 276 elderly people showed that probiotics reduced the risk of oral yeast overgrowth by 75 percent, proving its efficacy against oral thrush. Probiotic supplementation is especially important after taking antibiotics.
To get the yeast-fighting (as well as digestive and immune-boosting) benefits of probiotics, choose a multi-strain, enteric-coated probiotic supplement.