Vaginal thrush is caused by an overgrowth of candida, a yeast that commonly lives in the human gut. Normally, it’s in balance with other microorganisms, and causes no problems; but when conditions change and it multiplies rapidly, candida can start affecting other parts of the body, creating symptoms like thrush. An acidic environment, caused by any combination of excessive sugars, high stress levels and antibiotics, triggers candida overgrowth, allowing it to thrive at the expense of a number of important dietary functions, and produce a multitude of symptoms. About 2 in 5 women have candida in the vagina without it causing any symptoms. It’s speculated that 80 per cent to 90 per cent of the population – women, men and children – is effected by candida or a systemic yeast infection. Click on the questions below:
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Attacks of vaginal thrush are very common. Most women have had at least one attack by their mid 20s. Thrush is not a dangerous infection but is a warning that you need to make changes in your diet. It’s very uncomfortable and can wreck your sex life; however the acidic state your body’s in may also be allowing other pathogens to grow creating more acid within vaginal thrush waste, leading to further illness and disease. The most common symptoms of thrush are itching and/or soreness around the entrance of the vagina (vulva). The soreness means that you have a stinging sensation when you pass urine and that sex is uncomfortable. You may also notice:
- A thick, whitish vaginal discharge (like cottage cheese), or a watery vaginal discharge. This discharge does not smell unpleasant.
- The vulva area looks red and there may be cracks in the skin, often the vaginal lips (labia) are swollen.
- Fishy smell after sex.
The cause of thrush is acidosis. If the body had no levels of acid, you wouldn’t be able to grow any bacteria in the body – it’s just not biologically possible. Hormones are secreted in the vagina and the friendly vaginal bacteria keeps yeast at bay. Problems arise when this natural balance is upset, and candida multiplies and spreads. Below is a list of the main contributors to thrush and an overgrowth of candida in your intestines. Without these it wouldn’t be able to grow to a noticeable state. Symptoms can start from:
Taking antibiotics (because these kill both the good and bad bacteria).
Acidosis – too much acid in the diet creates a perfect environment for anaerobic microorganisms to flourish and spread around the body.
Diabetes – especially if your blood sugar levels are consistently too high, which feeds yeast encouraging growth.
Wearing tight, non-porous underwear, such as nylon knickers and tights (because candida thrives in warm, moist conditions).
Soreness of the vulva or vagina – particularly if you scratch during intercourse (damaged tissue is more susceptible to yeast infections).
Being ill for any reason – this lowers your immune system.
Taking any drugs such as steroids – these lower the body’s resistance to infection.
Diet and hormone changes during pregnancy – but thrush is less likely during breastfeeding.
Prevent thrush symptoms by using pH Plus to oxidise and alkalise your body and maintain a balanced pH level.
It’s very difficult to know if thrush is the cause of your problem without having a test because these symptoms can also occur in other types of infections. For example, an infection in the bladder (cystitis) will also cause stinging when you pass urine. Various infections can cause vaginal discharge or soreness of the vulva and some skin diseases (which are not infections) can cause vaginal itching. Researchers found from a survey that only 33 per cent of woman had thrush as their sole problem. Another 20 per cent had thrush as well as different infections that needed different treatments, such as bacterial vaginosis and trichomoniasis.
Antibiotics are usually used to treat infections caused by bacteria. They do not work against other organisms such as fungi or infectious agents such as viruses. It’s important to bear this in mind if you think you have some sort of infection because many common illnesses, particularly of the upper respiratory tract such as the common cold and sore throats, are usually caused by viruses. Overuse of antibiotics can lead to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics so it’s important to only take them when necessary. Some antibiotics such as penicillin are ‘bactericidal’ meaning that they work by killing bacteria. They do this by interfering with the formation of the cell walls or cell contents. Other antibiotics are ‘bacteriostatic’, meaning that they work by stopping bacteria multiplying. The most common side effects with antibiotic drugs are diarrhoea, feeling sick and being sick. Fungal infections (candida) of the mouth, digestive tract and vagina can also occur with antibiotics because they destroy the protective ‘good’ bacteria in the body (which help prevent overgrowth of any one organism) as well as the ‘bad’ ones responsible for the infection being treated. TELL YOUR DOCTOR OR PHARMACIST IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING BEFORE TAKING ANY ANTIBIOTICS.
A yeast infection is not limited to the vaginal area. It can be present in other parts of the body as well and cause various symptoms. Here is a list of where yeast infections can appear and what type of symptoms may occur:
• Vaginal yeast infection
Intense itching in the vaginal area, burning during urination and vaginal discharge are all common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection. This is what most people think of when they hear the words ‘yeast infection’. However, yeast can colonise anywhere in the body.
Gastrointestinal yeast infection
A yeast infection that is present in the gastrointestinal system will cause heartburn, bloating, diarrhoea or constipation.
An overgrowth of yeast in the body can cause a runny nose, facial pain, wheezing and sneezing.
Central nervous system
Yeast infections in the body can affect the central nervous system and cause depression, anxiety, memory deficits or loss of ability to concentrate.
Yeast infections can cause severe menstrual tension or PMS and menstrual irregularities. Mental and emotional effects include confusion, irritability, memory loss, inability to concentrate, depression, insomnia, learning disability and short attention span.
General systemic symptoms
A yeast infection can be systemic, which means all through your body. A systemic infection can cause fatigue, headaches or irritability.
A persistent itchy feeling around the anus can be caused by overgrown yeast travelling down from your colon.
By alkalising your body you can prevent thrush/candida symptoms. pH Plus is a great product to alkalise, maximising your immune system to prevent symptoms in all parts of the body.
Chronic effects of candida:
A severe overgrowth of candida can be affecting a lot more than you initially thought.
Multiple sclerosis, arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, myasthenia gravis, scleroderma, hemolytic anemia, sarcoidosis, thrombocytopenic purpura
Fatigue, lethargy, migraine headaches, weakness, dizziness, sensory disturbances, hypoglycemia, muscle pain, respiratory problems, and chemical sensitivities
Oral thrush, diarrhoea, constipation, rectal itching, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), flatulence, food sensitivities.
Yeast vaginitis, menstrual and premenstrual problems, bladder inflammation, chronic urinary tract infections (UTIs), bladder inflammation, cystitis, PMS.
Don’t treat the symptoms – treat the cause. Over-the-counter products are good for quick fixes; however, there are three underlying reasons why thrush keeps reoccurring.
High-sugar foods feed yeast causing it to multiply. Learn more
Without enough alkaline water the body can’t flush out toxins, creating a better breeding ground for candida to grow.
When your body is acidic there’s less oxygen in the body. This is a haven for anaerobic pathogens like yeast, mould and fungus. Thrush is often a warning you have an internal problem.
Candida is a symptom of acidosis, a sign your body’s not getting enough alkaline in your diet. Don’t treat the symptoms – treat the cause.
Why does thrush keep coming back?
The body goes to great lengths to create an alkaline environment to repair and rejuvenate more efficiently – but it can only work with the food and liquid ingested. When large amounts of acid-forming foods are ingested you’re fighting your natural body process to keep infection and illness down, helping pathogens, bacteria, fungus to overgrow and cause the above symptoms. Detoxing your body is the best way to increase the immune system response to fight vaginal thrush. For more information see our ph health detox page.
Higher levels of candida can also effect your hormone balance. This has been linked to causing cravings for sugar. As candida thrives on sugar it sends your body chemical signals to ‘bring us sugar!’ If you think you’re in control of your cravings, think again. However, when your body starts to respond to the positive changes you’re making, your cravings will diminish and may even disappear altogether! When you correctly treat candida, you’re correcting the other flora imbalances within your body as well. Healthy populations of the good flora are becoming established and will keep the bad flora at bay. What you do to reduce candida, this will also greatly reduce the populations of many other bacteria’s and pathogens (bad guys) at the same time.
Best of all – weight loss gets easier! Yep, as you reduce acidity within your body, your cells tend to let go of fat a lot easier! Your body was using fat cells as a form of defence against the body’s toxins, so as you remove the toxins your cells lower their defences and fewer fat cells are formed.