Candida, the yeast that causes thrush and vaginal yeast infections, is a naturally occurring substance that is found in the mouth and other mucus membranes. This yeast, harmless when maintained in a balanced state along with other necessary bacteria can lead to infections if growth is uncontrolled. This imbalanced state, which often occurs when the immune system is weak, can lead to thrush and vaginal yeast infections.
Thrush occurs when Candida in the body flourishes out of control. The overuse of antibiotics, pregnancy, or other illness may lead to an overabundance of candida, causing thrush. There are several ways that thrush is commonly spread. Newborns may become infected with it if the mother had a yeast infection during birth. These symptoms usually become apparent after 7-10 days. Because the immune system of a newborn is not yet fully developed and a healthy balance of bacteria and fungus has not been achieved in the mouth, thrush can become an ongoing problem. Often those infected will experience white patches in the mouth that may bleed if aggravated; however, some cases of thrush present no symptoms. A sore mouth may also be prevalent, with infected babies showing resistance to eating. Babies may develop diaper rash as the yeast is passed through the infant’s stool. Mothers who breast-feed may also experience unusually red and sore nipples from the infection.
An abundance of candida may also cause vaginitis, commonly known as a yeast infection. Ordinary indications of a yeast infection are vaginal itching, a white discharge, sensitive skin at the vaginal opening and pain during urination or intercourse. This is especially common in women who are pregnant or taking antibiotics. Women using contraceptives with a high estrogen level are also more susceptible to yeast infections. Because the same yeast that causes vaginal yeast infections is responsible for thrush, it can also be spread by oral sex.
Over the counter and prescription medications are available for both thrush and vaginal yeast infections; however there are numerous natural remedies that promote the return of candida levels in the body to healthy levels. Natural remedies are typically less expensive and chemical-free. One herb that has been been of interest is pau d’arco.
Also known as lapacho colorado, the bark of the pau d’arco tree has been used for hundreds of years to in its native South America. Indigenous groups in Argentina and Paraguay have long known of its value and ability to fight infections such as ringworm and yeast infections. This herb was reportedly used extensively by the Incas to support good health and has been shown effective for internal conditions. Not only has this herb been used to effectively combat harmful organisms, it has also shown great ability to destroy harmful fungus. It is these properties that make it useful for thrush and vaginal yeast infections.
Pau d’arco oil can be applied directly to combat vaginal yeast infections. Essential pau d’arco oil can be applied with a towel or put on a panty liner so that the infected area comes into contact with the oil. Pau d’arco is generally marketed as a tea in the United States. It is also available in capsule form; however, it is necessary to carefully monitor the ingestion of this powerful herb as large amounts may case side effects such as nausea, excessive bleeding, and vomiting.
In order to restrict the spread of infection caused by overgrowth of candida, frequently wash hands and wash all clothes that come in contact with the yeast. Good oral hygiene, including daily teeth brushing and flossing as well as using an antiseptic mouthwash, is a must. If thrush has developed, discard and replace any and all infected toothbrushes. To prevent the occurrence of a vaginal yeast infection, it is a good idea to wear loose fitting clothing and do not wear wet clothing swimsuits for extended periods of time. Additionally, maintaining a healthy diet and limiting the use of antibiotics will encourage a balanced level of candida in the body and control the occurrence and severity of these infections.