Part One gives a general overview of systemic yeast infections and a brief recounting of my experience.
Part Two offers some details on how I treated my systemic yeast infection at home without prescription medication. I’m not in a position to say this will work for everyone.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. I have no official medical training. When I get sick, or when someone close to me gets sick, I’m one of those people who reads everything I can find on the illness. Articles, books, web forums, medical journals…seriously, whatever I can find. This post and any that follow on the subject are simply my thoughts based on my experience.
I would also like to note that the pages I have linked to are a fraction of the pages I have looked at. I’m offering the ones I personally found the most helpful and informative, but they are by no means the only ones on which I’m basing my facts.
I’ve bolded the more important points about the subject for the scanners. 😀
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Once I was certain candida was at the root of my health problems I started out with home remedies that had worked for me in the past including apple cider vinegar, cranberry juice, garlic, and yogurt. These were the bottom-of-the-pit days and I felt depressed and frustrated and none of the home remedies seemed to be working. I was about to announce I was ready for a trip to the doctor when my mother-in-law suggested I try kefir and my sister-in-law introduced me to coconut oil.
I sat down one evening and did a bunch of reading on kefir and coconut oil. I talked to some people, gathering as much info as I could. I decided to put off the doctor’s visit for a week in favor of giving these new foods a try.
Kefir is a culture, much like yogurt but with a different set of bacteria and other flora in it. Unlike yogurt flora, which is transitory (it comes into your system, hangs out for a few days, then leaves), the organisms in kefir actively fight against bad organisms while setting up a long term colony. To read more about kefir and how it works, go here.
Recently coconut oil has been increasing exponentially in popularity. Honestly, when I first heard about it I dismissed it as another health food fad, but then I started to hear reports from people closer to me, and I began to wonder. When I actually sat down to learn about it, I was somewhat astounded to discover its history. In the specific case of candida, the fatty acids in coconut oil act as a strong antifungal. To read more about the health benefits of coconut oil and how it works, go here. Scroll down for the section on Candida.
When I started including kefir and coconut oil in my diet, I knew a lot of information but the bit where I should start out with a smaller amount and gradually work upwards was NOT one of the things I’d read. I figure I started out taking 3x the amount I should’ve, and thusly after 2 days of feeling incredible, almost unreal improvement I crashed so hard I couldn’t get out of bed. The Dearliest took to more researching and was the one to learn that yeast spores release toxins as they die. The spores were dying faster than my body could flush out the toxins, and so I got really sick.*
I gave my body two days to recover, and then the following became my daily routine:
To combat my “drinker” infection:
- 2x a day–diluted apple cider vinegar** (ACV) rub on drinkers
- 2x a day–yogurt or kefir rub on drinkers
- 2x a day–coconut oil rub on drinkers
I alternated through the list, making an application about every 2 hours. There was no need to wash before nursing (although I did rinse clean in between applications). As a bonus this treatment of me was also helpful in fighting Arc’s thrush.
To combat my internal/ systemic yeast infection (the first two weeks following the Day of Crashing):
- 1x a day–1 teaspoon ACV + 1 teaspoon honey in 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1x a day–1/2 cup yogurt
- 2x a day–1 Tablespoon of coconut oil (on toast, in oatmeal, etc.)
- 2x a day–1/2 cup kefir***
Every 3 days I doubled the intake of everything. As a bonus, the good stuff from the coconut oil and kefir went into my milk, which was extremely helpful in fighting Arc’s internal yeast infection.
During these 2 weeks I was very careful with my diet. Sugars and simple carbs are a feast to yeast, so I cut out sugar except for the honey in my cranberry juice and morning tea. Oh, and fruit. I ate fruit. I limited my simple carbs (potatoes, pasta, and homemade bread are staples in my life…this was hard). I also increased my iron-rich foods, because I was deficient and quite possibly anemic. On a whim I searched for a connection between iron deficiency and yeast infections and (go figure) there is one! I can’t seem find the link for the article that I particularly liked, but here’s another one that gives a good explanation.
After 2 weeks I definitely felt like my body had the upper hand. I still had a long ways to go, but improvement was steady and consistent. Every day I could tell I was getting better!
I gradually moved to a less aggressive approach, and by the 4 week mark my routine was the following:
- 2x a week–1 teaspoon ACV + 1 teaspoon honey in 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 2-3x a week (on days I did not have kefir)–1/2 cup yogurt
- 1x a day–1 Tablespoon of coconut oil
- 2-3x a week (on days I did not have yogurt)–1/2 cup kefir***
That remained the routine until I felt completely well, which was another 4 weeks or so. I continued the routine for another 2 weeks to be safe, since a yeast imbalance can still be present after all symptoms have disappeared
In addition to the above, I daily took: a prenatal supplement, two 1000mg garlic capsules (Arc didn’t like it when I ate fresh garlic), and 400IU vitamin D.
If there are any mothers who have little ones or are expecting to have little ones in the future, then you may be interested in how I treated Arc’s external yeast rash, which in the beginning covered most of his diaper area. He did go through two rounds of different prescription medications (one topically, one internally), and while they made a dent, neither one was successful in getting the yeast under control. I developed the following routine and within 3 days he became a much happier baby.
At every diaper change:
- DO NOT USE DISPOSABLE WIPES (I need to find the link to this info again, but the way the wipes work on the skin encourages yeast growth); rinse diaper area in warm water, pat dry
- air dry completely before putting new diaper on
- at least 2x a day–no diaper airing time 10-15 minutes, preferably in a sunbeam
- 2x a day–wipe down with cotton ball soaked in ACV solution**, air dry
- 2x a day–rub plain yogurt over diaper area, air dry
- 2x a day–rub coconut oil over diaper area
I alternated through the rub-down list, making an application about every 2 hours (often at a diaper change). The rash took a few weeks to clear up completely, but it worked.
I hope this information proves helpful. I told the Dearliest that I felt compelled to share, because I can’t imagine I’m the only one who has gone through something like this, and there was so much I didn’t know! If these posts are able to help even just one person, I consider it totally worth the effort.
If anyone has questions or queries, please feel free to email or otherwise contact me!
*It is possible for the toxin level to build up so much that it becomes life threatening. I did not feel like I was anywhere near that in my case, but people have died from a toxin overload so please be aware and cautious!
** 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (ACV) diluted in 1 cup water; stir before each use; apply with cotton ball
***I spent the first week working up to a cup of kefir a day. I started out at 1/4 cup 1x a day (for 2 days), then went to 1/4 cup 2x a day (for 2 days), then continued to increase the amount until I was at 1/2 cup 2x a day.
Edit 3/2/18: Since originally writing this post I have also discovered tea tree oil and kombucha, both of which are excellent for combating candida. I strongly encourage anyone who is struggling to look into them!