Taming the Yeast Beast

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Birth

Dear Dr. Northrup,

I am a 27-year-old married woman who doesn’t use scented soaps, perfumes, or detergents. I don’t eat a lot of processed or refined foods; I exercise and don’t have diabetes. About once a month, for the last seven months, I’ve suffered from bacterial vaginosis. Additionally, for the last seven years, around the same time of the month as my period, I’ve suffered from yeast infections. My doctor prescribes antibiotics and Diflucan, but each month it’s the same thing. My husband and I would like to start a family soon, and I would really love to stop taking these medications. I am frustrated and uncomfortable.

Please help!

Y.Z.

Dear Y.Z.,

Bacterial vaginosis is very common. It’s caused by an imbalance in the vaginal and bowel flora. Antibiotics and Diflucan (an antifungal) don’t get to the heart of the problem. They provide symptomatic relief only—if that. And over time, they actually make the problem worse.

What you need to do is re-establish your bacterial balance in both your bowel and vagina—the vaginal flora often get imbalanced from the bowel. You do this by getting on some good probiotics for at least three months and whenever you take antibiotics. A probiotic replenishes bacteria balance as opposed to antibiotics, which kills bacteria. There are many good brands available. Some require refrigeration, some don’t. It’s also good to eat fermented foods rich in healthy bacteria such as miso, tempeh, yogurt, and sauerkraut.

It’s important to follow a diet and adopt lifestyle habits that favor good bacteria balance in the gut and vagina. You said you don’t eat a lot of refined foods, which can definitely be a culprit. This also means avoiding antibiotics whenever possible. Taking one course of antibiotics can lead to a yeast infection. Do you take other medications or over the counter drugs? Birth control pills also disrupt bacterial balance and so do drugs such as Prozac and Zoloft. Over the counter drugs such as ibuprofen and even aspirin can also disrupt the body’s bacterial balance. If you’re taking any of these, you should consider an alternative because they may be contributing to your imbalance.

Best regards,

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

 

Last Updated: November 12, 2008

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.

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  1. Jacqueline Farrow
    11 months ago

    I’m 48 and have been recently diagnosed with -Bacterial Vaginosis! I’m Taking Florastor Probiotic Which helps Some! But- Still having alot of itching inside! I’ve Tried the Repfresh Gel and it didn’t help at all! I Take-home Estrace Estrogen! Should I Probably have My Estrogen Levels Checked? I’ve had Totally Hysterectomy at age 27! Also have had My Cervix,Parts of both Fallopian Tubes and One Ovary Removed! And What Might help the itching? I am going to a Women’s Clinic Next Month!

  2. Sheila Nee
    3 years ago

    As I research candida triggers I wonder if your studies include Lexapro in the family of triggers

    Thank you~

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