Itchy, painful vaginal yeast infections need treatment! However, if you use it often enough, you will find the popular topical cream Monistat stops helping Candida. What do you do when this happens?
When you have a yeast infection, also called a Candida infection, you can get over-the-counter medications that come in a cream form. These go by the names such as Lotrimin or Monistat, with the active ingredient of miconozole; Gynazole, which has the active ingredient butoconazole, and Terazol, with the active ingredient of terconazole. You may find these in generic or store brand, but they have the same active ingredients.
Usually, you would follow the package directions, applying the cream for 3 or 7 days. The first time you have a yeast infection, the cream might work very well. Sometimes it works well the second or third time. For many women, however, the topical creams stop working after the second or third yeast infection. They might provide some relief from itching, but the infection returns. Sometimes your freedom from itching and pain gets shorter and shorter, and you have yet another vaginal yeast infection.
Candida is Everywhere
The reason these topical medications stop working is that they don’t kill all the yeast in your body. They kill a limited amount in your vaginal tract, and the other yeast in your body then causes vaginal yeast to return. Let me explain: the yeast in vaginal yeast infections is called Candida albicans. Candida albicans can grow in the vaginal lining, but it also can grow in the intestinal lining. The yeast inhabits your intestine as well as your vaginal tract. You may find that you get yeast infections after taking antibiotics. Antibiotics clear out the bacteria and make room for the yeast to grow in the vaginal tract. So when the antibiotics affect the vaginal lining, causing yeast to grow, the antibiotics also clear out the bacteria in the intestines. The intestine is much longer than the vagina and provides much more surface area on which Candida can grow.
These are two different parts of the body, so you might wonder how does Candida growth in the intestine cause vaginal yeast infections to come back?
The answer is that the Candida is enclosed in a small capsule which resists and blocks the immune system from attacking the actual Candida. Candida seems to chop off little pieces of this capsule and release the pieces of capsule back your body’s circulation. These little pieces of capsule then block the immune system from attacking Candida and they seem to go everywhere, including the vagina. So, you might kill the Candida in the vaginal tract, but these topical creams do not affect the Candida in other parts of your body.
With all the blocking factors coming from the yeast in the intestine, the immune system cannot keep the vagina clear for long periods of time. So the medicated cream kills the vaginal Candida but does nothing about the intestinal Candida. So after the cream is gone, the blocking factors once again block the immune system in the vagina and the vaginal yeast infection returns, much to your dismay. The reason people may find some relief from taking Diflucan, which is a systemic anti-fungal, is that it attacks Candida vaginally and in part of the intestine. However, as I wrote about in another blog piece, Diflucan often stops working long term as well. To read about why Diflucan stops working, click here.
What can you do?
Chronic and recurrent vaginal yeast infections are a systemic problem, so you need a solution that helps your whole body system.
This solution is a combination of following a good anti-Candida diet plus taking medication that kills Candida in all parts of your intestine because the Candida in your intestine is a big factory making pieces of capsule that block your immune system. They are not really chemicals, and they are very complicated structures.
How do you get rid of Candida? The best way is to change your diet. Certain parts of your diet may be feeding your intestinal yeast or clearing out bacteria and making room for the yeast. I explain these problems more thoroughly if you click here. For purposes on this page, know that the biggest outside offender is antibiotics. You may need them for your health, but they make Candida much worse. If you are taking round after round of antibiotics, you probably have chronic vaginal yeast infections as well.
The biggest dietary offenders are malt, a sprouted barley which is heat killed and is raised to feed the yeast in the beer making process. Malt is sold as a sugar substitute and is baked into nearly everything. I explain why malt is such a problem if you click here. The other big offender is vinegar that is loaded with toxic yeast chemicals that kill bacteria and make room for the yeast. I explain why vinegar is such a problem if you click here.
The best anti-Candida diet is my Feast Without Yeast diet. The second part of clearing the intestinal yeast is to take the non-absorbed anti-yeast medicine Nystatin. In my more than 25 years of experience treating Candida-related problems, the Feast Without Yeast diet and Nystatin are the best ways to stop the recurrence of vaginal yeast infections.
We explain the diet fully in our book, Feast Without Yeast: 4 Stages to Better Health. (Also available in Spanish, Un Banquete Sin Levadura). To get more help, you need to see a health care practitioner. Contact me for appointments, or for Telemedicine consultations in Wisconsin, California and New York.