Ladies, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Vaginal yeast infections are more common than you think! They affect a near 75% of women at any age. If you think you might have one, no fear! There are a few things you can do at home to figure out the problem.
What’s a yeast infection?
Vaginal yeast infections, also called candidiasis, are caused by the fungus Candida. This fungus can cause intense itching; irritation; unusually thick, white discharge that is typically odorless; and painful swelling. These types of infections will affect 3 out of 4 women, and doctors say once you’ve had one, they’re likely to be recurring. But the good news is they’re relatively simple to treat if you get to it right away.
Though yeast infections are usually spread by sexual contact, they’re not considered a sexually transmitted infection. Candida is a naturally occurring microorganism in the vaginal area, and will permeate if there’s an imbalance of lactobacillus bacteria, the bacteria responsible for keeping the microorganism in check.
How does this bacterial imbalance occur? Well, it’s easier than you think. The following causes can easily contribute to a yeast imbalance:
weak immune system
poor diet, lots of sugary foods
poor sleep habits
antibiotics (they work by reducing
vaginal sprays or deodorizers
How do I know if I have it?
Though any doctor can confirm it, there are a few tests you can perform at home that’ll save you the trip and the cost. Sometimes visiting the doctor can be a little frustrating, especially if you get them repeatedly and require frequent visits. Here is the top five at-home Candida tests every woman needs to know about.
Top 5 Candida Home Tests
1. The Spit Test
This test is fairly reliable, meaning you will test positive if you have a yeast infection. Right when you wake up in the morning, grab a clear glass, fill it with water, and spit a few times into it. The spit test needs to be done before you put anything into your mouth.
Check on the glass every 15 minutes for about an hour. You have a problem with yeast if you start seeing string-like legs travelling down into the water from the saliva that’s floating on top. If you have a Candida overgrowth, you might also see cloudy bits of saliva that will soon drop to the bottom of the cup.
Repeat this test a couple more times each on different mornings to be sure the results you got are correct.
2. The Smell Test
Did you know certain body odors are another sure sign of a Candida imbalance? Smelly feet, armpits, and general body odor is related to yeast levels. At all times, there’s a high level of fermentation going on in the gut, which creates by-products in the form of heat, gas and odors. According to doctors, the majority of yeast infection sufferers often complain of unpleasant odors and excessive sweating, so these are things to look out for. If you smell and sweat easily, you might have a yeast infection.
3. The Tongue Test
Stand in front of a mirror and stick out your tongue. What colour is it? If it’s coated with a white or yellowish color either in the middle or towards the back of the tongue, there’s a good chance you have a bacterial or yeast overgrowth in the gut. Yes, it could be other things like oral diseases, but your dentist will be able to tell you right away if it’s related to your gum health.
If the discoloration is more towards the tip of the tongue, it’s an issue caused by Candida in the large intestine. If the center of your tongue appears white, it’s likely an issue with dysbiosis, a microbial imbalance, affecting the small intestine.
4. The Craving Test
Pay attention to the foods your body is craving. If you find you’re craving more sweets than normal, it’s a sure sign of a yeast overgrowth. Keep in mind that sweets include more than just candies and chocolates; think of the less obvious foods that are loaded with sugar like muffins, muesli bars, and especially white breads. Today, the average person consumes almost twice their body weight of sugar in one year. Scary, huh?
Sugar feeds these bugs. Try eliminating all sugar—this means ALL sweet foods—for 2 to 3 days and see how you feel. Fruits are fine, but make sure they’re not dried because they often contain much more sugar than the fresh stuff. Some obvious ingredients to avoid are fructose, maltose, lactose, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup and galactose, but you’ll also want to avoid the ‘natural’ things like honey, maple syrup, and date sugar.
Take note of what happens. How did your body react? Did you develop a headache? crash? feel exhausted? These are things to seriously consider. If you do have a Candida imbalance, you’ll see the difference immediately. Just be sure to focus on what you eat!
5. The Itch Test
Do you ever get periods of intense itching? Do you catch yourself scratching your arms, legs, or stomach? Start making notes of how often and where on your body you feel itchy, and whether or not you see patches starting to develop. Record how often you feel the need to scratch the inside of your ears, the bottoms of your feet, your breasts, or your armpits. By becoming more aware of where it is you’re itching, you’ll amaze yourself! Record these actions for just three days and assess how often your groin irritates you.