The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.
Vaginal infections account for about half of visits to the gynecologist.
Vaginal health is dependent on a proper balance of Lactobaccillus acidophilus
bacteria in the vagina. In particular, there must be Lactobaccillus that
produce hydrogen peroxide as well as lactic acid. The hydrogen peroxide
is bacteriocidal to many harmful bacteria and the lactic acid helps to
maintain an acid environment unfriendly to the growth of other bacteria.
Many things can upset this balance including regular douching, spermicides,
antibiotics and very frequent sexual intercourse. When the balance is upset,
women can have problems with urinary tract infections as well as vaginal
There are many kinds of bacteria, yeast and protozoa which can cause
vaginal infections. Most are usually accompanied by some kind of discharge
and irritation of the vulva. Sexually transmitted infections can also extend
to the uterus and the fallopian tubes causing a pelvic infection and infertility.
While gonorrhea and syphilis are still around, the most common sexually
transmitted infection today is chlamydia. Chlamydia is almost epidemic,
especially in younger women. Human papilloma virus is another very common
sexually transmitted infection that may not cause any obvious symptoms
but is linked to abnormal pap smears and cervical cancer. Trichomonas,
a protozoa, and herpes simplex, a virus, are also transmitted sexually.
All of these infections will need medical treatment of both you and your
sexual partner. Since it is difficult to determine the kind of infection
without an exam and testing, you should consult your health care provider
whenever you have abnormal vaginal discharge, irritation or pain.
Yeast is a very common vaginal infection. Its symptoms are very characteristic-
a white cheesy looking discharge with itching and burning of the vulvar
area. Yeast is normally found in the vagina, it only causes problems when
it overgrows. Antibiotics and cortisone therapy can cause yeast overgrowth.
It is also common during pregnancy and with diabetes and HIV infection.
Natural treatment of yeast vaginitis includes eliminating sugar and
sweets from the diet, taking vitamin and mineral supplements, keeping the
vulvar area clean and dry, wearing cotton underwear, avoiding tight clothing
and panty hose, and wiping carefully from front to back. Taking a lactobaccillus
supplement will help to decrease yeast in the intestinal tract which will
help prevent its overgrowth in the vagina as well.
Gardnerella is another common vaginal problem. It may have symptoms
of discharge and vulvar irritation, but sometimes all that is present is
a fishy odor, especially pronounced after intercourse. Gardnerella is especially
associated with imbalance of the vaginal bacteria and often benefits from
vaginal supplementation of Lactobacillus. This infection has been associated
with bleeding and premature labor in pregnancy and can be treated with
Herbal treatment for yeast and gardnerella infections-
Tea tree oil suppositories- insert one vaginally twice a day
for a week.
a douche by making a tea of goldenseal,
1 teaspoon(open two caspules) to 1 cup of boiling water, simmer for 15-20 minutes, strain
and let cool to lukewarm, douche twice a day for a week.
Caution- both of these treatments are contraindicated in pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and have yeast or gardnerella vaginitis, consult with
your health care provider.
For recurrent vaginal yeast infections try-
Echinacea purpurea juice-
A study from Europe using oral doses of Echinacea purpurea juice along
with a vaginal antifungal medication was very effective in treating recurrent
vaginal yeast infections.
Liquid juice- 1/2 teaspoon three times a day for 10 weeks
Dry concentrated juice in capsules- 50 mg three times a day for 10
* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate.
It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.