Keep getting yeast infections? It could be your hormones or your pH!
So you have tried cutting out sugar, using gentle soap, wearing cotton underwear, taking probiotics….everything! But the yeast infections just keep coming! What else could it be?!?
It may be that your estrogen levels are too high and/or that you are suffering from suboptimal vaginal pH.
It has been found that higher than normal levels of estrogen may be associated with yeast overgrowth in the vagina—specifically, an infection with a particular yeast type called Candida albicans or “Candida”.
Research from Louisa State University Health Sciences Centers looked at the effects of estrogen on candida and concluded that, “Estrogen is the dominant reproductive hormone that supports and sustains an experimental vaginal Candida albicans infection and reduces the inhibitory activity of epithelial cells against Candida."
So, what are some of the causes of high estrogen?
- Birth control pills
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Estrogen Dominance due to environmental factors (read our 10 Causes of Estrogen Dominance Blog for more informations!)
- Excess body fat
- Low progesterone
The normal pH of the vagina is between 3.8 and 4.5, which is slightly acidic. An elevated vaginal pH, a more neutral pH, allows yeast overgrowth.
Many women experience yeast infections on a monthly, cyclical basis, during or right after their period. Menstrual blood has a pH of 7.4, therefore the vaginal pH increases and allows for yeast to grow.
Vaginal douches, soaps, sprays, tampons, pads and lubricants also can alter the vaginal pH and bacterial flora. Be sure to look for feminine products that are labeled "fragrance free" and “pH balanced for the vagina.”
How can you measure your vaginal pH?
1. purchase a vaginal pH testing kit or roll of pH paper
2. hold a piece pH test paper against the wall of your vagina for a five seconds.
3. compare the colour of the strip to the colour guide on the pH paper package
4. choose the colour that your test result most closely resembles - this is your vaginal pH level.
What will your naturopathic doctor do to help?
Your naturopathic doctor will take a detailed history and go over your symptoms with you. Together, you and your ND, will then decide if you need any of the following therapies:
- Probiotics: there are specific probiotic strains which are beneficial in killing yeast in the vaginal tract and balancing the vaginal flora.
- Hormone testing: to determine if your estrogen levels are too high and/or progesterone levels too low.
- Dietary counselling: reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake leads to the inhibition of yeast growth. Adding fruits, vegetables and decreasing animal products will help to improve your overall pH.
- Lifestyle counselling: your naturopathic doctor may recommend healthier personal care products, weight loss, different washing practices, etc.
- Hormone therapy: after testing, your naturopathic doctor may recommend alternative birth control methods or bio-identical hormone replacement therapy.
- Natural vaginal suppositories: compounded boric acid or garlic suppositories kill yeast and alleviate symptoms quickly.
- Botanical medicine: there are numerous herbs that can help to kill yeast and prevent growth.
There is no need to keep suffering from uncomfortable yeast infections! Book an appointment with Dr. Kelsey Duncan, ND, today and start preventing these infections!
Effects of Reproductive Hormones on Experimental Vaginal Candidiasis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC97188/
Image: Today Women's Health. https://www.todaywomenhealth.com/en/how-to-test-vaginal-ph/