You can use probiotics as a common natural cure for yeast infections caused by an imbalance of the candida fungus, which is naturally found in the digestive tract, mouth, skin and genital area of the body. Using probiotics may also help prevent reoccurring yeast infections, if you use them regularly. Probiotics contain Lactobacillus acidophilus, a friendly bacteria that can be found in certain food or taken as supplements to a regular diet. Eating probiotics can help restore the natural balance of Candida and Lactobacillus in the body. Some women also apply yogurt containing probiotics directly to the vagina to treat yeast infections there, but there are no studies to prove that this is effective.
Yogurt is a common natural way to use probiotics for yeast infections. It contains Lactobacillus acidophilus and helps restore the proper ratio of good bacteria in the body. Some health experts recommend eating about 5 ounces (150 ml) of yogurt daily to ward off yeast infections and maintain a healthy digestive system. Other natural probiotics that you can use to successfully treat yeast inflections include goldenseal, garlic, tea tree oil, and oil from clove, cayenne, and oregano. You can even use these herbs if you are lactose intolerant.
Women generally experience at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lifetimes, marked by itchiness, pain and burning. Probiotics can be used topically for yeast infections of this type, and some women report relief with this treatment. A yeast infection can also appear in the mouth, where Candida thrives.
Thrush is a condition that can affect children and appears as white spots or a rash in the mouth. Older people who wear improperly fitted dentures can contract perleche, which causes cuts or cracks near the lips. The skin on the hands, feet, and genital areas of men and women can also be treated with probiotics. Yeast infections of the skin occur if the skin is moist for long periods of time, allowing Candida to grow.
The number of yeast infections is on the rise for several reasons. People who use medication to treat a compromised immune systems from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) virus commonly suffer from yeast infections, as do those who have weak immune systems for other reasons. Also, the regular use of antibiotics kills some of the good bacteria in the digestive tract that keeps the system balanced. Probiotics have proven helpful for these individuals, as well.
There are a few side effects when you use probiotics to treat yeast infections. Lactobacillus acidophilus can cause bloating and gas, especially in people who are lactose intolerant. Garlic in large doses can thin the blood and cause body odor and bad breath. Goldenseal should not be consumed over long periods of time, in order to avoid potential digestive and neurological problems. It's a good idea to talk to a medical professional before you use probiotics for yeast infections, whether it comes from food or as a dietary supplement.