Most incidences of thrush infection are caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida.
You normally have some of this fungus living in your body and when everything is normal it fills a helpful role in the digestion and absorption of nutrients. Issues arise when there is a change in the normal bacteria of your body. Illness, stress, antibiotic use and digestive issues can all change your microbiome.
When the balance of your microbiome changes, Candida can grow out of control. It takes advantage of the absence of bacteria that would normally limit its growth.
This absence of bacteria also happens when conditions change, becoming warmer or moister than normal – conditions that this fungus loves. Candida also has an easier time growing if there is any damage or irritation to the skin in the area.
Mild cases can be considered self-resolving, if nothing else is going on.
If your immune system is otherwise healthy, a thrush infection can heal in 3-7 days. During that time, the skin will be sore and inflamed, intensely itchy and you may have thick vaginal discharge. There is also burning during urination and intercourse.
If you experience recurrent thrush, it is important to investigate the underlying cause/s.
Managing and resolving a fungal infection typically includes following a treatment protocol, which will try to address the following concerns:
- Removing and/or reducing foods containing simple sugars from your diet – these feed and encourage fungal overgrowth.
- Supporting and enhancing the growth of your natural, beneficial microflora to help reduce the occurrence of opportunistic yeast overgrowth. Both intestinal and vaginal microbiomes need to be considered here.
- Supporting, soothing and healing damaged or impaired epithelium and mucous membranes to reduce the incidence of fungal overgrowth.
Herbs & Supplements in Treating Thrush Infection
- Probiotics are a fantastic help in addressing both the underlying imbalance and helping resolve a current Candida infection. Research has found that Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14 are the two best strains to help with thrush so a supplement containing these will work best. Sachromyces boulardii is another strain which works beautifully by overcrowding the candida and killing it.
- Zinc helps to support the immune system but has been found to reduce adhesion. Zinc deficiency has also been found to be a factor for reoccurring cases of fungal infection. Other nutritional deficiencies that have been linked to thrush infections include Magnesium, Essential Fatty Acids, and B6.
- Horopito, Echinacea, Golden seal, Calendula and Garlic make a great combination for helping to relieve and resolve thrush infections by supporting immune health, reducing fungal growth, and soothing and healing the epithelial cells.