The feisty warning signs of an oncoming yeast infection can strike at any time: irritation, burning, discharge. This excessive buildup of microscopic fungi can flourish in any moist region—anuses, throats, genitals of both sexes—but most commonly takes root in a woman’s nether regions. Yeast can grow out of check when a person is stressed, has recently used antibiotics or has a weakened immune system. Persistent infections, however, know no health, race or age boundaries. In fact, about 75 percent of women suffer occasional yeast infections. For an unlucky 5 percent these itchy infections grace their private parts more than four times a year.
Many sufferers have devised creative home remedies for calming this vaginal fury. Some freeze yogurt into ice cube–size popsicles and insert them into their vaginas. Others swallow capsules of probiotics or douche with tea tree oil. Perhaps most unusual is an alternative therapy that uses a common culinary ingredient—garlic. But instead of ingesting the Allium, women insert it into their vaginas as aromatic suppositories for hours at a time. Do these old wives tales really work? And whether they do or not, can they be dangerous?
To get the medical perspective on such treatments, Scientific American spoke withPaul Nyirjesy, an obstetrician–gynecologist and director of the Drexel Vaginitis Center at Drexel University College of Medicine. He treats women with complicated and chronic vaginal problems, including recurrent yeast infections. He recently published a paper examining how a majority of women with such problems use alternative treatments—primarily out of desperation.
Source: scientific american