Cure Candida, Yeast Infections, and Bacterial Vaginosis With Diet

| 30 Comments

Candida albicans under the microscope

I know how embarrassing and distracting these infections can be. I myself had recurring BV for 10 or so years. I had vaginal exams regularly because of them. The doctor always ended with a prescription for some worthless cream or antibiotic. I took them like a good little girl and but always showed back up in the doctor’s office two months later.

The infinite loop would have never ceased had I not discovered Paleo.

Going Paleo strengthened my immune system enough to make these infections rarer and less severe. However, it was a long time before they vanished completely. I still had to discover what was causing the disruption of vaginal flora.

Non-medical, natural therapies folk are beginning to realize that these infections have something to do with carbohydrates but most of them haven’t noticed which carbohydrates cause the problem. And they definitely don’t know why some women who eat high carb diets get them while other women don’t.

I believe I do.

These infections – candida (yeast) and bacterial vaginosis – result from the fermentation of carbohydrates. The fermentation of undigested carbohydrates plus the nutrient deficiencies and low immune health caused by the resulting leaky gut, all contribute to candida and bacterial vaginosis.

Bacterial Vaginosis

Symptoms

  • Abnormal discharge
  • Fish-like odor
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Itching or burning
  • Pregnancy complications such as pre-term delivery

Believed causes:

  • Multiple sex partners
  • High carbohydrate diet

These theories are ILLOGICAL. If either of these were the true cause, nearly ever Asian woman would have BV due to their high intake of rice and any faithful married woman would not.

Typical treatments:

  • Antibiotics
  • Low-carbohydrate diet
  • Folic acid supplement
These will work, usually, but they are unnecessary. Antibiotics generally treats BV for a few weeks or months before it returns. A low-carb diet will do the trick indefinitely but isn’t always effective since most low-carb dieters fail. As for the folic acid, there has been research to support that supplementing with folic acid helps to reduce occurrence, but a supplement probably won’t be necessary once a nutrient dense diet is established and leaky gut eliminated.

Yeast Infections

Symptoms

The symptoms of a yeast infection are nearly identical to the symptoms of BV except that the discharge associated with candida is usually clumpy rather than creamy and the odor is not as much of a problem. In bacterial vaginosis the symptoms are caused by bacteria and in yeast infections they are caused by a fungus (usually candida albicans).

Suggested preventative measures (BULLSHIT ALERT):

Taken from WebMD
  • Keep your vaginal area clean. Use mild, unscented soap and water. Rinse well.
  • After using the toilet, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading yeast or bacteria from your anus to the vagina or urinary tract.
  • Wear underwear that helps keep your genital area dry and doesn’t hold in warmth and moisture. One good choice is cotton underwear.
  • Avoid tight-fitting clothing, such as panty hose, and tight-fitting jeans. These may increase body heat and moisture in your genital area.
  • Change out of a wet swimsuit right away. Wearing a wet swimsuit for many hours may keep your genital area warm and moist.
  • Change pads or tampons often.
  • Don’t douche or use deodorant tampons or feminine sprays, powders, or perfumes. These items can change the normal balance of organisms in your vagina.

 This is why I pretty much hate the internet. This kind of shit only serves to make website owners money and divert readers from real solutions. Yeast and bad bacteria thrive in an alkaline environment. The vagina is supposed to be quite acidic. Increasing body heat and moisture isn’t going to change the PH (a douche can – one bit of good advice is to avoid douches). The only thing that is going to prevent a yeast infection is something that will prevent the vagina from becoming a hospitable environment.

How To Eliminate BV and Candida For Good

  • Strengthen the immune system through a nutrient dense diet
  • Increase zinc and vitamin C
  • Heal leaky gut through avoidance of fructose (this includes table sugar) and wheat
  • If necessary avoid all FODMAPS (depends on how severe your intolerance to carbohydrates)

That’s it. You don’t need prescriptions from the doctor. You don’t need to throw out all your sexy underwear. You don’t need to move to the arctic circle. And you don’t need to stick tea tree oil tampons in your vagina. All you need to do is fix your carbohydrate fermentation issues and strengthen your immune system.

Case closed.

Author: Peggy the Primal Parent

The blog owner!

30 Comments

  1. i don’t want to sound like a wet blanket, and in truth i concur with your analysis… but maybe there is something i am missing. we’ve been paleo for a year, no fructose/sugar for a year, low fodmap for a year, i take 70-100mg of zinc a day, load on C regularly… and my recent stool test shows loads of yeast. and i do live close to the arctic circle. i’ve never had a vaginal yeast infection, but apparently my gut is riddled with yeast. ideas?

    • Interesting Lisa. What about spices and processed meats? Bacon and sausage are pretty popular in the Paleo community. A similar concern perplexed me for some time a while back. I ate no carbs and had no vaginal symptoms but my stool did not look healthy. After I stopped eating bacon, sausage, and anything containing spices I was back to normal. I can’t imagine how spices could jack things up so badly but for me they do. I have also found that starch is really helpful for a healthy stool. God, this is TMI!!!

      • The stuff used to flavor bacon and sausages was originally intended to be preservative (and therefore anti-bacterial) in nature, and spices as well were often used as preservatives. I would guess that for those with less robust gut flora that preserved and/or spicy foods might cause digestive issues.

        And the starch would be beneficial, of course, if it is feeding the right gut flora.

    • Ketogenic / Low carb / Low FODMAP diets have a thing in common: they lower bacterial population. This is only a good thing if and when you have a bacterial overgrowth problem. You see, yeast (fungus) feed on pretty much anything, like we do. They feed on fats as much as they feed on sugars. Bacteria can’t feed on fats, they need sugar compounds (fibre included). Moreover, yeast and bacteria fight each other for resources, and we have to have both in equilibrium to avoid overgrowth of any of the two. For example, getting Candida after antibiotics is a big deja-vu.
      So… high yeast in stool from low-fodmap diet? perfectly understandable. Get some starches, soft fibres, and probiotics in there, that should get the good flora cranking again and eventually get to optimal. IMHO.

  2. OMG Peggy I love you!

    A few years back I took the Yaz birth control pill for around six months and literally had a yeast infection every three weeks, it was awful. When I discovered primal living I immediately went off birth control and balanced my PH in my body and the vaginal issues stopped and my periods became a bit more regular.

    My mom also had similar issues so we created a product called FloraFemme (Link to our website here: http://florafemme.com/) a year ago to help women correct these vaginal PH issues and re-colonize their vaginas with a probiotic supplement we designed to go directly into the vagina to speed up the healing process. We ALWAYS point customers to Mark Sisson’s website and your blog because we do believe that diet is the root of the problem and that our product will speed up the healing process, but it must be accompanied by a healthy lifestyle.

  3. That looks like a great product and such a worthy cause! Women need to be encouraged and empowered to take their health into their own hands. It is so frustrating that women suffer from these infections when correcting them is possible.

    I would definitely recommend your product to any woman who is in the process of changing her diet but still battling an infection.

  4. Hey Peggy,

    You mentioned that you hated the internet, but I think you should referr to the stupidity of the people believing that, if it weren’t for it I wouldn’t have discovered paleo and changed my life, besides the internet has a lot of empowering ifnormation that many people can use :). I wanted to ask you about your book, you have mentioned it a couple of times, what’s the name and where can I get it?

  5. Peggy, would you please clarify what a nutrient dense diet would be (as in what types of foods to eat on a daily basis)? Also are you suggesting supplementing with vitamin C and zinc supplements or get them from foods? I have had all the symptoms you describe for many years. I want to get rid of this problem for good! Any more clarification is greatly appreciated! Also, once one stays away from fructose and FODMAPs and is able to correct the problem, is it possible to eat those foods again?

    • Lya,

      By nutrient dense I mean eating foods like organs, butter, olive oil, dark green veggies or their juices, sea food, especially shellfish. Every single day I drink the juice of 1 or 2 whole lemons for vitamin C. I eat oysters mainly for zinc. All of this food won’t do you a bit of good, though, if you dont’ absorb it so digestion is crucial.

      I really can’t say if you’ll be able to eat fructose and FODMAPS again. Some claim you can but I don’t think there is enough research or even anecdotal evidence to say for sure. We don’t even know what causes fructose malabsorption. It could be over consumption of fructose. It could be caused by medications. It could be genetic. It could be anything. Anyone that tells you that you can recover from it either knows something I don’t know, or is stretching the truth.

  6. Me too, me too! Eating a highly nutrient dense diet like Peggy described, and avoiding processed, modern foods I eliminated a six year struggle with recurring bladder infections.

  7. I haven’t had to avoid FODMAPS or fructose but my chronic yeast infections are a thing of the past. For me, it was simply a matter of eating the right foods for my body and getting some probiotics. I think when we treat the whole body and make the body happy, a LOT of problems will clear up. That said, I know some problems are more stubborn than others. For example, my son kept having stool issues despite eating a good diet and taking probiotics. Then he had a course of antibiotics for strep while he downed glass after glass of kombucha. Because of the antibiotics, the beneficial yeast in the kombucha made its way to the colon and fixed the problem.

    I agree the answer is generally in diet and gut health and not in what underwear we wear.

    • Lisa,

      The hard thing for people to figure out usually is which foods are right for their bodies. As soon as you get that figured out, the infections are gone. Probiotics alone don’t usually do the job, despite what articles and ads say. If, for example, you have fructose malabsorption and you try to just add probiotics, nothing will change and the problem may even get worse, since the undigested sugars are food for the bad bugs.

  8. Hello. Thanks for the post. I have struggled with BV for 7 years. I would like to know if I can eat potatoes or will that aggravate the problem? Can you (yourself) eat FODMAPS or do you just stay away from wheat and fructose? Also, is it okay to eat wheat-free and glucose free bread etc or will that aggravate the problem? Thanks

  9. Thanks for a very helpful article! What are fodmaps exactly?

  10. I love your no bull shit concept on everything. I am 27 and have been having yeast infections since pretty much the day I lost my virginity, 7 years ago. I think that was gods way of punishing me. And when I got married 4 years ago, I went on the Nuva ring and stopped using it after a month because it did terrible things to me. Ever since the Nuva Ring, I have had reoccurring BV at least once a month, usually the week before my period, sometimes more often. my shit is all kinds of messed up. I have seen 6 different gyno’s and none of them have been useful. I am so glad I came across your blog. I am going to figure out what the hell kind of food is right for me. How do you suggest I do that? I eat everything right now, should I just go Paleo and see what happens? It really sucks to hate having sex with your husband because you know it’s just going to be painful.

    • Ugh I remember that feeling. Definitely go Paleo and see how it goes. Try eliminating fructose and fructans too. I am so excited to hear of a woman who stumbled upon the info she needs to be in control. :)

      • I too am suffering from ongoing vaginal infections and nothing seems to help. How is the paleo different from the candida diet? I tried the candida diet for a month and didn’t see any results. When should I expect to see results doing paleo? Can you put up a list of foods we can and can’t eat because when I google it, each site says something different. Can you also put up some recipes, that would be great. This is a never ending nightmare for me. Please help..

    • Oh my goodness. I lost my virginity 2 years ago and that was the day I got my first yeast infection and I’ve pretty much had one since then. Tried diflucan that worked at first but stopped. I successfuly cured it once with monistat and then it stopped working. I still use monistat just for relief…it does reduce symptoms greatly but I know I still have one. And don’t get me started on doctor’s visits! Anyway, I have a question: have you thought that maybe it’s your partner? (if you’ve had the same one for the past 6 yrs?)

      • Hey Heather, I have had several partners since then and have now been married for 4 years, so I dont think thats it. The infections got really bad and more consistent when I tried the Nuva Ring for 2 weeks right after I got married. I refuse to be on birth control now. I started Paleo (more Gluten and dairy free now) 4 months ago and haven’t had an infection since. I’m still in the process of trying to figure out what food I have an intolerance to, but I am 100% sure food was the cause of the infections.

        Peggy, thank you for what you do, you improved my life.

  11. i was once wondering if i am the only one experiencing these infections but…it seeems am not alone….its so bad when u start feeling that little itch down there and u all go…..not again!.am even tired of visiting the clinic bse allmost all my medical file is bse of one infection or another and then my husband is always asking why am always having these infections…he even once said may be i ve syphillis….can u imagine how i felt?.
    am really gratefull for all these ideas bt i dont understand what paleo is.can u pliz tell me more about it.and is it ok to buy over the counter zinc and vit c suplement?

    • I have been Paleo for a month now, and for the first month in several years, I haven’t had any type of infection. It’s amazing and I am so hoping it stays this way. What I have learned in the last month of my research, food is everything. Your health, energy, skin, it all comes down to what you eat. If you eat like crap you will feel like crap. If you eat clean, good, unprocessed foods, you will feel great!
      Paleo is a clean way of eating. I wouldn’t call it a “diet”, because you don’t have to go Paleo just to lose weight. I do it for health reasons, main one being vaginal infections. My husband started it to support me, but he is liking the results as well. Eating Paleo, you cut out gluten (breads, pasta), dairy, and sugar. You eat good meats, vegetables, healthy fats, and fruits. It’s simple and my cooking skills have greatly improved. You should do some research, it may help.
      After thousands of trips to the many doctors, I have realized all those medicines and creams aren’t going to cure reoccurring infections. It’s something inside your body that is causing it, and the only thing that will change it is what you eat.
      Also, I have started using pure coconut oil as a lube, which I think has to do with it as well. Coconut oil is amazing and has so many uses, another good thing to check out. Hope this helps and good luck, I totally feel your pain.

  12. I have been researching about bacterial vaginosis when I found this blog! Thanks for this! It’s quite difficult to find out about it when people don’t write about it a lot. Thanks!!

  13. hi Thanks for this post! Would like to know if you have a list of good foods to eat that can reduce this problem, also do we need to avoid ALL fodmaps? It seems like the list is almost everything in the grocery store. I am young and don’t know what my choices crea for a healthy diet PLEASE HELP!
    Also I had read some things about douching.. Is this safe? Does it help?

    • Ashril,

      Douching is generally a bad idea as it can flush out the good bacteria and yeasts, along with the bad. It might be worth trying to cut out all FODMAPs at first, or you could start by trying all fructose and fructans. Cutting out sugar is a definite necessity.

      • I too am suffering from ongoing vaginal infections and nothing seems to help. How is the paleo different from the candida diet? I tried the candida diet for a month and didn’t see any results. When should I expect to see results doing paleo? Can you put up a list of foods we can and can’t eat because when I google it, each site says something different. Can you also put up some recipes, that would be great. This is a never ending nightmare for me. Also, i was told to eat garlic because it works well to prevent yeast and bv?? I am trying to get on the right track but I am a little confused on how the paleo works, what should i eliminate from my diet? Please help..

  14. The problem arises when the discharge has a different cause – it is not prevention, but rather due to some problem occurrence of such cause of vaginal discharge is usually infection, either caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi, or mechanical damage to the genitals.

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