Kill the yeast beast!

Yogurt-soaked tampons, carnivorous tree bark and boiled panties all crush vaginal thrush.

Published December 14, 1999 5:00PM (EST)

Dec. 14, 1999

"Soak a tampon in plain yogurt that has active live cultures and insert it into your vulva," suggested Rean Cross, University of Toronto sexuality education media coordinator, in an interview with Naked World Thursday. "Or squirt it inside yourself with a spermicidal applicator.

"It's kinda messy," she admitted. "But for a lot of women, yogurt is the best ticket to combat candida."

Yeast fungus, also known as Candida albicans or thrush, is still baking belligerently in female crotches despite all the gynecological attempts to annihilate it. The cottage-cheesey discharge thrives profusely in hot, acidic environments that have weakened immune systems.

Tight polyester pants provide a perfect playground for the annoying organism. Fun foods like alcohol, sugar, caffeine and refined carbohydrates also bring on the infection. Additional culprits are stress, antibiotics, birth-control pills and contaminated sex partners. Yes, men are yeasty, too.

"We don't recommend pharmaceutical medicines immediately," explained Cross, "because some have a toxic affect on your liver. The alternative treatments are really worth trying."

Yogurt tops the University of Toronto's list of self-help solutions. Inserting garlic cloves or capsules of boric acid powder is also recommended. Douching with vinegar and water or golden seal herb and myrrh is deemed effective, but women are urged to not overuse this method or the vagina's friendly natural bacteria will be destroyed.

Cranberry juice is also touted as a curative, and all one has to do is drink it.

The British are battling yeast with additional weapons, suggests the (London) Daily Telegraph in a Nov. 24 column by Dr. Sarah Brewer. Boiling one's knickers or steaming and pressing the infected underwear with a hot iron is strongly advised, because yeast spores aren't killed in low-temperature washing cycles.

Another thrush-crusher, claims Dr. Brewer, is an herbal extract made from the bark of a bizarre Brazilian tree called the Lapacho. This predatory plant has carnivorous flowers that devour jungle insects. Lapacho bark resists fungus: Recent studies conducted in Central America and Japan have demonstrated that it conquers candida.

By Hank Hyena

Hank Hyena is a former columnist for SF Gate, and a frequent contributor to Salon.

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