A yeast infection, bacterial vaginosis and cytolytic vaginosis are the most common vaginal infections we treat here in our Toronto clinic.
We also treat common STDs such as trichomoniasis, herpes and HPV, and abnormal growths such as cervical dysplasia, fibroids and endometriosis.
Our excellent team of naturopathic doctors sees a lot of them and has a proven track record of treating them using a natural approach.
Below, a couple of our naturopaths talk about a few of the issues they see the most. That said, if you have another vaginal issue, we certainly have experience with that, too…
Yeast Infections – Dr. Kate Whimster, Naturopathic Doctor
- Yeast infection symptoms. The presence of yeast in the vaginal area is normal. But if there’s a lot, or if it keeps recurring and you have itching, burning, discharge, sometimes pain. Then naturopathic medicine can intervene to take care of it.
- Conventional vs naturopathic medicine. Over-the-counter medications such as creams that treat the yeast infection can often get rid of it, but it always comes back. Whereas naturopathic medicine fixes the imbalance that’s causing the infection in the first place. Also, conventional doctors often treat cytolytic vaginosis as a yeast infection. But they need to be treated differently because they’re entirely different organisms.
- Short-term yeast infection treatment. We look at the root yeast infection causes and treat them. Low-sugar diet with very few starches, perhaps a temporary candida diet. There are a lot of anti-fungal herbs you can take; getting more sleep doing some hygienic stuff like wearing cotton underwear; not wearing underwear at night when you sleep – that kind of thing for some people can make a big difference. Suppositories that are anti-fungal will get rid of the yeast, and oral probiotics will replenish the normal bacteria.
- Long-term treatments. Correcting a hormonal imbalance is often necessary. Sometimes the immune system is an issue. And sometimes it’s neither of those things – it’s just that the vaginal environment has been compromised. So depending on how what’s going on with the person, I’ll treat the underlying cause. And usually like within a few months, you can have like a huge resolution of yeast.
Yeast Infections – Dr. Tehseen Meghji, Naturopathic Doctor
- Diagnosis. It’s generally not advisable to diagnose it yourself – it can be easily confused with other conditions such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection. So it’s really important, specifically for recurrent candida infections or yeast infections, to make sure that you’re diagnosing it correctly.
- What to do at home. At home you can follow a low sugar diet, because sugar feeds yeast. So that’s one of the main things to be aware of when you have yeast infections. Also avoid wearing things that are synthetic origin. So, making sure that you’re wearing cotton underwear and favoring unfragrant soaps and pads over tampons – natural cotton pads are better.
- What a naturopathic doctor can do. There’s much more that you can do botanically, with different botanical herbs. There are a bunch of suppositories that can be helpful in treating acute conditions. And probiotics are something I definitely will always recommend, but it’s important they’re getting the right type of probiotics.
- Using drugs. The good thing about naturopathic approaches compared to something over the counter is that the natural therapies actually work. They work against the resistant strains and they don’t have many side effects.
Cervical Dysplasia – Dr. Hayhlee Clarence, Naturopathic Doctor
Cervical Dysplasia is one of those things that comes up a lot for women. It’s something that women don’t talk about very much. But more likely than not, at some point a woman will have an abnormal Pap.
What happens in these cases is that there is usually a 3-6 month waiting period, and then they will be due to re-test. That’s because, for the most part, the body can take care of cellular abnormalities (which is a what a pap is picking up on). And it can help to regulate and clear out abnormal cells and allow healthy cells to grow back.
For women that have had multiple tests come back with abnormalities, or for women who don’t want to wait 6 months to retest, it’s a great time to intervene and help support healthy cell growth.
With more and more HPV diagnoses, these abnormalities are not something we want to ignore completely. We don’t need to fear these diagnoses either, but taking a bit of time to intentionally support healthy cell growth can be really beneficial. This can help women return to a normal healthy state where their Paps are coming back clean. And they don’t need to return for follow up testing all the time.
For most Women, it’s usually a 3-6 month time window, and if everything comes back normal, then their treatments with me are done as well. There’s no need to continue with regular visits once everything comes back normal, because it’s a very targeted time, and a very targeted way of treating.
HPV and Cervical Dysplasia – Dr. Kate Whimster
Cervical dysplasia is usually caused by HPV, the virus HPV, which is very very common. They estimate that over 75% of adults have been exposed to HPV, which is most of us.
Not everyone harbours that virus, for some people that virus is cleared easily from the body by the immune system. And you never know that you’ve had it, and for some people, it lingers, which is what can cause cervical dysplasia.
Cervical dysplasia is a term that means there’s abnormal cells on the cervix, which is the entrance into the uterus. This is found on a woman through a Pap test. This is typically done as a screening every three years, unless you’ve had an abnormal Pap.
Conventionally, they often just wait to see if the immune system will clear that virus and the cells with return to normal. Or they do more invasive treatment to help get rid of those cells.
Naturopathically, there are so many options for treating cervical dysplasia that re very very effective. I’ve never had a patient that has not gone back to having a normal Pap. Sometimes it’s just a matter of time in addressing the right things in their health.
Typically we are doing a 3 month protocol of herbs and supplements and vaginal suppositories to eradicate that virus. And to support the immune system in clearing it.
After that initial 3 months, we go into a maintenance protocol and I address any other health concerns that person has. They may be making them more susceptible to that virus so that we prevent recurrence.
Bacterial Vaginosis and Cytolytic Vaginosis – Dr. Kate Whimster
- Bacterial vaginosis. When there’s no yeast but you’ve chronic discharge or chronic irritation in the vaginal area. Sometimes the discharge smells really bad or there’s really a lot of it.
- Treatments. Oral probiotics and suppository probiotics to bring the good bacteria back into balance. For some people, that works really well. For others, a candida approach works better, a bit of a diet just to restore the normal bacterial flora throughout the body. Plus, anti-bacterial herbs to kill off the wrong bacteria, replenish the good bacteria.
- Sometimes if you have really stubborn cases of bacterial vaginosis then you really need to look at detoxification, elimination, and digestion.
- Cytolytic vaginosis. Looks kind of like a yeast infection, but we treat it very differently.
DrWhimster treated a womenwho had three years of what she was told were chronic yeast infections. But it turned out it was cytolytic vaginosis and we treated that and in two weeks the symptoms cleared out.
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