How do I get rid of vaginal thrush?

Q. I have a case of vaginal thrush and it is driving me completely mad. I have been using the pessaries as prescribed, but it doesn’t seem to completely disappear.

Can you please tell me is there anything that actually works to get rid of this problem?

A. Vaginal pessaries can certainly help to get rid of the symptoms of thrush - but this is likely to be a temporary fix. To get to the foundation of the issue, you will need to take a more comprehensive approach, including some long-term dietary changes. Ensure that you are eating a wholefood diet high in fresh seasonal fruit & vegetables.

However, you would do well to avoid mushrooms, breads and pastries, since these contain yeasts and fungus - both of which will exacerbate your condition. Processed foods, fatty foods, and foods high in refined sugars are the worst, so cut these out if you want to be free of thrush altogether. Candida albicans is supposed to be present in relatively small numbers in our intestinal tracts. The problem is that our diets and lifestyles often lead to an overgrowth of this yeast-like fungal organism, and then it can cause absolute havoc in our entire system. A candida imbalance is often triggered by antibiotics, steroids, oral contraceptive pills, hormonal disruption, environmental toxins, immune issues, a diet high in processed foods, chronic illness and stress.

One of my top recommendations for thrush is the NZ native remedy horopito (under the brand name, Kolorex).

The Horopito used in the Kolorex range is an organically grown sustainable crop which is tested for maximum activity levels before it is considered for use in the products. It is available as capsules, topical cream, or as a tea. You may want to try all three - I would suggest taking both the capsules and using the topical cream. Forest Herbs Kolorex is available from Noma Ltd, contact by phone on +44 2380 770 513 or email noma@complementarymedicine.com.

Q. My brother has been diagnosed with MS as of April last year. He has been in and out of hospital during this time and has been told that he will require a weekly treatment of interferon injections. I was wondering if this is the only option, or if there is a natural alternative, since this is a very serious condition.

A. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is indeed a very serious condition, where the myelin sheaths housing the nerve cells in the central nervous system become inflamed, resulting in lesions which impact the functioning of the brain, spinal cord, and optic nerves. The drug therapy that you mention is used by medical professionals to help slow the progress of this disease and to shorten the episodes when they occur.

It is worth discussing alternatives with your brother, and in many cases doctors are happy to use alternative treatments to support the interferon injections. My advice is that you suggest he make an appointment with Dermot O’Connor, who is not only a qualified acupuncturist, dietary therapist, NLP master practitioner and Chi Kung practitioner - but he has used a combination of acupuncture, mind medicine, nutrition, detoxification and exercise to remain symptom-free of his own MS for the past 13 years.

Regardless of whether or not your brother chooses to go ahead with the interferon, it is crucial that he maintains a healthy lifestyle, ensuring that rest is prioritised and stress is minimised! Reducing the amount of saturated or animal fats (including dairy) in the diet and supplementing with linoleic acid has been shown to help reduce the severity of attacks and lengthen remissions. Good sources of linoleic acid include blackcurrant seed, starflower (borage), and sunflower oils.

To make an appointment, contact Dermot O’Connor at his practice in Haddington Road, Dublin by phoning (01) 667 2222 or emailing dermot@acupunctureireland.com.

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