This blog is a more personal client story than I have written before. I will refer to my client and main inspiration for this piece as Luisa in this piece, but have changed her name for privacy.
Luisa and I have had great success recently, her health has improved rapidly, and I believe, permanently! So happy with her wellbeing, she suggested I write a blog about what has been ailing her: thrush. I treat a lot of thrush in my practice and think this will be relevant for many women out there.
I need to start by pointing out that thrush isn’t always thrush!
Vaginal thrush is the overgrowth of micro-organisms, but thrush-like symptoms can sometimes be a masquerade of possible premature menopause, diabetes, thyroid or immune issues. Thrush-like symptoms should always be looked at by a professional, even in young women as it is possible they can lead to infertility if not addressed as early as possible. Unfortunately, this is not always what happens, and sometimes people are not advised well by their health practitioner. Vaginal dryness can masquerade as thrush, and feel like thrush; worsening in the days before a period is due. Women can receive months of useless treatments that have little or no effect unless the cause is addressed. I always recommend blood tests for hormone levels with a GP to exclude premature menopause or imbalances. Breastfeeding for some women can also cause vaginal dryness issues which needs to be treated differently than regular thrush.
Luisa had suffered from thrush, constantly for nearly 4 years. A silent ailment for many women, she had rigorously sought medical opinion and treatment. Most people don’t talk about thrush very much, it doesn’t make much of a lunch conversation, and medical treatment is limited in chronic cases. Thrush can severely impact a woman’s quality of life, preventing us from being active and requiring severely limited diets. Some of these may work for a short time, such as the anti-candida diet (I’m not a fan) but do not have long lasting effects.
When I met Luisa, she was wanting to conceive a baby but couldn’t while she was on oral antifungal medications. She was incredibly concerned that her thrush would flare severely if she stopped taking this medication. As a result she had been advised not to conceive by her gynaecologist as she couldn’t take the medication if pregnant, and there were concerns about how unwell she would be without it.
Fortunately Luisa’s blood tests confirmed she doesn’t have early menopause, so we formed a plan.
Starting with ensuring adequate sleep; 8+ hours nightly as many days a week as possible. Next is some symptom relief, with a topical cream I blend myself containing zinc, and calendula, that soothes and provides relief to the area.
In severe cases such as Luisa’s a prescription for a high-quality probiotic can support the body’s natural systems, and it can be used in higher or lower doses depending on symptoms. Luisa started avoiding soap and shower washes, especially liquid soap as it strips the skin of its natural bacteria; it is better to keep the skin as natural as possible.
Diet is a big one, but not in the way that Luisa needed to cut a lot of food out! It was important for her to be eating foods with high nutrients, especially high in protein, including lots of garlic, onions and fresh herbs. To support mucus membranes and immunity she increased her intake of pate and oysters, and you can also take prescribed cod liver oil.
We also worked together on a tailor-made herbal medicine to address immunity, lymphatic support and adrenal support.
Luisa has seen incredible results. In about a month, her thrush disappeared, and she was able to stop taking the antifungal medication. It has been another 3 months since she stopped, and there is no sign of a return.
She is growing comfortable with her health, developing the lovely confidence of being well, and staying well and knowing what to do if any symptoms return. I am so happy for her, and am looking forward to hopefully hearing pregnancy news soon!
A big thanks to @moorhousecreative for the photography.