10 Ways to Keep the Yeast from Triggering IBS - dummies

10 Ways to Keep the Yeast from Triggering IBS

By Carolyn Dean, L. Christine Wheeler

Yeast has been around forever; it’s not some mystery bug just now discovered. The real mystery is why it’s not recognized as a trigger for IBS. It lives happily and harmlessly in your gut as tiny little yeast buds playing tag with good bacteria and even the occasional parasite.

But yeast turns into a rampaging monster when the conditions in your gut are right. Trouble can start when you take antibiotics that kill all the good bacteria in your gut that serve as a barrier to keep yeast in check. If you feed yeast with lots of sugar and carbs and nothing to check its growth, it turns into an invading army of threads.

How can a thread be dangerous? The problem isn’t a thread — it’s a billion threads that together can irritate and even penetrate the gut lining. This penetration causes a recognized medical condition called leaky gut that allows the absorption of yeast toxins into the blood stream. Here are ten ways to keep yeast under wraps so you don’t have to deal with these conditions.

How to quickly identify a yeast-related flare-up

Answering the following seven fungal questions can give you a heads up on what’s causing those gut symptoms that you think are untreatable IBS. If you answer yes to two or more bullets, it’s likely yeast, which means it’s treatable and you’re ahead of the game.

  • Have you recently taken antibiotics?

  • Do you crave sugar?

  • Do you feel worse on wet, damp days or in moldy places?

  • Do you feel you have extremely low energy?

  • Are you bothered by vaginal burning, itching, or discharge?

  • Do you have frequent sinus infections?

  • Do you suffer from burning, itching, or tearing of the eyes and ears?

Make sure your doctor considers all courses of action

Doctors simply don’t learn about yeast overgrowth in medical school. Most either think of yeast problems as either vaginitis (vaginal inflammation) or the worst case scenario that it’s infecting your blood and is life threatening and only happens in the hospital from IV antibiotics, cancer chemotherapy, or AIDS. You may have to suggest the third option: that what you have is an overgrowth of yeast in your intestines.

Even if your doctor does understand the intestinal option, he may think the treatment is simply a matter of giving you an antifungal drug like Nystatin or Diflucan for a week or two. You can use an antifungal, but the best results come from a long-term diet, probiotics (supplements that replace good bacteria), and natural antifungals.

Starve yeast

Like annoying party guests, if you feed yeast, it will come, and if you don’t feed it, it will go. Simple. All you have to do is begin a very strict anti-yeast diet. For the first few weeks, avoid sugar, dairy, gluten grains (rye, wheat, and barley), most fruit, and fermented foods.

What’s left? Plenty: dozens of vegetables, some fruit, gluten-free grains (millet, rice, amaranth, kamut, quinoa, and oats), fish, and antibiotic- and hormone-free chicken, turkey, lamb, and beef.

Replace yeast

Add lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria to your diet in the form of organic yogurt without added sugar. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a good bacteria, called a probiotic, that helps build up the normal bacteria in the bowel as the yeast are killed off and leave vacancies in the intestines and vagina. This bacteria is a friendly one that produces lactic acid that poisons yeast and keeps it in check.

You can also take lactobacillus acidophilus capsules. You usually take the capsules on an empty stomach at least one hour before or two hours after food. Most people take them before bed and allow the lactobacillus acidophilus to populate their bowels overnight.

Please be aware of the other ingredients in probiotic yogurts, specifically sugar. If you’re on mission to purge yeast from your system, eating any kind sugary yogurt, probiotic or not, isn’t going to help matters at all — it just feeds the yeast.

Kill yeast in the gut

You can begin getting yeast under control by eating antifungal foods that are natural yeast killers; garlic, onions, coconut milk, and coconut oil are a few of the most common ones. You can also add antifungal herbs such as hops and Pau d’Arco (also called Lapacho or Taheebo) taken in the form of herbal tea.

A comprehensive treatment for killing yeast and eliminating yeast toxins includes psyllium powder, bentonite clay liquid, and liquid caprylic acid (caproyl).

Treat yeast where it lies

Yeast problems may start in the intestines, but they can cause aggravation in various parts of the body if the yeast spreads. The following list gives you some tips for dealing with these secondary yeast sources:

  • Vagina/penis: Vaginal yeast can be treated locally with douches or suppositories. You can buy all sorts of drugstore antifungal vaginal creams and suppositories over the counter, but they may not work unless you also do the yeast-free diet and probiotics.

    Yeast can form a redness and irritation around the head of the penis. You can treat it with vaginal antifungal cream or rinse it with a boric acid wash or diluted yogurt. But diet and probiotics are also a must.

  • Sinuses: You can treat yeast in the sinuses with a neti pot. Health food or yoga supply stores carry neti pots, items specifically designed with a spout that fits into one nostril and allows saline water to flow through the sinuses and out the other nostril. Add one drop of tea tree oil for an antifungal effect.

  • Nails: Fungal nails are difficult to treat, especially if you don’t treat the whole body. Some of the drugs used to treat fungal nails are very harsh; some natural treatments include rubbing tea tree oil or oregano oil into the nails once or twice per day.

Avoid the overuse of antibiotics

As a society, Americans use way too many antibiotics. Bacteria are becoming resistant to most current antibiotics, which leads researchers to create stronger drugs, which kill even more of the good bacteria in your body and give yeast a chance to take hold.

Treat infections with supplements

The best way to avoid taking medications and ending up in the hospital is to stay healthy. Sounds silly, right? But with the right tools such as supplements, you can avoid unnecessary medications that can lead to side effects and more meds for the side effects.

Help with herbs

Herbal helpers have been around for centuries. Remember to stop yourself before you put sugar in your herbal tea; you may not be using antibiotics, but you still don’t want to feed yeast. Keep it natural!

Heal with homeopathy

Homeopathy is a form of medicine that uses mostly plants and mineral extracts that are diluted in alcohol or water to infinitesimal amounts. When used correctly, it has no side effects, does not interact with medications, and can be used safely by pregnant women and infants.