Are Vaginal Yeast Infections a Mind Body Syndrome?

By Lorraine Faehndrich

If you’ve struggled with chronic vaginal yeast infections, whatever else you’re doing to heal, a mind-body approach should be part of your plan!

I receive regular emails from women wondering if their vaginal yeast infections can have mind body causes, so I wanted to share my thoughts on that with you today.

I’m sure the number of emails I receive has something to do with the fact that women can’t get rid of their vaginal yeast infections.

No matter what they do (medically or alternatively) to heal their bodies, their vaginal yeast infections keep coming back.

That was my experience too, at least until I began using a mind body approach.

Here’s a recent email I received….

“Do you think vaginal yeast infections can also be a mind body thing? I have spent so much money on different homeopathic medicines etc, but I am starting to wonder if this is just another kind of mind body pain?”

Here’s my reply…

“In my experience vaginal yeast infections and vaginal yeast infection like symptoms can be mind body. Of course it’s important to see your doctor and know for sure what you’re dealing with. But if you’ve done that, and your symptoms keep coming back, there’s a good chance a mind body approach will help.”

What I see is that the root cause of chronic vaginal yeast infections can be, and often is mind body.

My Experience with Chronic Vaginal Yeast Infections:

Before vulvar pain, I struggled (and I mean struggled) with chronic vaginal yeast infections for years.

I tried everything to get rid of them, including all the natural remedies for vaginal yeast infections you can imagine. The usual over the counter topical treatments (their own special kind of torture), diflucan, natural suppositiories (of every kind including tea tree oil and boric acid), both to treat and prevent yeast infections, probiotics, yogurt, garlic, supplements, an anti-candida diet (I didn’t even look at fruit or sugar! :)), acupuncture, herbs, and an herbal soak.

The herbal soak was the most helpful in slowing down a full blown infection when I felt one coming on, but NONE of these things ever healed my body.

Eventually, my chronic vaginal yeast infections turned into chronic vulvar pain, and I turned to a mind body approach to get to the root of that. To learn more about how I relieved vulvar pain (and chronic vaginal yeast infections) click here to read “How My Body Helped Me Relieve Pelvic Pain”.

I haven’t had a vaginal yeast infection, or any type of vulvar pain, since using a mind body approach.

That was over 10 years ago.

I do nothing special with my diet or anything else to prevent yeast. I don’t use any of the common natural remedies for vaginal yeast infections. I don’t take any supplements except an occasional multivitamin when I think of it. I eat a mostly healthy whole foods diet, including lots of greens, but I also drink coffee, and eat sugar, wheat and dairy (including ice cream) regularly. I’m not going for acupuncture, homeopathy, PT, or any other treatments.

What do I do?

In my life now, I stay tuned into my body and inner wisdom. I breathe more. I do my best to welcome my emotions. I don’t let stressful scary thoughts get out of control. When I am triggered I take the time to work with my thoughts and turn them around.

I have a daily practice of connecting to myself, and make a conscious choice to bring more pleasure and joy into my body and my life.

As a result, after struggling with chronic vaginal yeast infections and vulvar pain for most of my early adult life, I haven’t had any type of infection or other gynecological issue in over 10 years.

Based on my experience, and the similar results I see with my private clients, and the women who go through the Healing Female Pain program, I would say that vaginal yeast infections (as well as other chronic infections like UTIs) have a mind body component.

It seems to me that the same mind body factors that contribute to vulvodynia, painful sex, and other types of pelvic pain, can be at the root of these infections as well.

While there are no studies I know of that can prove this, studies have shown that there is a correlation between childhood sexual abuse and many gynecological conditions, including yeast infections and pelvic pain.

This makes so much sense to me.

We know that trauma, including sexual trauma, has a significant impact on the body and nervous system.

And you don’t have to have been sexually abused or assaulted to have experienced trauma of some kind that is impacting your body and pelvic health.

Almost all of the women I work with carry shame, disgust, fear or some kind of negative conditioning around their body or sexuality.

All of these things have a huge impact on almost every system in our body, including our immune system.

So, if you’re struggling with chronic vaginal yeast infections or other chronic infections like UTIs, I would say that whatever else you’re doing to heal, a mind body approach should be part of your plan!

Here’s what I recommend for chronic vaginal yeast infections…

  1. Of course, the first step is to see your doctor, and make sure they test for yeast. Vaginal yeast infection like symptoms can be present without an active infection, and since there are significant negative effects of most medications that eliminate yeast, you don’t want to treat for yeast if you don’t have it.
  2. If you do have a confirmed yeast infection, avoid using harsh over the counter topical treatments if you can. They irritate the vulva, and may contribute to ongoing pain. Ask your doctor about other options.
  3. Start connecting to your body and exploring a mind body approach! This is the most powerful natural remedy I know of for healing vaginal yeast infections. My Healing Female Pain program walks you step by step through a mind body approach to relieving vulvar pain and creating pelvic health. There are also several posts on my blog that can help you get started.

If you’ve struggled with chronic vaginal yeast infections and haven’t found answers, I know what you’re going through, and I want you to know that you can heal. I have, and I’ve seen so many other women transform their pelvic health, everything from chronic yeast and bladder infections to painful sex, using a mind body approach.

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