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Currently Browsing: Travel Medicine

How to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection: Candiasis

  I travel internationally a lot and it isn’t always easy to find over-the-counter yeast infection treatments especially in third world countries. I usually try to bring along a couple of yeast infection treatments on longer trips, but they take up a lot of space in my bag and honestly, sometimes they don’t always work. I’ve had my fair share of recurrent yeast infections that just won’t quit and I’ve learned to not put too much faith in prescription or over-the-counter medicines to solve the problem. We always have yeast in our bodies and in fact, it’s part of a delicate balance that’s not only necessary, but healthy. We don’t want to obliterate the yeast. We want balance. So I’ve learned a few tricks when it comes to treating a yeast infection using stuff that’s available almost anywhere in the world.  Stuff that won’t completely wipe out your intestinal flora or cause other weird side effects.   What is a yeast infection?   Many vaginal yeast infections are caused by an over-proliferation of yeast in the colon (candida albicans—not the yeast you’d use to make bread or beer). What happens in the colon spreads easily and directly to the vagina since the vagina and the rectum are located close to each other on a woman’s body. Normally, the vagina contains a few candida albicans cells and other bacteria that keep the population of candida under control, but a variety of things can cause an imbalance. Then, the candida do a coup and take over causing yeast infection symptoms like itching and vaginal soreness. A yeast infection can cause pain or burning when you pee or have sex. Some women (including myself at times) mistake a yeast infection for a urinary tract infection or cystitis. A clumpy, white, cottage-cheese like discharge is common.   The colon’s involvement in the yeast infection is why many yeast infections include a feeling of being bloated and swollen. I’ve had trouble finding information online about yeast infections in the colon, though I did find an article that talked about the sparsity of data about yeast infections in the colon despite the fact that they do happen [1]. I spent several years going to the doctor every other month for urinary tract infections and cystitis and every-so-often, the doctor would tell me that my problem was yeast and that I should be particularly hygienic whenever I’d wipe myself (“front to back”, they’d say…as though I... read more

Typhoid Fever Prevention

I wish that I could rely on my doctor to make sure that I have all the medications I might need while traveling in developing countries, but I can’t. Even if my doctor prescribes medications to deal with a nasty case of typhoid, for example, it’s possible that the prescription will kill me if the disease doesn’t. Prescription medications aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, unfortunately and patients need to beware and read all the fine print. Though there are situations warranting the use of prescription meds, the fact is, the more people use these prescription medications, the more resistant bacteria become to them. Pharmaceutical companies are in a race to keep up with this problem, but they’re also in a race to keep the public under-informed about the value of herbal or alternative medications when treating or preventing certain diseases like typhoid. Typhoid fever or enteric fever is a disease that’s common throughout the world. It occurs when someone ingests food or water that’s been contaminated with the feces of a person infected with Salmonella typhi. With the use of sanitation techniques, Typhoid fever has become less prevalent but in countries like India, people are 18 times more likely to contract the disease. For travelers to India, preventing Typhoid is extremely important. Typhoid fever can totally ruin a vacation. There is an oral typhoid vaccine that’s a must for anyone traveling abroad. The vaccine doesn’t always work though. Only about 50% to 80% of the people who receive the vaccine are protected. So even though my husband and daughter have been vaccinated, the odds are decent that if we eat something contaminated with Salmonella typhi that one of us will end up getting sick. Thus, I’ve been compelled to look up ways to prevent Typhoid fever using herbs. When traveling to developing countries, taking 3 drops of grapefruit seed extract per day doesn’t hurt anything and may be able to prevent the development of typhoid fever. Of course, it’s wise to get vaccinated before traveling as well, but carrying grapefruit seed extract is easy and a little goes a long way. Some people claim that a dose of 3 to 15 drops of grapefruit seed extract can help prevent the onset of a stomach upset if they feel something coming on. The extract is bitter and bitter things have a tonic effect on the digestive system. It’s worth a try if you have grapefruit seed extract available... read more

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