1. Why do I keep feeling hunger even after eating a full and balanced meal?
It’s possible that your constant need to satisfy your hunger is related to the overgrowth of our least favorite infection – the overgrowth of candida in your body. If you are not already aware of candida, let me refresh your memory. We have billions, if not trillions, of bacteria inside our gut. The good news it that we all have good gut bacteria. Alongside our good bacteria live a balanced mix of yeast. When the balance between the two is disrupted and the good bacteria are present in less numbers than the pesky yeast, then a candida overgrowth is imminent.
If you should know one thing about candida is that it lives off sugar and carb. If left unchecked, it will multiply and symptoms can show up in a person’s behavior and mood, eating habits and much more. When disrupted in the vaginal cells, it shows up as a vaginal yeast infection. Because candida thrives on sugar and carb, to keep its hold in the body, it causes the person to be constantly hungry and crave foods that contain high sugar and carbs in them.
Research shows that most of our hormones are made up in our intestines, including the hormones that regulate eating behaviours and appetite. If your gut is not healthy, your good bacteria will be taken over by the opportunistic Candida, which will do its best to survive at all costs. To recalibrate the balance of your good gut bacteria and keep a tight lid on candida, limit your carb and sugar intake. If you are unsure if your constant hunger and craving is related to candida, take the following comprehensive test which can give you an idea of whether you should be concerned or not: https://quiz.yeastinfection.org/
2. I have a tingling feeling in my nipples and it hurts when my baby latches on if he has a good latch.
A breastfeeding mother has already so many things to worry about – the constant attention from the baby, ensuring baby is well fed, clothed and clean, taking care of other children if there are any, etc. Add to the mix, a tough time breastfeeding her little one. A first time mother may find that there are lots of things that come with breastfeeding – both good and bad. First and foremost, the breastfeeding mother must make sure that the baby’s latch on her breast is correct. Most of the pain that mothers encounter is always due to the poor latch of the baby. Once you and your baby have mastered the art of proper latching, and you find that your nipples are still sore, tingle or are in pain after many weeks, it can be very concerning and stressful.
Nipple soreness can be due to many reasons: improper latch, not properly taking care of cracked nipples, using a pump incorrectly, or an infection. If you and your baby have had pain free nursing prior to this feeling, you most likely have a nipple thrush. Symptoms include a burning sensation, pain during and after breastfeeding, inflammation and swelling, irritation. It could be that you do not feel all symptoms but only one in your breast, and in that case, you can examine your baby’s mouth to see if you find a white coating on their tongue. Thrush in babies can also manifest itself as a nasty diaper rash. It is worth noting that some mothers get tingling sensation during the let-down reflux. This is when the milk is flowing down from your breast when the baby is sucking.
If you are uncertain about having thrush, it is important that you visit your doctor for a proper diagnosis as soon as you can. Candida is opportunistic. It will grow and spread quickly if you do not take the appropriate actions. In the meantime, you can use raw unrefined coconut oil on your breasts. It can help with the burning sensation and even kill yeast if used regularly. Similarly, you can use coconut oil to treat baby’s yeast infection rash.
3. I have a bad case of acid reflux. How can I treat it?
Acid reflux is common both in adults and babies. It happens when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) in our stomach is unable to close all the way or when it opens too often, pushing up the acid produced by your stomach. This causes heartburn and feels very uncomfortable. Acid reflux is further exuberated if your diet consists of junk food, alcohol, caffeine, if you smoke or if you are overweight, if you eat large meals before your bedtime.
If you are constantly battling with heartburn or acid reflux, you may want to look into the prevalence of Helicobacter pylori bacterial infection in your body. H. Pylori is known to cause ulcers, but recent studies demonstrate that it can also cause reflux. It can be identified using a simple blood or breath test. If you do have h. pylori, treating this bacterial infection can eliminate reflux. However, you will have to ensure that you treat this bacteria in the appropriate manner. Medications prescribed to help with this bacteria may kill other good bacteria, leaving candida to multiply and overgrow in your body, which we all know is not something you want to happen in your body.
Eric Bakker has a very comprehensive and detailed article on reflux and h. pylori which you can read here: https://ericbakker.com/heartburn/. You can also check out this video that he has created on the subject here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFsLIMXebBo
4. Why does my vagina have a fishy odor? I don’t see any discharge.
First, let’s make it clear that every woman has a natural odor down there. The odor can change throughout a menstrual cycle. It can also be impacted by what she eats during the day. Many times, poor hygiene or lack of it, tight clothing which cling to your lower body that trap bacteria can cause unpleasant smells. Not all odors or smells are innocent though. STDs can cause a certain odor as well. Similarly, an infection, an overgrowth of bacteria, can cause a fishy odor too.
Symptoms of a candida overgrowth are mostly vaginal itching, swelling around the labia, burning during or pain during sex and urination. A yeast infection also causes vaginal discharge, similar looking to a cottage cheese. However, a smelly happens when there is an imbalance of bacteria and yeast causing a bacterial vaginosis. In a BV, the normal bacteria in your vagina overgrows compared to other organisms.
If you suspect that you have a yeast infection, do not use scented products which claim to help take away the odor. They can disturb the natural fluids, which help in cleaning the vagina, that exist in there. These products can also cause irritation which can lead to uncomfortable feelings. For at home remedy, clear the area outside of your vagina with water and soap. Pat it dry so that yeast does not multiply as it loves moist and dark places.
5. I keep getting vaginal discharge, but my general doctor said I didn’t have anything.
Vaginal discharge most often is an indication of a yeast infection. This happens when candida in the vaginal area overgrows. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are the following: itching around the vaginal area, burning sensation, swelling of the vagina, cottage cheese like discharge, pain during sex, rash around the vaginal area. Unlike bacterial vaginosis, a vaginal yeast infection does not cause any strong odor.
Because some symptoms of the yeast infection can resemble STIs, many professionals discourage patients from self diagnosing themselves. In the event that the infection is an STI, treating it for yeast infection might prolong the whole process of healing. Buying over the counter products to treat the infection may further cause itchiness and burning. If your doctor is unsure that you have a yeast infection based on your symptoms, you can ask them to conduct an inspection of the vagina and vulva to see if any signs of infection can be seen. You can also ask them to take a sample of your vaginal secretions and make a diagnosis based on that.
Please note that women get vaginal discharge after giving birth. This discharge is different from the discharge one would get if they have a yeast infection. After birth, women shed a lot blood, tissue from the lining of the uterus and bacteria. No treatment is required for this sort of discharge as it’s a normal part of post partum period.