Chronic Yeast Infections


by Bruce Semon, M.D., Ph.D.

Yeast infections which are recurrent are a curse for many women. How are they related to Candida albicans? Read more to find out how changing diet, cooking differently, and taking nystatin may help women who suffer from these infections.

This page is based on the clinical experience and research of Bruce Semon, M.D., Ph.D., a board certified doctor who also has a Ph.D. in Nutrition.

This page contains information about women’s recurrent yeast infections, and how to cure these infections by changing diet.

The Problem

Many women have recurrent yeast infections. They apply anti-fungal cremes, they take the “once a day” medication, but nothing works. Why do such infections recur?  Also, why does Diflucan not work?

Such infections are caused by the yeast Candida albicans. This yeast is found in the intestinal tract and in the mouth and is also found in the birth canal. Small amounts of this yeast in the birth canal do not cause problems but when the numbers of such yeast increase, pain and inflammation result. The numbers of this yeast increase significantly in all of these sites after the use of antibiotics. Many women have such infections only after antibiotic use but in some of these women, the infections can come back even without antibiotics.

The yeast Candida albicans has a number of tricks to help it evade the body’s immune system. Candida has several forms, including one which is that of a fungus. As Candida changes forms, it can change the markers on its surface, so that it looks different to the body’s immune system. In other words, it is a moving target. In addition, Candida can suppress the body’s immune response to itself. Candida is known to release a number of factors, several of which seem to be pieces of its capsule. When these factors are tested with cells from the body’s immune system, the result is suppression of the immune response of these cells. Such immunosuppressive factors have been found in the blood of people with significant yeast infections.

The case of Marilyn

Marilyn (not her real name) came in at the age of 43 and complained of chronic female yeast infections for 14 years. She had tried all possible treatments for these yeast infections including Gentian violet, boric acid suppositories, Nizoral pills (a systemic anti-yeast medicine) and she had been tested for diabetes. Now she was using Monistat creme. She said that she had problems with dairy products. Her worst yeast infections were prior to her periods. She also had occasional bronchitis. She had decreased energy. She was taking an anti-depressant She had stress headaches when working. She had taken oral contraceptive pills for three years over a ten year period. She was getting bronchitis about three to four times per year for which she was taking antibiotics.

Marilyn came back four weeks later after starting the anti-yeast diet and nystatin and reported that she felt much better. She had more energy and was sleeping better. The symptoms of her yeast infection were gone. She had had some mild symptoms after stopping part of the therapy, so she restarted them with excellent results.

In summary, Marilyn had suffered from a problem for 14 years, causing itching and pain, and she was better within 4 weeks on the anti-yeast treatment Dr. Semon had prescribed!

Dr. Semon has treated many patients with irritable bowel syndrome, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, fibromyalgia, and other seemingly intractible problems with similar results. All of these patients were at their wits’ end. They had been told they should learn to live with their problems. But they didn’t have to.

How does such knowledge help in understanding why yeast infections recur?

The major location of yeast in the body is in intestinal tract. The quantity of yeast found in the intestinal tract is much larger than the quantitiy of yeast found in the birth canal. In the intestinal tract, the yeast share space with the bacteria also resident there. After the use of antibiotics, the yeast grow to fill in the space left by the removal of the bacteria.

Even after the antibiotics have been stopped, the yeast continue to grow at a higher level.

Yeast make many chemical compounds, which the yeast release. Many of these compounds kill bacteria. These chemical compounds prevent the bacteria from coming back, enabling the yeast to grow at a higher level. These chemical compounds are toxic to humans and can cause such problems as headaches, fatigue and depression. Pregnancy and the use of birth control pills can also make yeast grow more.

From the intestinal tract, Candida albicans can release immunosuppressive factors, which again enable it to grow at a higher level. These immunosuppressive factors will circulate and prevent the body’s immune system from responding to and clearing yeast at other sites, such as the birth canal. So even after an anti-fungal creme is applied to a yeast infection, the yeast which remain can grow back because the body’s immune response to such yeast is suppressed by factors released by Candida in the intestinal tract. As long as the intestinal yeast is present and is making and releasing immunosuppressive factors, the body’s immune system will have a difficult time clearing yeast from that area of the body.

To clear yeast from that area, the yeast in the intestinal tract need to be cleared first.

The way to reverse the problem of yeast in the intestine is to change diet so the person suffering from these infections no longer takes in toxic chemicals. I explain more of this below. Second, they should take the anti-yeast drug nystatin. This drug is made by a bacteria in the soil and is not absorbed by humans. Nystatin kills the yeast living in the intestinal tract.

Fortunately, because nystatin is not absorbed, nystatin causes no side effects except for a little nausea. No harmful side effects have ever been caused by the use of nystatin. There is no risk to trying this therapy.

I have treated many women for chronic yeast infection by treating intestinal yeast and all have improved.  Like Marilyn, many had been on medications like Diflucan, which didn’t work.  Click here to find out why it doesn’t work.

The diet also needs to be changed for nystatin to work.

The diet for Candida problems consists of removing fermented foods from the diet.  I explain this in great detail on another page.  Click here to go to that page. The worst offenders are alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beer, vinegar, barley malt, chocolate, pickles, and aged cheese. I explain the diet very thoroughly, including how to implement the diet for children, in An Extraordinary Power to Heal and Feast Without Yeast:4 Stages to Better Health. Feast Without Yeast has more than 225 recipes that are easy to make and taste great! Our new cookbook, Extraordinary Foods for the Everyday Kitchen contains more than 125 additional new, original recipes and more than 60 menus to help you plan meals.