homeopathy for women: Treating vaginitis with homeopathy

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homeopathy for women: Treating vaginitis with homeopathy

Vaginal infections are one of the most common reasons that women come for gynecologic care. In many cases, these infections are recurrent, causing considerable discomfort for the woman, and sometimes preventing the enjoyment of sexual intercourse. Some women develop a sense of desperation, suffering from vaginal symptoms more often than not and wondering if they will ever feel normal again. Most of these women have tried a variety of allopathic treatments, usually antifungal medications, either in a cream or oral form, often Flagyl, and sometimes antibiotics. Many women with persistent vaginitis have also tried more natural remedies such as boric acid suppositories, vaginal applications of yogurt or garlic, or a variety of douches -- without consistent success (though these treatments are often quite effective for milder cases of vaginitis). It is usually after considerable suffering and frustration that someone tells the woman about homeopathy. In my experience, she is usually willing to try just about anything by that point.

The most common symptom associated with vaginitis is a vaginal discharge, usually thick and creamy, whitish, or yellowish, however the color, texture, and amount varies greatly. The discharge may or may not always be present. The rubrics I use most commonly for the discharge are in the chapter GENITALIA -- FEMALE, under the main rubric of "leucorrhea." These include "acrid/excoriating," "albuminous," "burning," "copious," "cream-like," "offensive," "thick," and "white."

Unfortunately, Kent's repertory is incomplete in the area of specific odors of the discharge. Sanicula is the only remedy listed for fish-brine odor, and this is a very common symptom which is cured by many remedies in addition to Sanicula. Also extremely common is itching of the vagina and labia. If the itching is concomitant with the discharge, then the rubric, "Itching from leucorrhea," may be helpful. Often the itching is of the labia, not the vagina, which is not clearly differentiated by Kent. "Voluptuous itching," in which there is a kind of sensual satisfaction from scratching, narrows down the remedy choices, but, in my experience, does not occur very frequently. Next in frequency of symptoms is some sort of pain, often soreness of the labia or vagina, sometimes burning, aching, or other types of pain, or a general sensitivity of the vaginal area. Again, we have to look under the vaginal rubrics rather than under separate listings for labial pain. (Even under "irritation, vagina" only Caulophyllum and Helonias are listed.) Also common are vaginal or labial swelling and redness, and there may be an occasional numbness and/or tingling or vaginismus. I don't find the rubric "inflammation, vagina" to be very helpful. Modalities such as better or worse before, after, or during the menses, during pregnancy, or during or after coition are useful in narrowing down the remedy selections as is a definite decrease or increase in sexual desire.

It is important to remember that, according to homeopathic philosophy, the choice of the correct remedy is not dependent on isolating and naming a specific infectious organism. We must match the remedy to the specific symptoms. The remedy choice is not affected by the laboratory diagnosis (non-specific vaginitis, Gardinerella, Candida, etc.) though it is good medical practice to make this determination if it has not been performed previously.

Hahnemann wrote about removing impediments to cure. In the case of vaginitis, such an impediment may be excessive consumption of sugar or alcohol, the use of birth control pills or contraceptive sponges, occasionally the use of a diaphragm or a cervical cap, improper hygiene, antibiotics, or the passing of an infection back and forth between the woman and her partner.

I would like to share a few cases of women whose vaginitis responded quite well to homeopathic treatment. I would also be very happy to hear the homeopathic success stories of Resonance readers.

Joyce is a 28-year-old woman who came to see me in late October 1989, complaining of chronic vaginal yeast infections ocurring off and on since her early 20's. She suffered from burning of the vagina(3) and intense itching(3) and swelling(3) of the labia. She could scratch until the area would become raw(3).

She had a thick, yellow vaginal discharge(2). The symptoms had been better during the previous two years, during which time she had been celibate; the symptoms were aggravated by coition(2). Cultures of the discharge had repeatedly shown yeast, and the doctors at a local community clinic had told her that it was more profuse yeast than they had ever seen. She had terrible gas(3) and bloating(2), which was worse from 2 pm until dinner time(2) and worse after eating(2), and abdominal rumbling. A recent stool culture had tested positive for intestinal Candida.

Her face was oily(2), and she had athlete's foot which manifested as peeling of the skin between her toes. Her hair had been graying since her early 20's. She had a congenital floppy mitral valve with a midsystolic click, audible on examination of her heart. Her periodic left knee pain began after a skiing injury in the early 80's. She had a tendency toward hypoglycemic irritability. Her periods were regular, very heavy, and clotted. She had a light moustache. Her sexual energy was moderately high. Her hands were chilly and she loved the sun. She described herself as moody(2), irritable(2),introspective(2), withdrawn(2), and too serious(2). She could be impatient(1) and snappy(1). She was offended quite easily(2).

She had been molested by her father at age 14 and she was feeling considerable resentment toward him. She wanted to pursue a career in art but she had obtained a degree in business at her father's suggestion. She desired sweets(3), salt(2), French fries(3), meat(2), and pasta(3). She was receiving Lycopodium daily from another homeopath when she came to see me. It had taken care of her PMS, but not her other symptoms.

I prescribed Sulphur 6c three times a day for Joyce. I also gave her Kreosotum 30c as needed for acute flare-ups of the vaginitis. At her follow-up visit one month later, she reported an improvement of her gas, with no rumbling. There were no vaginal symptoms. Her energy was better and she was free of her previous "afternoon slows." She was feeling even more resentment coming up toward her father, which we addressed in counseling and hypnosis sessions. She had used the Kreosotum periodically, with only temporary relief.

In February she saw me after having visited her father, and we had five family therapy sessions in the next five days. She had been experiencing a worsening of her vaginitis. The burning, itching, and swelling were terrible, though she did not allow herself to scratch. The gas was better, but she was now hungry all the time. She was eating sweets like crazy, and she also wanted salt, fat, and cheese. Her hands were still cold.

At this time I prescribed Nitric acid, again 6c three times daily, and I considered Caladium as a second choice. That was nearly five months ago and she continues to do quite well. I have raised the potency to 30c once a day. She continues to be free of vaginal symptoms; her digestion has remained improved; her athlete's foot is much better; and she is doing quite well mentally and emotionally. She also mentioned that she no longer has strong-smelling urine after eating asparagus. I have instructed her to discontinue the remedy after one more month and I will then reevaluate her case.

The next case is that of a close friend treated by one of my colleagues, Ellen Goldman, N.D. Janis was in her first trimester of her first pregnancy when she developed a terrible case of vaginal yeast, which she described as "insufferable itching" of the labia and introitus, and redness and inflammation of the labia. There was no discharge. She had tried a number of natural remedies, and she was "going mad" with the itching. She was at the point of resorting to allopathic treatment. She was given one dose of Caladium 200c which relieved the itching within five minutes, never to return!

The third case is that of Cynthia, a 22-year-old mother of two, who came because of recurrent yeast and bladder infections. She had recently been diagnosed with endometriosis, but one year earlier she had tested positive for gonorrhea, non-specific vaginitis, and herpes of the inner labia, all at the same time. She complained of labial itching(3), which she scratched until it bled. She told me that the vaginal itching began at age three or four, and that she was first diagnosed with vaginal yeast at age 15. She had a scant, white, thick vaginal discharge(1). There was burning pain in the vagina and labia, which was worse after sexual intercourse(2). She could suffer from herpes outbreaks as often as once or twice a week, at which time the vagina was quite painful(2). Zovirax gave no relief.

She had a bruised, sore feeling in the region of the fight ovary which was nearly constant. She also had burning of the urethra, which appeared occasionally, at the beginning of or during urination. The urethral burning was worse after sexual intercourse(2). In the early evening she had intermittent throbbing in both temples, a pattern which had begun in her teens. She was somewhat chilly. She slept soundly on her left side. She complained of an overall fatigue and a tendency to get infections easily since the birth of her first son, four years earlier.

She struck me as being quite passive and immature, with a tendency toward naivete, a combination which could get her into trouble. She did not stand up for herself unless she was pushed into a corner. Others told her that she let her anger bottle up inside. She was not very aware of her own feelings. She described herself as "being in her own world."

She met a Greek man during a one-night layover in Athens, while on her way to study in Germany, and she became pregnant. She allowed him to come home with her to the U.S. although she did not love him, and she let him live with her and her mother. She never trusted him, but she did not ask him to leave. She suspected that he was sexually abusing her sons, but she watched passively, holding her anger inside, while he interacted with them in ways that seemed inappropriate to her. Eventually, she asked him to leave.

During her pregnancy with her second child, she lived on one Diet Coke per day. Her weight dropped to 85 pounds and she started living with a "horribly abusive, critical man." She wanted to be taken care of(3), and she wanted her problems to go away by themselves(3). "The less I have to deal with, the better." She said she was passive most of the time, except when her boys were in danger. She was brought to the appointment, in fact, by her mother, who subsequently paid for her to get a cervical cap, because she did not want to take the responsibility, herself, for not becoming pregnant again. She desired grapes(2), Mexican food(2), spicy food(2) and carbonated beverages(2).

I first prescribed Kreosotum 30c as needed due to the intensity of the vaginal symptoms, but without success. Then, after reevaluating the case, with an emphasis on her passivity, the history of chronic headaches, and the cystitis, which was worse from sexual intercourse, I gave her Staphysagria 30c daily. I gave a daily remedy because she had recently received a three-month Provera injection for birth control, which I was afraid might interfere with a high-potency remedy. I thought a lot about Medorrhinum, given her history of gonorrhea, Lycopodium (right-sided ovarian pain, passivity, and a history of sexual promiscuity), and Baryta carbonica because of her extreme immaturity, although there were no confirmatory symptoms.

She experienced an aggravation for three days after the remedy. Her anger flared up and she became like a "dragon lady." Then her energy improved and her urethral pain, vaginal symptoms, and headaches all went away. She had no herpes outbreaks and her moods evened out. She had a brief relapse of all of her symptoms alter exposure to a strong lavender oil, but then she felt quite well again. She had some improvement, though not dramatic, in the right ovarian pain. I am watching this case carefully. Cynthia has definitely responded well to the Staphysagria, however a miasmatic or other remedy is likely to come up at some point.

There are many other remedies to consider for the treatment of vaginitis. These cases are intended to provide a sampling of some useful remedies and to show how successful homeopathy can be in treating vaginitis.

International Foundation for Homeopathy.

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By Judyth Reichenberg-Ullman

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