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Don't Douche With Yogurt ?Eat It!

Posting Date: 10/14/2002

Q. I have infrequent vaginal yeast infections, but I don?t like to use creams like Monistat. They were once prescribed by doctors and now are available over the counter, but I prefer a more natural approach.

I heard about douching with plain yogurt. I was a little squeamish at first, but have tried it and it works fairly effectively.

Is this a legitimate natural remedy? How does the medical community see it? And should I worry about recurrences?

A. Women have been telling each other about this yeast infection remedy for decades. But the only study we?ve seen had women eat yogurt instead of douching with it (Annals of Internal Medicine, March 1, 1992). The dose was one cup daily of yogurt with live Lactobacillus acidophilus cultures, such as Colombo brand. Women eating yogurt were three times less likely to develop a recurring infection.

Many doctors recoil at the thought of a yogurt douche, but none can object to women eating yogurt. Just check the label to make sure it contains live culture, and you should reduce your chance of another infection.

Q. I read that if you rub fresh catnip on your skin or clothes it will act as a mosquito repellent. I grow catnip for my cat, so I crushed a few leaves and rubbed them on my arms and legs. Now how do I get rid of all the neighborhood cats? And what?s best to put on all the scratches on my torn flesh?

A. We hope you?re pulling our legs about the scratches, but your question is a good reminder that remedies may provoke unanticipated results. Another reader experienced a severe skin reaction (not cat scratches) after rubbing catnip on her arms.

Cat scratches can become infected easily. If you do get scratched, wash the area thoroughly right away with soap and water. If it gets infected, see your physician.

Q. I keep hearing about the value of tea over coffee. Would the benefits also apply to iced tea? What about canned iced tea?