Yeast Q&A

QUESTION: Can yeast be passed back and forth between adults, and cause a problem for an intact man? 


Yes -- anything flora/microorganism related easily goes back and forth from one partner to another. However, this is not limited to intact adults. There are many 'yeasty' non-intact men who also pass yeast 'infections' back and forth between themselves and their partner. 

Yeast lives naturally on all humans, on all mammals, and everywhere in nature. It is normal (and even healthy) to have some. The problems becomes when yeast spores overgrow. This is easier done on some people than others, depending on a variety of factors (diet being one, and how someone baths/showers/or cares for their body is another). 

Many people are under the mistaken belief that they should use soap on the genitals to decrease yeast - this is counter productive and tends to disrupt flora. Or, it could be that things were disrupted from a young age when parents used soap on a child, or a child eats a hearty amount of processed (and sugary) non-foods. A child may grow up thinking they "smell" if they don't use soap -- but this is solely because the flora of the genitals became disrupted in the first place. In their healthy, natural, clean state (i.e. washed regularly with simply warm water), the human genitals are able to maintain their own balance. 

Babies who are in diapers also have the perfect environment for yeast to flourish -- warm, moist, with a sugar-rich diet (human milk or a substitute - necessary and very important for human infant brain and body growth, but with the potential to nourish yeast as well). A youngster can get into a cycle of feeding yeast (processed, sugary foods and drinks), supporting the habitat in which it grows, and then well-meaning parents do things to try and over clean (soaps, scrubs), or apply things to the diaper area that they hear of in parenting threads (cornstarch, powders, flour, lotion, essential oils, human milk, etc.), and make the situation worse. Thankfully, these cycles are easy to break free from, but it takes the willingness to step back and be more hands-off while the body rebalances. 

Some simple ways to make the body less likely to experience yeast overgrowth: 

1) Showers under warm water only (no soap, not even 'natural' soap on the genitals).

2) Warm baths in epsom salt (and a little boron salt if desired - another anti-fungal natural mineral) -- 2 cups plain epsom salt (no perfumes or oils added), 2 Tablespoons boron (Borax is the most commonly sold refined brand of natural boron).

3) Air dry - go underwear free at home when it is practical to do so (if you live in a private place, even being in the sunshine nude is healing for the body, and sunlight plus fresh air aids the skin and genitals in rebalancing microflora).

4) Use only 100% cotton underwear of your chosen type - not too tight against the skin; not those with lining that is non-breathable.

5) Increase whole food plants in the diet (and items like garlic, lemons, onions, ginger root, turmeric root, black seed oil, d-mannose powder, apple cider vinegar, also help to re-balance gut and genital flora). Smoothies or juicing vegetables and fruits makes this easy.

6) Decrease processed non-food items and sugary items as much as possible. Dairy is also another culprit for many who have gut (intestinal) and yeast disturbances - switching to a nut-milk is one alternative, for example.

7) Clotrimazole on the outside of the genitals when there is external yeast overgrowth. If internal in the vagina, use treatment options that are 7 days in length vs. the 1-3 day treatment options that tend to leave behind some of the stronger yeast spores to regrow. Clotrimazole will be cheapest at your local store pharmacy aisle in any generic version they stock.

8) Calmoseptine on the outside when yeast causes raw skin, redness, rash, chaffing, irritation -- this is also antifungal and healing for the skin. It can also be used preventatively (say when traveling, or when swimming in a chlorine pool or bacteria filled lake). Using Calmoseptine FIRST, before clotrimazole is applied for the first time, is the best course of action to most rapidly heal a yeast related rash on babies, children, or adults. The skin needs to be on its way to healing first, preventing further issues, before 'treatment' starts with clotrimazole for the fastest, most effective remedy. Apply Calmoseptine first, ideally after an epsom salt bath. Wait 4-6 hours, and then continue with the course of suggestions above and clotrimazole. Doing so allows exterior yeast issues to be remedied within 24-48 hours. Internal yeast overgrowth, or that which recurs often, is more complex and requires more of the above changes and/or treatments to remedy. Calmoseptine can be found behind the counter at most pharmacies (call to ask which pharmacy has a tube in stock near you), or on Amazon. No prescription is needed. 

further resources on caring for your intact child

an intact living community

an advocacy group

a gentle parenting group

a mainstream group for those raising boys today

Nursing to Sleep: What we hear vs. what we should hear

Nursing to sleep

What we hear: 

Your baby is using you as a pacifier.
This is going to become a 'bad habit.'
It's wrong.
You're going to be the only one who can put your baby to sleep forever.
Nursing is a negative sleep association. 
This is going to become a sleep crutch.

What we should hear: 

This is biologically normal.
All carry mammals nurse to sleep in infancy.
Countless moms have done this before, and are nursing to sleep right now.
This is calming.
Your oxytocin is flowing well. 
This is beautiful.
This is nourishing. 
Nursing to sleep will fade away on its own when the time is right for my baby. 
This builds trust. 
Nursing to sleep encourages a hearty supply.
Sleep hormones from nursing to sleep allow my baby to fall asleep naturally. 
This will not last forever and be over before I know it... 


Are you treating your child like a prisoner?

By Darcia F. Narvaez Ph.D. 

Did you know that putting people in solitary confinement is the worst punishment we can mete out (and the USA puts more of its citizens in solitary confinement than any country in history)?

)? Spend much alone and you can become mad. The psyche breaks down.

Why is this? Thomas Lewis and colleagues point out that mammals, like us, need others to regulate our brains and bodies. We need others to feel right.  This is especially true for young children.

Remember Rene Spitz? He showed that young children left in hospitals for months on their own (except for food and diaper change) failed to thrive (he called it “hospitalism”). The children’s relationships with their parents were permanently impaired and the brain damage was done. You can see some disturbing film here.

No surprise, isolation leads to craziness in adults and physiological breakdown in kids. Not so sure?

Here is some evidence about what happens when a young offspring loses touch with a caregiver.

  • In babies, maternal touch regulates temperature and well being. For example, Luddington and colleagues (Ludington, 1980; Ludington-Hoe, Hadeed, & Anderson, 1991) have shown that a mother’s body temperature will automatically rise in skin-to-skin contact with an infant whose temperature is too low, going back to normal once the baby’s temperature is at a normal level.
  • When rat pups are taken away from their mothers for even a brief time, their physiological state changes to a ‘survival mode’ (summarized by Schanberg, 1995) which includes decrease in factors related to growth such as growth hormone release and DNA synthesis. Maternal touch stimulates normal growth through the mediation of Beta-endorphin.  All sorts of physiological functions break down and can become dangerously chaotic (respiratory, cardiac, endocrine, digestive, etc.). SIDS is a risk factor for babies who sleep alone (see this).
  • Schanberg and colleagues (Evoniuk, Kuhn, & Schanberg, 1979; Pauk, Kuhn, Field, & Shanberg, 1986) found that deep touch is important for growth (which they have mimicked with paint brushes) not movement, like rocking in a swing (although that is good too).

So there is a lot of data about the importance of touch, but what does that have to do with how parents might be treating babies like prisoners? Using playpens? Yes. Using carriers outside the car? Yes.

But mostly because they leave them alone at night. This is solitary confinement for babies. And can be destructive to the child’s developing brain.

Humans are the only mammals that separate their young from the mother. Not a good idea when you are born with only 25% of your brain and many miles of growing to go before you can adequately sleep on your own.  Americans are one of the few societies that have separate bedrooms for a child. It is considered cruel by many other cultures.

Depriving your child of you is like depriving them of love. It makes them ill.  It probably makes you ill too. Why cause all that illness? Sleep together in safe ways.

Atul Gawande, who wrote about prisoner solitary confinement, calls it torture. I think I agree with him. How can we do that to our children?

Peaceful Parenting Community 

CoSleeping Community

Related Reading by Dr. Narvaez at Peaceful Parenting: 

An 'On Demand' Life and the Basic Needs of Babies

Where Are All the Happy Babies?

The Dangers of Crying It Out

10 Things Everyone Should Know About Babies

5 Things NOT to Do to Babies

12 Ways to Nurture Babies at Conception, Birth, and Beyond

Are you treating your child like a prisoner?

Are you or your child on a touch starvation diet?

Conspiracy Thinking: Understanding Attachment and Its Consequences

Psychology Today: Circumcision Series

Learn More from Narvaez:

The Evolved Nest Institute

Kindred Media

Neurobiology and the Development of Human Morality: Evolution, Culture, and Wisdom

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