Yeast Vs HO: a fantastic story, it’s not what you think

This is a story about an epic battle between two brave members of your body’s society – histamine and oestrogen (HO) – and an overgrown thug, yeast. This story is to help you understand how yeast causes high histamine and oestrogen levels, and how that causes vagina – and other – problems. 

Your body is not a temple, it’s a town

Your body is a society made up of many different communities, all working together to create harmony. Each of the folks has an important job and is a valued member of society. 


Histamine, for example, is in charge of creating a swollen red fuss, triggering anxiety, and making your vagina burn and itch.


Oestrogen is in charge of growing boobs, bums and periods, keeping your vagina juicy and your bones strong.

HO has a job

Histamine and oestrogen roam around the body looking for receptors to switch on. This is their one and only task to complete, and they take it very seriously. The receptor they switch on triggers the next step in the chain reaction. Whatever causes redness, itching, growing boobs, or whatever, is done in a series of small steps.

Once the receptor is switched on, the histamine or oestrogen’s task has been completed, these folks are no longer required and are to remove themselves politely from the community. Wave goodbye. See yaaa!

These folks are born to serve, but importantly, histamine and oestrogen must then leave the body to avoid doing their job over and over. 

HO must leave

For histamine and oestrogen to be removed from the community when their work is done, there is what we’ll call a token system, much like getting a ticket for a train – you must have a ticket or you can’t get through the turnstile. You are trapped. Histamine and oestrogen must collect and present a token before they may leave. 

When everything is going well, there are plenty of tokens in the blood and histamine and oestrogen are easily able to leave at the end of their workday. No issue. Usually. 

Once upon a time in the life of a HO

One day, histamine and oestrogen are going about their business, having a successful and happy time, good work-life balance etc. when word filters down that there’s an overgrowth of yeast. Yeast is a normal part of our microbiome but can be problematic if it overgrows or grows in the wrong place. 

Guilty O

“Not again!” sighs histamine. Oestrogen shrugs and looks away, knowing full well that sometimes if there is a lot of itself, it actively supports yeast in not just one, but several ways. It’s not super stoked about this, but knows it can’t help it. It doesn’t think it caused this yeast overgrowth, but it’s possible. Oh well

Oestrogen brings with it a special sugar that yeast luuurves. Yeast is an opportunist, so when there is a plentiful supply of sugars, it’ll try to move on in, slopping around on your couch watching TV and eating all your food. 

A sweet gang of badasses

The Immune System, your tried and true gang of heroines, keep yeasts in check. That is, unless The Immune System is not doing well, like if you’re stressed, eating crap food, having bad sleeps – or if there is an abundance of oestrogen. 

On this seemingly regular day, histamine and oestrogen don’t know why this yeast overgrowth has happened, but oh boy, it’s happening. The effects ripple through the community and The Immune System leaps into action. 

The dumpster fire: lit

Soon, yeasts are everywhere; histamine sees a yeast flying by in the bloodstream on a scooter, socffing weed brownies and smoking a watermelon-flavoured vape. It’s wearing a bright green wig, like this is some kind of party. Ten more zip past.

Oestrogen sees whole columns of the mouth and intestines covered in lazy slob yeasts who are watching reruns of the Simpsons at high volume and ordering McDonald’s from Uber Eats. 

The yeasts are gaining ground. Oestrogen doesn’t know what to do and feels useless, (is this my fault?). Histamine is an important part of The Immune System, though, and feeling emboldened by knowing it’s time to shine, histamine does what it does best: it immediately doubles its own numbers. Bang! Woo!

A yeast cruelly mocks histamine: “Well that was stupid. What are you gonna do now, dum dum?” opening the mouth of its pocket wide to show the pile of tokens it has stolen. They’re stealing tokens! histamine realises in a flash, cheeks reddening. 

Looking around sheepishly, histamine sees there is now twice as much of itself in the blood as before and not enough tokens. Oops. 

Sciency stuff
Now, these tokens are not real, obviously. In a nutshell, yeast produces toxic ‘stuff’ and to get rid of this yucky stuff requires a certain number of certain nutrients - coincidentally the same nutrients required to get rid of histamine and friends. The yeast uses up (steals) all these nutrients (tokens), leaving histamine and friends without an exit route. So, they build up, and that is what this tragic story is about. More on this here. 

The Immune System swoops in

Histamine’s spirits are buoyed by The Immune System peeps, who it thinks are cool AF, hooning by on hovercrafts, reflective aviators on, hair flying out behind them.

Every time a yeast is killed, they call out dispatched! so everyone around knows to avoid the toxin the yeast has released as its parting gift: a toxic fart. A cheer goes up. 

This is a bit of excitement for the day, and it’s true that this stuff happens all the time – it’s usually resolved quickly by The Immune System. They are ruthless and much admired. 

But, this time the community-wide yeast overgrowth drags on for days, and then weeks. 

Mad Maxine’s tokenless wasteland

There are now far fewer tokens floating past because yeast is a token thief. There are tussles over tokens; bloodied noses, sprains and hurt pride. Remember, histamine and oestrogen need these tokens to leave. 

Yet, the yeasts keep coming. The Immune System peeps are by now looking a little worn out, but they’re still going strong.

This is a bit unusual, histamine thinks as it angles itself to slot into a receptor, who welcomes it with open arms, which is not unusual. Being turned on is their thing. 

“This is a bit intense, isn’t it!” exclaims the receptor to the histamine. Histamine nods, yes it is

The lack of tokens is causing widespread anxiety. What are they all supposed to do? Just build up in the bloodstream like this? 

Crisis meetings in the beehive

Emergency meetings are held by higher-ups, and the message filters down: the yeast has a foothold and is effectively holding the community hostage by stealing all the tokens. The damned yeast keeps pocketing the tokens, and soon there are so many yeasts that there are now no tokens to be found at all. No HO can leave.

Things are getting very tense. The community is not happy. 

There are soooo many histamines and oestrogens, they wander aimlessly with nothing to do except keep switching receptors on – over and over and over again, even though nobody asked them to.

All these receptors being switched on all the time is causing a huge problem for the whole community, with processes firing off willy-nilly. Nobody really knows what to do. 

All at once, things escalate. 

Get the popcorn, folks, it’s on

Histamine, now three, four, six times its original number, is causing widespread and indiscriminate inflammation. The nose is running, the eyes are red and scratchy, the bladder feels heavy and weird, and the vagina is on fire. Today was a banana allergy, yesterday it was shellfish. What will it be tomorrow? 

In a shocking twist, histamine at these high levels is also causing more oestrogen to be produced, while the reverse is also true: the higher levels of oestrogen are causing the production of even more histamine

“WTAF!” histamine and oestrogen exclaim in unison. 

Oestrogen starts to see its numbers tripling, quadrupling, with several major discomforts appearing: sore boobs, heavy periods, can’t lose weight. Now the brain is pissed off at everyone

HO Alert! HO Alert!

Histamine and oestrogen are multiplying exponentially. This is an emergency situation. There are alerts going off in every corner – SYSTEM OVERLOAD!!! – receptors getting switched on left, right and centre, a total system malfunction. It’s chaos. A riot. Nobody knows who’s in charge anymore. 

Butt bacteria are gleefully taking over the vagina, cells are inflamed for no reason, periods are a murder scene, anxiety is through the roof. The token situation is diabolical. 

Instructions arrive from the top. A plot to overthrow the yeast has been hatched and it’s bold, but it might just work. 

Tick, tock, this is the sound of your life running out

The Dexter-esque serial killer plan has two prongs. First, the set-up: starve the yeasts of their sole source of energy, sugar, by cutting out sugary foods, drinks and those pesky white carbs. While they’re distracted by hunger, surprise the intruders with the Special Substance Ninjas, who creep up in the night and dispatch yeasts*. 

The weak, sick and old yeast will die first, but the healthy yeast cells will fight with one powerful weapon that is a true match for the community: sugar cravings. If the yeasts can eat, they can live. 

Cravings of a HO

The chorus of serious sugar cravings arrives with a thud: the yeast cry, whimper and whine day and night. The sobbing echoes through the community. Everyone has heard it all before, but it’s still harrowing. Yeasts are very manipulative. 

“Feed me, please feed my children at least! Don’t let us die!” cry the yeasts desperately. 

“Just one taste!” the yeast howls, begging for its life. “I promise I’ll go away after that!”

No sugar arrives. 

The sugar reduction part of the plan is well in action, and the special-substance-ninjas start to stealthily kill yeasts in dark corners.

As each yeast is silently sliced and diced, it falls to the ground and the tokens spill out of its huge smelly pockets and back into circulation. Each yeast’s fart is the toxic trumpeting of its own death. The ninja ducks out of the way, on to the next. 

The folks cheer and dance and sing! Hallelujah! Relief sweeps through the community and the message is passed on. We’re winning! 

Let a HO go

Gradually, the histamines, oestrogens and others start to be released, picking up a token to be cleared from the community without fanfare – just sweet relief. The poor receptors, they could use a break, everyone agrees. The vibe is the first drops of rain after the dry season, the first blissful gusts of a cool change.

The chaos in the community starts to recede: the burning inflammation is cooled, the butt bugs in the vagina gracefully retreat with a nice apology, and periods go back to normal. Anxiety levels drop, digestion smooths out, and order is restored. 

Until next time, folks! 

The End.

Epilogue: Getting help with your yeasty HO

If you have found yourself yeasty, histaminey and oestrogeny, you may need support for proper clearance.

We do not recommend anti-candida diets, but during treatments, we do recommend cutting out all added sugars, processed foods and simple/starchy carbohydrates. Visit the yeasts page for treatments, tips and tricks, and get professional help if you’re not making progress.


*Special substances can be a range of things, see your practitioner or the yeasts page for ideas

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Jessica Lloyd - Vulvovaginal Specialist Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)