- Home Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
- Natural Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
- Yogurt, Probiotics, and ‘Good’ Bacteria for Yeast Infection
- Probiotic Combination Therapies for Yeast Infections
- Boric Acid for Treating Yeast Infections
- Other Home Remedies and DIY Approaches For Yeast Infections
- Yeast Infections During Pregnancy
- What might cause yeast infections
- Symptoms of yeast infections
- Complications of yeast infections
- More About Pregnancy and Infections
- How to prevent yeast infections
- How to treat a yeast infection when you’re pregnant
- For vulvar itching caused by atopic dermatitis
- For vaginal itching caused by sex
- For vaginal itching caused by soaps
- For vaginal itching caused by bacterial vaginosis
- For vaginal itching caused by a yeast infection
- For vaginal itching caused by menopause
- What if if treatments aren’t working?
- Don’t Put Food In Your Vagina!
- When to See Your Doctor
- Signs you may have thrush:
- How to fix a yeast infection:
- How to prevent yeast infections:
- The Fix
- How to get rid of a yeast infection
- Can Yeast Infections Go Away on Their Own?
- Will My Yeast Infection Go Away On It’s Own?
- What is a Yeast Infection?
- How Do I Know If I Have a Yeast Infection?
- Yeast Infection Treatment Options: What You Need to Know
- Does a Yeast Infection Go Away By Itself? Risks of Opting out of Treatment
- How to Know If Your Yeast Infection is Going Away
- How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last Without Treatment?
- Signs That Your Yeast Infection is Something Else
- Do What’s Right for You
- Get Treated Online | How PlushCare Works
- How To Diagnose and Treat a Yeast Infection at Home
- What are yeast infections?
- The symptoms to look out for
- Could it be something else?
- Why you shouldn’t be worried
- What causes yeast infections?
- How can you treat it at home?
- Apple cider vinegar
- Coconut oil
- Yogurt & probiotics
- Boric acid
- Tea tree oil
- Aloe vera
- Peppermint oil
- Green tea
- Epsom salt
- Oregano oil
- When should you see a doctor?
Home Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
How effective are home remedies for treating yeast infections?
Garlic cloves and yogurt are some of the most discussed natural remedies for yeast infections. Thinkstock (2)
Yeast infections (vulvovaginal candidiasis) are the most common type of vaginal infection after bacterial vaginosis, according to a report published in the journal The Lancet. (1)
Vaginal yeast infections are the result of an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans, and less frequently other Candida species, such as C. glabrata, C. parapsilosis, C. tropicalis, and C. krusei.
Treating yeast infections typically requires killing the fungi with antifungal drugs called azoles, which can be purchased by prescription or over the counter (OTC). These include:
Topical azoles are very effective against C. albicans, but far less so against other Candida species — these yeasts are often treated with other antifungal medication, such as amphotericin B (Abelcet, AmBisome, Amphocin, Amphotec, or Fungizone), flucytosine, nystatin (Mycostatin), or the oral azole fluconazole (Diflucan). (3,4)
Natural Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
Despite the effectiveness of prescription and OTC medication for yeast infections, some people prefer to treat their ailments with natural or home remedies.
For yeast infections, purported natural therapies include:
- Yogurt and probiotics
- Boric acid
- Tea tree oil
- Douching (especially with vinegar)
Though some positive anecdotal reports can be found on the internet, most natural remedies for yeast infections are not (yet) supported by rigorous clinical studies. (5)
Yogurt, Probiotics, and ‘Good’ Bacteria for Yeast Infection
The vagina is home to numerous beneficial microbes, which keep pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes, including Candida, in check.
The yeasts grow out of control when something — such as antibiotics, hormones, pregnancy, or health issues, like diabetes and HIV or AIDS — disrupts that delicate balance.
Because of this fact, one of the most common natural remedies for yeast infections has long involved restoring the vagina’s population of friendly bacteria, especially Lactobacillus acidophilus, by using yogurt or probiotics.
Overall, despite a host of research on the topic, the evidence for consuming healthy bacteria to treat or prevent yeast infections is inconsistent, at best.
An early report in 1992 found that daily ingestion of yogurt containing L. acidophilus decreases candidal colonization and infection. (6) Another study published in 2010 found that probiotics taken after conventional treatment of vaginal yeast infections may lead to “somewhat fewer recurrences” of the infection. (7)
But numerous reviews have found that most clinical trials on the subject had methodological issues, making it difficult to draw reliable conclusions. (8)
For instance, a review published in the Journal of Chemotherapy found that Lactobacillus strains can help treat bacterial vaginosis, but the bacteria have no clear benefit for yeast infections. (9)
A review published in November 2017 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that there may be some evidence showing that probiotics can help cure yeast infections, compared with conventional treatments. But the authors had very little confidence in this conclusion given that the quality of the evidence was low or very low. (10)
Either way, regular ingestion of beneficial bacteria poses very little harm, so you can try the remedies without worry (though it may be a waste of money). (8)
Probiotic Combination Therapies for Yeast Infections
While taking probiotics in lieu of antifungal medication is not yet supported by science, some other research suggests that women with vaginal yeast infections may benefit from probiotic combination therapies.
For instance, a prospective study published in July 2012 in the journal Archives of Gynecology and Obstetrics found that a mixture of bee honey and yogurt applied to the vagina may help cure yeast infections in pregnant women. (11)
Similarly, a study published in November 2015 in the Global Journal of Health Science found that a vaginal cream of honey and yogurt was comparable in efficacy with clotrimazole vaginal cream for yeast infections. (12)
Additionally, a clinical trial found that a certain probiotic capsule, when combined with conventional antifungal medication, can help provide a long-term cure against recurrent yeast infections. (13)
Still, more research is needed to fully reveal the benefits of these alternative therapies.
Boric Acid for Treating Yeast Infections
Research shows that boric acid suppository capsules appear to be very effective against yeast infections, particularly those caused by non-albicans species.
An early study found that boric acid suppositories, when taken nightly for 7 to 10 days, have up to a 92 percent cure rate. (14)
More recently, a 2007 article in the journal Diabetes Care found that boric acid vaginal suppositories were more effective against C. glabrata infections in diabetic women (diabetes is a risk factor for yeast infections) than an oral azole medication. (15)
And a later review in the Journal of Women’s Health found that it’s a safe alternative to azole medication for the treatment of recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis (four or more infections in a single year) caused by non-albicans Candida.
But boric acid can occasionally cause vaginal burning, is toxic when swallowed, and shouldn’t be used frequently or when pregnant. (16)
Other Home Remedies and DIY Approaches For Yeast Infections
Garlic and tea tree oil are also popular natural remedies for vaginal yeast infections.
Numerous studies have shown that garlic has antifungal properties. But when taken orally, garlic has no effect on vaginal Candida counts, according to a study published in the journal BJOG. (17)
Some women promote placing garlic cloves in the vagina at night — while this treatment is unlikely to cause any major damage (besides, possibly, allergic reactions and chemical burns), there’s no scientific evidence to show it works.
To fight yeast infections, some women suggest applying diluted tea tree oil to the vagina using an applicator-type tampon.
While tea tree oils are effective against various Candida species in both laboratory and rat studies, clinical (human) trials are lacking. (5, 18)
Douching and yeast infections don’t mix. The cleansing may actually help promote yeast infections by removing healthy bacteria from the vagina. And if you already have an infection, douching may spread it to the cervix and into the uterus.
Douching with vinegar may be doubly bad because of the potential damage the liquid can cause to the vaginal walls. (19)
You can find numerous other natural remedies for yeast infections online, including coconut oil, pomegranate gel, and echinacea purpurea liquid.
But before trying any alternative treatments, it’s best to check with your doctor.
Yeast Infections During Pregnancy
With so much going on down there already, the last thing you need is an itchy yeast infection when you’re expecting. Unfortunately, soaring estrogen levels that come with having a bun in the oven increase your risk of having one, making yeast infections the most common vaginal infection during pregnancy. In fact, nearly 75 percent of all adult women have had at least one yeast infection in their lifetime, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The good news: While uncomfortable for the mother-to-be, yeast infections don’t affect your pregnancy or your baby-to-be.
What might cause yeast infections
Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of an otherwise normal vaginal fungus called Candida albicans. When the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is altered — usually when estrogen levels rise due to pregnancy, oral contraceptive use or estrogen therapy — this yeast may overgrow and cause symptoms. Excess moisture can also exasperate an imbalance, making your nether regions a more welcoming environment for fungal growth.
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Symptoms of yeast infections
It’s normal to experience a significant increase in vaginal discharge during pregnancy: The thin, milky, mild-smelling, voluminous stuff is so common it has a name: leukorrhea. A yeast infection, however, makes your discharge white, lumpy and odorless. You’ll also likely experience itching and burning of the area outside the vagina (called the vulva), which may look red and swollen. Other yeast infection symptoms can include painful urination and discomfort during intercourse.
Complications of yeast infections
Fortunately, yeast infections aren’t dangerous (and they’re rarely more than an irritating inconvenience). But if you have a yeast infection when you go into labor, it is possible to pass it to your baby during delivery, since the fungus that causes vaginal yeast infections can also cause thrush (a yeast imbalance typically in the mouth). In this case, your newborn might develop white patches in the mouth, which can be passed back to you when you breastfeed. Luckily, thrush is easily treated with a mild antifungal medication for baby and an antifungal cream for you.
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One more thing: Yeast infections can look and feel a lot like other more serious conditions, including a variety of sexually transmitted diseases or bacterial vaginosis — one more reason why you shouldn’t ignore your symptoms if you think you have a yeast infection, especially during pregnancy. If you’re experiencing yellow, gray or green discharge with a strong odor or general itching and burning in the vaginal area, let your doctor know.
READ: The Best Bottles for Babies
How to prevent yeast infections
While you can’t control your hormones (wouldn’t that be nice!), you can take a few steps to prevent yeast infections in the first place, mostly by keeping your genital area dry and allowing air to circulate down there. Some tactics to try:
- Wear cotton undergarments that allow your genital area to “breathe” (i.e., opt for full-coverage panties over that itty-bitty thong)
- Sleep sans underwear or pajama bottoms at night to allow the area to breathe
- Take showers instead of baths (especially bubble baths)
- Use gentle, unscented soaps on your genitals
- Never douche or use vaginal sprays or deodorants
- Practice meticulous hygiene, especially after going to the bathroom (i.e., always wipe from front to back)
- Don’t sit around in a wet bathing suit
- After showering or swimming, make sure your genital area is completely dry before putting on your panties and clothes
- Keep sugar to a minimum in your daily diet (yeast love sugar) as well as refined grain products (which your body converts into sugar)
Despite what you may have heard, there is no clear evidence that yogurt, probiotic products containing live Lactobacillus species, or other natural remedies (like garlic, tea tree oil etc.) are effective for treating or preventing common yeast infections. But since yogurt’s also a good source of calcium, it can’t hurt to add a daily dose to your diet if you’ve had recurrent bouts.
How to treat a yeast infection when you’re pregnant
Even if you’ve had yeast infections before and are a pro at self-diagnosing, it’s best to call your healthcare provider before using an over-the-counter medication. Why? Some women who think they have a yeast infection actually have a bacterial infection like bacterial vaginosis or trichomoniasis, and a yeast infection medication will only prolong the issue. (If it turns out this is the case for you, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic like clindamycin, or, if you’re in your second or third trimester, metronidazole.)
If you have a yeast infection, you may be able to take an over-the-counter or prescription antifungal cream or vaginal suppository — just be sure to check with your pracitioner first. (For example, the more convenient oral antifungal medication, fluconazole, is not generally recommended for women who are pregnant — some research suggests it could cause birth defects in babies exposed to high doses.) Keep in mind that these treatments may take several days before they bring relief, and that even when you do start to feel better, you should continue to use the medication for as long as your practitioner suggested — which may be a week or more.
Unfortunately, medication may banish a yeast infection only temporarily; the infection often returns off and on until after delivery and may require repeated treatment.
This article was medically reviewed by Angela Chaudhari, MD, a gynecologic surgeon and member of the Prevention Medical Review Board, on July 16 2019.
Vaginal itching that just won’t go away can be uncomfortable to talk about, and even more uncomfortable to deal with. But before you assume you’re dealing with something like an infection, it’s important to know the other common causes of vaginal itching.
Constant discomfort down there could be something as harmless as irritation from a dull razor or a soap that’s too harsh on your skin—but it can also point to medical conditions, like bacterial vaginosis or even a sexually transmitted infection.
So before you opt for OTC treatments, you really ought to make an appointment with your ob/gyn. “In general, I don’t recommend people try to treat symptoms at home before they come in, unless they’re sure it’s something they’ve had before, like a yeast infection,” says Mae K. Borchardt, MD, a gynecologist at Houston Methodist Hospital in Texas. “If that one treatment doesn’t work, don’t keep trying over-the-counter products or home remedies. Go to a doctor, and once we know what you’re dealing with, there are lots of products you can get over-the-counter and use to treat it at home.”
It’s important to rule out more serious causes. For instance, vaginal itching may be caused by trichomoniasis, an STD that affects 3.7 million Americans annually and requires a powerful antibiotic to treat. In rare cases, itching accompanied by a non-healing ulcer may not be a sign of vaginal infection, but rather of vulvar cancer.
However, if your doctor says your itching is a result of something you can treat at home, the fix may be simple. Read on for six things that may be causing you discomfort, and the doctor-approved home remedies that could help you stop itching for answers.
How to stop vaginal itching
For vulvar itching caused by atopic dermatitis
When you’re dealing with external itching and redness on the vulva—not internal itching that stretches into the vagina—it may be atopic dermatitis, or inflammation of the skin. “About 25 percent of the time when women come in and get tested, we won’t find an infectious cause of their symptoms,” says Dr. Borchardt. “That means the itching may be caused by lifestyle factors or other conditions.” Consider the following if this sounds like you:
Invest in new razors
Dull razors can aggravate the skin around your vagina, causing irritation, redness, and itching. Keep a specific razor handy for the genital area (yes, meaning you should use a different one for your armpits), and swap it out for a new one around every five uses.
Wear loose, breathable clothing
Tight clothing can rub against skin and cause discomfort, especially in warmer temperatures. Opt for 100 percent cotton underwear when you can, but especially while you sleep, to allow more breathing room around the vagina.
Vaseline Original Skin Protectant Petroleum Jelly walmart.com $4.17
Reach for petroleum jelly or coconut oil
“For mild, non-specific itching, I have patients apply something that’s bland and soothing with no active ingredients in it,” says Paul Nyirjesy, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Drexel University College of Medicine. “That could be petroleum jelly, coconut oil, or even Crisco vegetable shortening. Just putting a little on your finger and rubbing it into the areas that are itchy can be very soothing.”
For vaginal itching caused by sex
If you recently tried a new personal lubricant with your partner (or you aren’t using enough), it may cause vaginal itching and discomfort. “Many lubricants have alcohol in them, which can be very irritating to the vaginal area, and some people might have an allergy to something they are using, including latex, which is found in the main types of condoms,” says Dr. Bochardt. “Having intercourse without adequate lubrication can also cause a lot of friction, which can cause itching.”
Get picky about personal lubricant
Dr. Borchardt says coconut oil is actually a good natural lubricant to consider—unless you’re using condoms. Oil degrades the quality of latex, increasing your risk of potential STIs and pregnancy.
If you do use condoms, opt for a fragrance-free, silicone-based lubricant to enhance pleasure. “Most women do better with silicone lubricants,” says Lauren Streicher, MD, a professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and author of Sex Rx. “They tend to be more slippery, last longer, and are not irritating.”
Replens Silky Smooth Personal Lubricant amazon.com $14.20
Best overall: This personal lubricant will immediately relieve any discomfort caused by dryness with its silky-smooth texture.
Astroglide X Premium Waterproof Silicone Personal Lubricant amazon.com $11.14
Best value: This affordable silicone lubricant is hypoallergenic and fragrance-free, so it’s great for sensitive skin.
Wet Platinum Pure Concentrated Serum Silicone Lubricant walmart.com $9.97
This long-lasting lubricant is made with high-grade, pure silicone for a slippery formula that never feels sticky.
Überlube Luxury Lubricant amazon.com $18.00
Rave reviews: Testers love this easy-to-use lube thanks to its natural feel, odorless formula, and high-end packaging.
Opt for a new condom
Consider polyisoprene condoms if you have a latex allergy. This option from SKYN fits the bill: The latex-free condoms are pre-lubricated, soft, and ultra-comfortable.
For vaginal itching caused by soaps
You’ve likely heard that douching is not welcomed by your vagina, and can throw off its natural, healthy bacterial balance. Even if you’re not douching, however, the wrong soap can get you scratching. “In general, products used in the vaginal area shouldn’t have any perfume in them, and should be as gentle and mild as possible,” says Dr. Borchardt.
Use something gentle
“I usually recommend a Dove bar with no perfume, which is very moisturizing. Only use it on the outside of the vagina , not on the inside—the vagina is a self-cleaning oven, and you don’t have to clean it yourself.”
Dove Beauty Bar for Sensitive Skin walmart.com $6.47
…and steer clear of feminine sprays, wipes, or deodorants
It’s normal for the vagina to have some sort of scent, but see your doctor if you notice an unpleasant odor. Feminine products can also throw off the natural balance of bacteria in the vagina.
Case in point: In a study from the University of Guelph in Canada, researchers surveyed nearly 1,500 women about their feminine hygiene habits, and a majority of them reported using at least one product—such as feminine wipes, washes, sprays, and powders—in or around their vaginas. The result? Those women had a three times higher chance of experiencing some kind of vaginal health problem, like an infection.
For vaginal itching caused by bacterial vaginosis
RepHresh Pro-B Probiotic Supplement amazon.com $39.77 $24.16 (39% off)
Despite its scary name, bacterial vaginosis is actually a very common infection, and occurs when an overgrowth of the vagina’s naturally occurring bacteria causes inflammation. Although it can affect women of any age, women of reproductive age are most likely to contract it, and frequent douching and unprotected sex increase your risk.
Symptoms beyond itching include a gray discharge and a signature fishy odor. If you think you might have bacterial vaginosis, make a doctor’s appointment—you’ll likely need an antibiotic to treat it.
Consider a probiotic supplement
Probiotic supplements may prevent bacterial vaginosis from becoming a chronic issue, says Dr. Borchardt. As they do throughout the rest of the body, probiotics help build up the good bacteria in your vagina and prevent the bad bacteria from growing out of control. Pro-B Probiotic Feminine Supplement is clinically tested and specifically developed to balance both yeast and bacteria, but talk to your ob/gyn before you opt for popping a pill.
For vaginal itching caused by a yeast infection
Monistat 7-Day Yeast Infection Treatment amazon.com $12.89
If it’s the first time you’ve experienced yeast infection symptoms, it’s important to see a doctor to rule out other issues. Along with itching, a vaginal yeast infection may cause a burning sensation (particularly during intercourse or urination), a vaginal rash, thick and odor-free vaginal discharge that resembles cottage cheese, or even watery vaginal discharge.
Go for an antifungal cream
Once you know for certain it’s a yeast infection, over-the-counter medications, such as Monistat, can be helpful. “There are one-day, three-day, and seven-day products, but I recommend the seven-day products,” says Dr. Nyirjesy. “They have lower rates of burning, itching, and irritation than the shorter-term products.”
For vaginal itching caused by menopause
The lower estrogen levels you experience as you approach menopause can actually change the pH balance of your vagina, causing the vaginal walls to thin and dry—a condition called vaginal atrophy.
“Estrogen decreases throughout your lifetime, but it can cause symptoms including itching, irritation, and painful intercourse,” says Dr. Borchardt. “Prescription treatment can be very helpful, but is not an option for women with certain health problems.”
Try a vaginal moisturizer
It’s best to talk to your doctor about the best options for you, but an over-the-counter medication vaginal moisturizer, such as Replens, can ease dryness by helping the vaginal tissues to become thicker and more elastic, resulting in increased lubrication.
Replens Long-Lasting Feminine Moisturizer amazon.com $14.96
Dr. Streicher recommends using these products two to five times a week by inserting them in the vagina and applying around the vaginal opening.
What if if treatments aren’t working?
“Though vaginal itching is a common issue, it is important to remember that itching that is recurrent, persistent, or not responding to treatments recommended by your doctor can be signs of more serious medical problems,” says Angela Chaudhari, MD, a gynecologic surgeon and assistant professor in Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine.
For example, recurrent yeast infections and itching may be a sign of underlying prediabetes, especially when not responding to usual treatments. Persistent vulvar itching not responding to typical medications may be a sign of dermatological conditions, such as lichen sclerosis or even precancerous changes of the vulva.
If your itching is not improving with typical treatments even after seeing your physician, don’t ignore it. Check back in with your doctor to ensure nothing more serious is causing your discomfort.
Additional reporting by Korin Miller
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Don’t Put Food In Your Vagina!
One of the common misconceptions about women’s health is that yogurt cures yeast infections. How did this idea get started? And why isn’t it true? And if there is no benefit from using yogurt in the vagina or on the vulva, are there other food-related products that are useful?
First of all, what is a yeast infection?
Candida albicans is a fungal organism commonly found in nature and frequently found on humans. It is a yeast-type fungus, which has to do with the microscopic form it takes. That is why vaginal infections (vaginitis) caused by this fungus are called “yeast infections.” These infections cause itching, burning, often a vaginal discharge, and are common. It is a lucky woman who has never had a yeast infection!
Where does the yogurt idea come from?
In order to understand the mistaken connection between yogurt and yeast infections we need to review some microbiology. Lactobacillus is a Genus of bacteria that metabolizes sugars and produces lactic acid. There are many types that are found in animals (including humans) and in foods, and these types are specific as to where they “live.” Lactobacillus acidophilus is the type most commonly used to make yogurt (by fermenting the lactose sugar in milk). It is NOT the type found in the vagina, just its cousin.
Why doesn’t it work?
Lactobacillus is the most abundant bacteria in the vagina, and there are at least four to five types found there, but none are acidophilus . Due to the production of lactic acid by these bacteria, the pH of the vagina is kept acidic, which helps in the natural defense against infection. Therefore it is known as the “good bacteria.” But when something disrupts the natural vaginal defenses, such as a course of antibiotics, there can be an overgrowth of Candida albicans causing an infection. Putting yogurt, and thereby acidophilus bacteria in the vagina doesn’t produce any beneficial effect. It doesn’t kill off the yeast, and it certainly doesn’t grow and produce more of the “good bacteria” because it is a different type of lactobacillus!
How can so many websites be wrong?
The idea of self-treatment of yeast infections with yogurt started back in the 1980’s, before there were any over-the-counter yeast infection medications (antifungals) available. This seemed to go out of fashion for a while, but now with the growth of the internet it is even easier to spread and therefore perpetuate false information. One website author picks up misinformation from another website and republishes it, making it look like multiple sources agree. Even Wikipedia states that yogurt is a treatment for yeast infections! Yogurt is not, in fact, a treatment for anything; it is just a healthy food, a great source of calcium, and a tasty snack. And by the way, some websites also recommend other food remedies for vaginitis including sea salt, apple cider vinegar, and garlic. Applying these products to the vagina or vulva will be smelly, ineffective, and probably painful for inflamed skin, and can even make the inflammation worse, so don’t use them either.
So don’t believe everything you read, don’t believe everything you hear, and DON’T PUT FOOD IN YOUR VAGINA!
Written by: Kathryn Deason
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When to See Your Doctor
If any of these three situations sounds like yours, you need a doctor’s attention:
- It’s the first yeast infection you’ve ever had. See a doctor to be sure it’s not a more serious problem that needs a different treatment, such as a urinary tract infection or STI.
- You’re pregnant. Any medications, including over-the-counter vaginal creams, need to be approved by your doctor during pregnancy.
- You often get yeast infections. If you have four or more yeast infections in a year, doctors call it “recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.” If you have it, you’ll need treatment for up to 6 months with an antifungal medication. Frequent yeast infections can also be a sign that you have diabetes or another medical condition.
If you’re concerned about your symptoms or they’re different from past yeast infections you’ve had, you may want to see your doctor for your own peace of mind. Because symptoms are uncomfortable, some women will ask for a prescription-strength vaginal cream to ease the itching and burning more quickly than an over-the-counter product would.
Yeast infections are a massive ballache.
If you develop thrush, the frustration quickly sends you on a Google spree of ‘how to fix thrush’, ‘yeast infection treatment’, and ‘help my vagina is on fire’ – at which point you’ll likely be greeted with some classic advice: stick some yoghurt up there.
The yoghurt treatment has been a popular recommendation for ages. I definitely passed on that wisdom, along with the garlic clove in your vag advice (also not a good idea, FYI), throughout university, and vividly remember tiny booklets about vaginal health passed out at school recommending rubbing live, unflavoured, unsweetened yoghurt on your delicate bits.
The logic sounds pretty solid.
Good bacteria lactobacilli is good for our vagina and can remedy yeast infections. Live yoghurt contains lactobacilli. Ergo, yoghurt must remedy yeast infections… right?
Well, no, actually.
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
Dr Lauren Streicher explains that the individual species of lactobacilli are very different from the species found in the vagina, noting that multiple studies have shown that putting yoghurt in your vagina doesn’t do anything beneficial.
‘Soaking a tampon in yogurt and putting it in your vagina is nothing more than a waste of a perfectly good yogurt,’ she explains.
Signs you may have thrush:
Research has shown that around 34% of women who believe they have a yeast infection actually do not. We’re not great at spotting what’s going on, so if you’re concerned, your best bet is chatting to your doctor or gynaecologist before you go forth and get treatment.
That being said, it’s good to know the main signs that could point to a yeast infection. Here they are in all their glory:
- Itching and soreness around the labia and the opening of the vagina
- More vaginal discharge than usual – either thick and white or thin and watery
- Pain during sex
- A stinging sensation when urinating
- Red skin around the vulva
Eating the yoghurt won’t do much, either.
A gynaecologist spoke to Refinery29 to debunk the ‘downing yoghurt will fix your yeast infection’ myth as well as the ‘eating yoghurt causes yeast infections’ myth, explaining that eating yoghurt will likely have very little impact on your vaginal health.
(Picture: Ella Byworth for Metro.co.uk)
Dr Caroline Mitchell, director of the vulvovaginal disorders program at Mass General Hospital, notes that even if the bacteria in yoghurt were helpful (which it’s not), it’d be tricky for it to actually reach the vagina when consumed.
While there is some link between gut bacteria and vaginal bacteria, no one’s sure how that relationship actually works. There’s simply not enough data to suggest that eating yoghurt has any effect on vaginal health.
‘If you like to eat yogurt, eat yogurt, but otherwise it’s not doing you any favours,’ she says. ‘We definitely don’t have a targeted way to change the vaginal bacteria with your diet.’
How to fix a yeast infection:
Chat to your doctor or a pharmacist rather than going for DIY options. They’ll likely recommend one of the below.
- A pessary (a pill you place inside the vagina)
- Vaginal creams
- Antifungal medication
How to prevent yeast infections:
It’s harder to get rid of a yeast infection once it’s hanging around than it is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Follow these steps to reduce your likelihood of developing thrush.
- Only have sex when you’re entirely aroused and wet. Having sex when your vagina is dry can cause irritation and trigger an infection
- Never douche your vagina or use any DIY ‘cleanses’. The vagina is self-cleaning and any attempts to clean it may cause infection
- Avoid using body washes with strong scents and and potential irritants. Just water and an unscented soap around the vulva (that’s the external part of your genitals) will do the trick
- Use a moisturiser around your pubic area to keep the skin hydrated
- Avoid tight underwear and tights. Give your vagina some breathing space, people
MORE: Shame-free tampon ads show blood-stained sheets and tampon strings
MORE: Eight reasons you might be experiencing vaginal dryness
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How to get rid of a yeast infection
Share on PinterestYeast infections may be treated at home with antifungal creams available from pharmacies and drug stores.
In many cases, yeast infections can be easily and successfully treated at home. This is done with either over-the-counter products or alternative therapies.
Anecdotal reports suggest that many women experience relief from such home treatments.
However, scientific evidence varies for the effectiveness of these alternative therapies.
1. Over-the-counter treatments
Antifungal treatments in the form of creams or pessaries can be purchased over the counter to treat yeast infections. These are available without a prescription and are available to purchase online, or are found in:
- grocery stores
Depending on the product, the treatment may be for external or internal use and treat the infection with:
- a single application
- a 3-day application
- a weeklong application
Treatments that are applied internally have been shown to cure more than 80 percent of vaginal yeast infections. These contain powerful antifungals called azoles.
2. Boric acid
Vaginal boric acid capsules can work for women with a yeast infection. These may be especially useful for women with recurrent infections.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a dosage of 600 mg of boric acid in a capsule inserted vaginally once a day for 14 days. Before purchasing any suppositories, consult with a doctor.
Some research reports that topically applied boric acid, along with the antifungal flucytosine, successfully treats approximately 70 percent of women. This study looked at women with yeast infections that did not respond to azole-based antifungal treatments.
3. Tea tree oil
Share on PinterestTea tree oil has antifungal properties that may kill yeasts and fungi.
Tea tree oil has long been prized for its antifungal properties. A review of research on this essential oil confirmed its ability to kill a range of yeasts and fungi.
In the majority of the studies reviewed, tea tree oil was tested on candida albicans, one of the most common yeasts in vaginal infections.
Vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil have been shown to treat vaginal fungal infections. Some women report relief from adding diluted tea tree oil to a tampon and inserting this into the vagina overnight.
However, extreme caution must be used when using tea tree oil, as it can irritate the skin, and the vaginal walls are particularly sensitive.
Tea tree is an essential oil and, as such, needs to be mixed with a carrier oil. People can use 3-5 drops of tea tree oil in 1 ounce of warmed coconut oil to soak a tampon. It is important to change the tampon regularly.
Also, people can be allergic to tea tree oil. Test the diluted oil on an area the size of a dime on the forearm, and if there is no reaction in 12 to 24 hours, it may be safe to use on the more sensitive genital area.
Other research indicates that a component of tea tree oil (terpinen-4-ol) enhances the activity of the common antifungal drug fluconazole. This is in cases of drug-resistant candida albicans.
4. Probiotic supplements
Some probiotic supplements may offer a natural solution to yeast infection. These are available in pharmacies and health stores, or online.
Some brands of probiotic supplements sell specially formulated products for female reproductive health. These aim to restore the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. The supplements are taken orally or inserted vaginally.
In a 2012 study, women with chronic yeast infections inserted a specially formulated probiotic pill into the vagina. Nearly 87 percent reported an improvement in their symptoms. The treatment also had a long-term effect on the yeast responsible for the infection.
In the study, the women used one pill a night for a week. They then inserted one every third night for 3 weeks. After this, they used the treatment just once a week on an ongoing basis as a preventative measure.
Other research suggests that the probiotic lactobacilli can increase the effectiveness of antifungal medications being taken by women with vaginal yeast infection.
5. Natural yogurt
Natural, unsweetened, non-flavored yogurt contains beneficial bacteria, called probiotics. These contribute to health and help restore the balance of bacteria and yeast in the body.
A 2006 review of research found that certain types of probiotics may combat some of the yeasts that cause vaginal yeast infection. While the reviewers flagged issues with several of the studies they cited, many people report relief from:
- eating yogurt
- applying to the vulva around the vagina
- inserting it vaginally
6. Coconut oil
Coconut oil has antifungal properties and has been shown to combat the Candida albicans yeast. Raw organic coconut oil can be applied internally or externally to ease symptoms.
Warmed coconut oil can also be used as a carrier oil for more powerful antifungal essential oils, including tea tree oil or oil of oregano.
Coconut oil is available to purchse online. Some products may be specifically suited for cooking, rather than for use on skin, so compare products and brands to choose an appropriate product.
Garlic is a known antifungal and antibiotic. However, recent research suggests that eating garlic has no effect on the levels of yeast in the vagina.
As an alternative to eating garlic, some women have tried using garlic internally. They claim to experience relief from yeast infection, by placing a garlic clove, threaded with a string, into the vagina overnight. While there is no evidence to say this works, it is a low-risk home remedy for yeast infection.
People with sensitive skin may experience burning and even skin damage. As such, people should not use garlic if they have sensitive skin. If the burning sensation worsens, people should discontinue use.
Also, a vaginal cream containing garlic and thyme was found to be as effective as clotrimazole vaginal cream in the treatment of yeast infection.
8. Oil of oregano
Share on PinterestWild oregano oil may slow or halt the growth of yeast.
Most oregano oil is made using the common oregano, origanum marjoram, which has no special properties.
However, oil of oregano made from the wild oregano, origanum vulgare, contains two potent antifungals: thymol and carvacrol.
Using wild oregano oil was shown in some research to halt or inhibit the growth of Candida albicans. Capsules containing oil of oregano may be inserted into the vagina at night. Alternatively, it can be applied to a tampon before insertion. Comparing different products is recommended.
Essential oils should be mixed with carrier oils before use and never applied directly to the skin. People can mix 3-5 drops of oil of oregano essential oil in 1 ounce of sweet almond oil, warmed coconut oil, or olive oil. A tampon should be soaked in this mixture for a few minutes, then insert and change every 2-4 hours during the day. People should not leave a medicated tampon in for more than 6 hours. It is a good idea to test for allergies to oil of oregano on the forearm before use.
Fortunately, most yeast infections are not serious. Left untreated, yeast infections will usually go away on their own, but the severe itching can be hard to tolerate for some. Fortunately, the infections respond well to over-the-counter antifungal creams or suppositories, so if you’re sure you have a yeast infection, go ahead and try an OTC yeast infection medication like Monistat or yeast arrest suppositories, which contain boric acid, a mild antiseptic. However, pregnant women should avoid boric acid.
Some people find soaking in an apple cider vinegar bath offers relief, as the vinegar can help restore normal acidity to the vagina. Add two cups of vinegar to a shallow warm—not hot—bath, and soak for 15 minutes. Make sure you dry yourself thoroughly before getting dressed. Every body is different, but most women will see some improvement after two or three soaks.
Applying plain yogurt to the area may help to restore balance and reduce irritation. Using only plain yogurt with active cultures, once or twice a day, rub a few tablespoons’ worth around the outside of the vagina to quell irritation, or insert the same amount into the vagina. You can also dip a tampon in the yogurt, let it soak for a few minutes, and then insert it.
It’s safe to try these natural remedies before you opt for the over-the-counter medications, and they are perfectly safe to use in addition to other treatments, even for pregnant women.
For chronic yeast infections, prescription strength boric acid is sometimes recommended, but it has to be obtained from a pharmacy that compounds drugs. The gelatin capsules are inserted into the vagina at night for two weeks, and serve as both an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory agent.
Can Yeast Infections Go Away on Their Own?
Table of Contents
Getting a yeast infection is inconvenient and can often come at the worst time. You might be wondering: Can a yeast infection go away on its own? How long will a yeast infection last without treatment? Read on to better understand yeast infections and what to do about it.
Will My Yeast Infection Go Away On It’s Own?
Unfortunately, there is no simple answer to this question. The length and type of treatment for a yeast infection varies greatly from person to person and depends on the individual symptoms and severity. Some mild yeast infections will go away on there own in a few days. For more severe yeast infections it could take up to two weeks to clear without treatment, meanwhile you may be stuck dealing with itchy and painful symptoms.
By forgoing diagnosis and treatment you are also at risk of falsely self diagnosing. Yeast infection symptoms can also be symptoms of certain STDs that require treatment. We’ll talk more about this later, first let’s cover the basics.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection, also known as candida vulvovaginitis, is a common infection that 3 out of 4 women will experience throughout their lives. Yeast infections are not considered Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs).
They can develop for a variety of reasons. Yeast infections most commonly refer to vaginal infections, but can also occur in other places in your body, such as your mouth or armpits. For our purposes, we’ll stick to vaginal yeast infections (though men can get yeast infections too).
Every woman’s vagina has a delicate balance of live bacteria and yeast cells. When this balance is thrown off, yeast cells can multiply, which often leads to a yeast infection. Yeast infections can develop because of lifestyle habits, environmental changes, skin-to-skin contact with someone that has a yeast infection, health conditions such as diabetes, and even other cyclical changes in a woman’s body.
The most common bacteria found in a healthy vagina are Lactobacillus acidophilus and help keep yeast levels in check. These bacteria moderate the growth of yeast cells and help susceptible parts of your body fight off infection.
You will most likely notice when this balance is thrown off because overproduction of yeast can cause an array of uncomfortable symptoms further listed below, which indicate a yeast infection. Treatments for yeast infections are easy to access and use.
While yeast infections may go away on their own, treatment is usually a preferable option, as the symptoms can be uncomfortable to deal with. Treatments for yeast infections are easy to access and use. By choosing not to treat your yeast infection, it may worsen and create a bigger problem.
How Do I Know If I Have a Yeast Infection?
The following are the most common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection:
What does a yeast infection feel like?
- Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
- Persistent itchiness in the genital area
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during urination
- Stinging sensations in the vagina or vulva
- Pain during intercourse
What does a yeast infection look like?
- Thick, lumpy vaginal discharge
- Redness in the vagina and vulva
- Swelling of the labia and vulva
What does a yeast infection smell like?
- Strong, musty odor
- Fishy, sour odor
- Otherwise abnormal smell
It is important to note that the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are like those of other STIs and genital infections. To be sure that you are experiencing a yeast infection, you should contact a doctor. Treatment for yeast infections are relatively straightforward, but by self-treating, you may inadvertently make the problem worse.
A PlushCare doctor can help advise by phone or video chat which steps to take and even prescribe necessary medication, (yes, an online doctor can prescribe medication!). To read more about how online doctor appointments work, including insurance and pricing information, click here.
Yeast Infection Treatment Options: What You Need to Know
Many women wonder will a yeast infection go away on its own? The answer depends on how serious it is. If you experience mild versions of the above symptoms, you may choose to let the yeast infection run its course, or use a home remedy to relieve your symptoms.
However, if your symptoms are uncomfortable and last more than 3 days, you may want to speak with your doctor and decide on a treatment plan.
OTC Treatment Options
- Non-prescription vaginal creams and suppositories – Common brands are Monistat, Vagisil, and AZO Yeast, which contain ingredients designed to kill yeast upon contact. (Refrain from using condoms as a main form of birth control while on these such regimens, as the ingredients may also weaken latex). Creams are applied topically while suppositories are inserted into the vagina where they dissolve. These medicines can be purchased at any drug store and come in a variety of strengths to lengthen or shorten a treatment period.
Prescription Treatment Options
- Prescription anti fungal pills – Anti fungal pills such as Diflucan are only available with a prescription, and require one pill to kill most yeast infections. For persistent yeast infections, your doctor may recommend you use this method.
Home Treatment Options
Many women prefer to use home remedies to get rid of yeast infections, especially if they have had a yeast infection before. Consult your doctor before you decide to go this route. Home remedies typically revolve around a common anti fungal property. This include:
- Oil of Oregano – oil of oregano has strong antifungal powers and is taken orally (in a carrier oil, or highly diluted – NEVER in essential oil form) to ward off yeast infections.
- Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar can be taken orally to strengthen your immune system. For yeast infections, try taking a warm bath with half of a cup of apple cider vinegar dissolved in the water.
- Coconut Oil – the gentle, yet powerful antifungal properties of coconut oil can be used topically to treat yeast infections.
- Apple cider vinegar – apple cider vinegar can be taken orally to strengthen your immune system. For yeast infections, try taking a warm bath with half of a cup of apple cider vinegar dissolved in the water.
- Plain Greek Yogurt – greek yogurt that is free of added sugar can be used topically to stimulate the growth of bacteria which will fend off yeast. Using yogurt with added sugar will usually make the problem worse.
Does a Yeast Infection Go Away By Itself? Risks of Opting out of Treatment
- It may not be what you think – Yeast infection symptoms are like those of other genital infections and sexually transmitted infections. Before you choose not to treat the problem, you should know exactly what it is.
- It could get worse – Even if your symptoms start out mild, choosing not to treat them could make the problem worse. Especially if the cause of your yeast infection is environmental, or because of a lifestyle habit, not treating yourself could make your body more vulnerable to other infections.
- It could infect your partner – Choosing to opt out of treatment when you have a sexual partner can cause problems for both of you. Yeast infections can be transmitted back and forth through genital contact. Without treatment and with continued sexual contact, your partner may develop a yeast infection. The infection may continue to be transmitted until one of you seeks treatment.
In mild cases of yeast infection, the problem may go away by itself. However, without knowing the cause of your yeast infection, choosing not to treat your infection may make it worse. You should contact your doctor before you decide to let a yeast infection go away on its own.
How to Know If Your Yeast Infection is Going Away
With or without treatment, a normal yeast infection should go away within 3-7 days. To know if your yeast infection is indeed going away, you should experience these stages, where you will notice:
- 1st you will notice: Discharge should return to a normal consistency and smell.
- 2nd you will notice: Itching should go away, which will alleviate much of the discomfort associated with the infection.
- 3rd you will notice: Any rash, swelling, or redness should stop. Your genitals should return to a healthy appearance and feel.
Other forms of yeast infection, like a yeast infection of the breast (during breastfeeding), may take longer to completely go away. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are choosing the right treatment option for your yeast infection.
How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last Without Treatment?
Without treatment, a yeast infection should go away within 3-7 days. Your symptoms may be relatively mild and will gradually improve. If it becomes extremely uncomfortable to sit for extended periods of time, or to have sexual intercourse, you should consider seeking treatment instead.
Signs That Your Yeast Infection is Something Else
If you decide to let yeast infections go away on their own, you should be especially wary of these symptoms, which may indicate a more serious problem. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should contact your doctor and seek treatment immediately.
- Vaginal discharge with a sour, pungent odor – may indicate a Sexually Transmitted Infection or Disease, including herpes and trichomoniasis.
- Itching near your anus – may be a sign of hemorrhoids or other genital infection.
- Blood in your stool/near your vulva – also a symptom of hemorrhoids. Contact your doctor immediately should you experience this.
- Fishy, white or gray discharge – a strong odor associated with thin white or grey discharge could indicate Bacterial Vaginosis, a bacterial infection of the vagina.
- Prolonged itchiness associated with use of a new hygiene product or detergent – allergic reactions to ingredients in soaps or detergents could cause itchiness in the vaginal area. Changing your hygiene regimen may relieve these symptoms.
Do What’s Right for You
Your genital health can be a sensitive subject. You should only opt out of treatment if you have experienced a yeast infection before and are comfortable with your body’s response, or if your symptoms are very mild and you have received an official diagnosis from a doctor. Even in these cases, it is best to be cautious and ask your doctor about your yeast infection and how you should treat it. The sooner you know, the sooner you can get back to a healthy life.
Get Treated Online | How PlushCare Works
In today’s age of unpredictable waiting rooms and swamped doctors, online services like PlushCare save you time and stress. All our visits with patients are confidential and convenient and require as little as a phone or video consultation. This can be especially helpful for addressing personal health problems, especially when they are of a sensitive nature.
Our team of medical professionals has extensive experience consulting with patients about their treatment options, including both over the counter and prescription medicines, and can help you understand which method is right for you.
To learn more about online doctor visits read our article How Do Online Doctor Visits Work?
Read more from our Yeast Infection series:
- Symptoms of Yeast Infection in Women
- How Long Do Yeast Infections Last?
- Can Sex Cause a Yeast Infection?
- Medical News Today. How long does a yeast infection take to go away. Accessed on September 23, 2019, at https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321342.php
- University of Michigan Health. Vaginal yeast infection, should I treat myself? Accessed September 23, 2019, at https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/tn9593
How To Diagnose and Treat a Yeast Infection at Home
1. What are yeast infections?2. The symptoms to look out for3. Could it be something else?4. Why you shouldn’t be worried5. What causes yeast infections?6. How can you treat it at home?7. Apple cider vinegar8. Coconut oil9. Yogurt & probiotics10. Boric acid11. Tea tree oil12. Aloe vera13. Peppermint oil14. Green tea15. Epsom salt16. Oregano oil17. When should you see a doctor?
What are yeast infections?
Yeast infections are the elephant in the women’s health room that nobody likes to talk about. However, vaginal yeast infections are extremely common and often easily treatable. In fact, the Center for Disease Control in the US found that about 75% of women get at least once in their lifetime. These infections, although mostly harmless, can be very uncomfortable, or even painful, and might recur over time if not properly treated. Additionally, the symptoms almost always get progressively worse if left untreated for prolonged periods, so if you suspect you have an infection, get to treat it immediately.
The symptoms to look out for
The most common symptoms are itching, a burning sensation and possible vaginal discharge that has a thicker consistency than regular discharge. You may also see signs of rashes, redness or irritation that may or may not be accompanied by swelling. You might notice discomfort or pain while urinating. Sexual intercourse also becomes uncomfortable. You are most likely to notice these symptoms just before or after your menstrual period when your body has more hormone fluctuations.
Could it be something else?
Itching in the vaginal area can be caused by a multitude of issues, so it is possible you see some of these symptoms without actually having a yeast infection. So before you start treating the infection, go through this checklist to see if it is any of these habits that are causing the irritation instead.
- Irritation can be caused by using a dull razor to shave down there. Make sure you’re always using a clean, sharp razor and take extra care to not nick yourself. Nicked skin is not only painful but also makes you more vulnerable to infections.
- Dermatitis – a form of skin inflammation, is characterised by external itching on your vulva. If your itch doesn’t seem to step from inside your vagina, you might only have a topical inflammation.
- If you often wear tight clothing or tend to stay in sweaty clothing for long, the moist environment might be the cause behind your itching.
- Not using enough lubricant during sex could cause itching due to dryness and friction.
- Using a lubricant with certain alcohols or fragrances might irritate the vaginal area. If you recently changed lubes, maybe that’s where the cause lies.
- In case you didn’t get the memo, douching does more harm than good. So stop douching for good.
- If you recently changed your soap or detergent, it could be a new fragrance that is causing discomfort. If you are going through menopause, fluctuating oestrogen levels can change the pH balance of your vagina and lead to itching.
- Using any feminine hygiene product, lubricant or condoms that contain fragrance can have adverse effects on the sensitive vaginal walls. Cut out all forms of fragrance from making contact with your vagina.
- Itching is one of the most common initial signs of multiple sexually transmitted diseases. If there even a slight chance that you’ve contracted an STD, you need to get yourself tested as soon as possible.
Why you shouldn’t be worried
Although it might feel like it’s the end of the world, vaginal yeast infections are extremely common and can affect women of all ages. There are several steps you can take to prevent them, or at least inhibit their growth. However the infection itself often has nothing to do with your sexual health or vaginal hygiene, so it might not be something you did wrong. Although it can be transferred sexually, it is not considered an STD as it can form even in the absence of any sexual activity.
What causes yeast infections?
All healthy vaginas contain a small amount of a certain type of fungus called Candida albicans (also known as yeast). Your body also contains certain bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus that keep the growth of this yeast under control. When the balance of these organisms is upset, this can least to overgrowth of yeast and subsequently an infection.
The specific cause can vary from person to person, and a combination of factors might also be responsible. The most common cause, however, is an unlikely enemy – antibiotics. Antibiotics might be wonder pills that make your fever go away, but in the process of killing harmful bacteria, there a slight chance that they also end up killing some helpful bacteria as collateral damage, causing the growth of yeast to go out of control.
High oestrogen levels can also cause an infection, so the culprit might be something as simple as hormonal imbalance right before or after your menstrual cycle. In addition, a diet high in added sugars, having an improper sleep cycle and leading a stressful life can also make you more vulnerable.
How can you treat it at home?
If your symptoms are mild, or if you see them occurring for the first time, it is often best to wait for them to clear up by themselves. If they don’t clear up, there are several home remedies and over the top medications, you can use to treat them. The most common way to treat yeast infections is to use over-the-counter antifungal creams, suppositories or tablets to kill the excess yeast. If you prefer trying natural ingredients first, here are some remedies you can try. It is to be noted that if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or diabetic, home remedies are not recommended. Please see a doctor to treat your infection.
Apple cider vinegar
It’s been long established that apple cider vinegar is a miracle potion sent from above. ACV can be used to treat your infection both internally and topically. ACV is antifungal and helps restore the pH balance of your vagina. It also increases the growth of healthy bacteria to curb yeasts production.
Consuming ACV on an empty stomach by adding a tablespoon to a glass of water or a cup of tea can help a great deal. For topical application, dip a cloth in less than five percent acidity ACV and place it directly over the affected area. Allow it to remain for 30 minutes before rinsing it in water. You could also choose to add a cup of ACV to your warm bath and soak in it.
Coconut oil has a soothing effect on irritated and inflamed skin and has antifungal properties to fight the infection-causing yeast.
Use pure, organic coconut oil to apply directly to the affected area. You can safely repeat this twice or thrice a day with no side effects. You could also choose to apply coconut oil on a clean tampon and then insert the tampon.
Yogurt & probiotics
Probiotic plain yoghurt contains healthy bacteria, lactobacillus, that helps fight the yeast.
Eating plain, we repeat, PLAIN, unflavoured yoghurt with no added sugars as a part of your daily diet can do wonders. You could also apply it directly on the surface, although you should be advised against inserting it directly into the vagina as there is no concrete proof that it works.
Boric acid suppositories are widely recommended in treating vaginal yeast infections. You can insert a 600mg boric powder capsule in your vagina once a day for upto 14 days to cure yeast infections (according to the Centres for Disease Control). However, for recurring infections, it is not recommended to use these suppositories as a long-term solution. Moreover, these pills are toxic for oral consumption so do not swallow them.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties. Mix a few drops of tea tree oil with honey or coconut oil and apply the mixture topically. However, do not use tea tree oil directly, or insert it into the vagina as it is considered harsh in its undiluted form and could cause irritation. If you have never used tea tree oil before, it is recommended to test your skin’s reaction to it first. Apply diluted oil on a patch on your forearm and check for any signs for irritation for the next 12 hours.
Aloe vera has several beneficial properties that can help cure yeast infections. While pure aloe gel has antifungal properties, internal consumption can help increase white blood cells, which helps your body fight yeast from within. You can safely drink aloe vera juice every day until you see improvement. Just add 2 tea spoons of fresh aloe gel to any fruit juice and blend it together. Additionally, you could also apply pure aloe gel to the affected area three times a day.
Much like tea tree oil, peppermint oil is a potent antifungal agent but is be too harsh to be used in its undiluted form. Mix a few drops of peppermint oil with any carrier oil (like coconut oil) or dilute it in water and apply topically on the infected area. Drinking peppermint tea every day, although too mild to cure the infection by itself, can help supplement other treatments and expedite the recovery process.
Green tea is rich in antioxidants, which enables your body to better fight off the infection. Drinking green tea every day is the easiest way to see results. Additionally, you could take a used green tea bag, refrigerate it to cool it down, and it places it over the infected area to soothe inflamed skin. You can also add loose green tea leaves to your bath for similar results.
Epsom salts are known to have soothing effects on irritated skin and can also help kill fungi. Replace your bubble baths with one cup of Epsom salt in your warm water bath and soak in the bath for 10 to 15 minutes. It is not recommended to overuse this treatment, and it can be performed thrice a week at the most.
Oregano oil is one of the most potent ingredients to fight yeast infections. It contains agents named carvacrol and thymol which fight yeast overgrowth by dehydrating Candida cells. It is also one of the few ingredients that yeast does not build resistance against, and hence can be safely used for prolonged periods of time. Add 2-4 drops of oregano oil to a glass of water and drink this daily. Once you can palate the taste, you can increase this dosage to 5-6 drops. This not only cures but can also prevent yeast infections from recurring.
Other steps you can take to prevent yeast infections
- Yeast thrives in moist environments to make sure to keep the genital area dry at all times.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting clothes and pantyhose for prolonged periods of time, especially if you know you’re going to sweat.
- Set aside the fancy lingerie for the bedroom only and wear cotton underwear for regular use as cotton prevents moisture retention.
- We know you feel like you deserve to sit and do nothing after a tough workout, but you must change out of sweaty gym clothing immediately. The same goes for wet swimwear.
- Not changing your tampon or pad often enough is essentially setting yourself up for disaster. Although most brands claim their product is safe to use for 6-8 hours, it is recommended that you change every four hours, irrespective of the flow.
- Vaginal perfumes, sprays and lotions, and any other feminine hygiene product containing fragrance can irritate the area and cause an imbalance of bacteria and yeast.
- Make sure to use a water-based, perfume-free lubricant during sex, and always shower immediately after.
- Yeast feeds on sugar, so cutting back on sugar consumption can help greatly.
- Never self-administer antibiotics and only take them when prescribed by a doctor.
When should you see a doctor?
If your high oestrogen levels are associated with pregnancy or hormone therapy, you should see a gynaecologist before treating to treat the condition yourself. If you suffer from diabetes or HIV, you are more susceptible to infections and need to see a doctor to be treated.
You will also need medical attention if your infection doesn’t respond to initial treatments, or becomes more severe with the appearance of rashes, fissures or sores, and also if the infection is recurring, (you have four or more instances a year). In the case of recurring infections, there is a chance that regular medication such as birth control pills is causing hormonal imbalance, leading to infections. Make sure you inform your doctor about any medication you are on. Subscribe to our YouTube channel