A yeast infection occurs when Candida yeast grows too large in the vagina, causing an infection. Yeast infections are common and it is estimated that most women will experience at least one infection in their lives. Once the burning and itching sensation starts, you are most likely ready to try anything to get rid of it. Although yeast infections are generally treated with over-the-counter creams or prescription antifungals, some home remedies can help clear them as well.
Before resorting to home remedies, first diagnose
Before trying home remedies, it is important to first get a correct diagnosis. It is estimated that up to two-thirds of women who buy over-the-counter yeast medications do not have a yeast infection. Other types of infections, such as bacterial vaginosis , sexually transmitted diseases, and urinary tract infections, can easily be mistaken for yeast infections. If you are unsure of your feelings, consult your gynecologist before attempting to heal.
Foods and herbs with natural antifungal properties can help treat or prevent yeast overgrowth in the body. Most home remedies are not scientifically proven yet, so it is important to be careful when choosing them. If you have any questions, talk to your doctor.
Eating plain yogurt without sweeteners and with live probiotic cultures can help prevent future yeast infections. Probiotics are live microorganisms that can be consumed with health benefits, especially for the digestive system. Eating foods rich in probiotics can help restore your gut microflora to a healthy balance, kill harmful disease-causing bacteria, and increase beneficial bacteria.
A common side effect of antibiotics is yeast infection because the antibiotic kills the bacteria in the vagina that are responsible for preventing yeast overgrowth. When the number of good bacteria is too low, fungal growth can get out of control and lead to a fungal infection.
Therefore, eating foods rich in probiotics, such as yogurt, can be an effective measure to prevent yeast infection. It remains to be shown whether eating yogurt can cure a yeast infection.
Boric acid is a natural compound with antifungal properties. It contains probiotics and antioxidants that help the body restore its supply of beneficial bacteria.
A 2011 clinical review found that boric acid is a safe alternative treatment for yeast infections, especially when traditional antifungal medications are ineffective. Boric acid may be helpful for women who have chronic yeast infections and who have been prescribed antifungal medications multiple times.
Boric acid usually comes in the form of vaginal suppositories that are inserted into the vagina and should never be taken by mouth. Follow the directions on the package and consult your healthcare professional if your symptoms do not improve. Boric acid is not safe for pregnant women, so if you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about a safe antifungal.
Oil of oregano is an essential oil known for its health benefits. A 2016 study found that oregano oil can inhibit the growth and activity of Candida albicans , the most common type of yeast that causes vaginal yeast infections. The essential oil was more effective in controlling yeast overgrowth than clotrimazole, a prescription antifungal medication.
In one study, oil of oregano was more damaging to the Candida yeast cell wall than proven antifungal prescriptions. It should be noted that this study examined the effects of oregano oil on yeast in vitro. However, more research is needed to determine how oregano oil is used in the body.
Coconut oil has been found to inhibit the overgrowth of bacteria in the body. A 2018 study found that when dissolved in water, coconut oil is an effective antimicrobial agent. This can be helpful in preventing yeast infections, as an infection occurs when the bacteria and fungi in the vagina are out of balance.
Coconut oil can be taken by mouth or mixed with foods like oatmeal or baked goods. More research is needed on how to use coconut oil to treat yeast infections.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a proven antifungal agent that effectively fights Candida albicans . A 2020 study found that tea tree oil was effective against antifungal-resistant yeast. Talk to your gynecologist if you want to include tea tree oil in your treatment plan. Avoid getting the essential oil directly into the vagina or vagina and do not ingest it.
Apple cider vinegar has been found to have antifungal and antimicrobial effects. This means that it can cure and prevent the overgrowth of fungi and bacteria in the body. In fact, apple cider vinegar has been shown to be an effective yeast infection treatment for persistent infections that do not respond to conventional treatments.
Apple cider vinegar seems to work by preventing Candida from sticking to smooth surfaces. This can help prevent yeast infection because the fungi cannot join together and remain in the vagina. Try mixing a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with a large glass of water every morning. Do not try to apply vinegar directly to your vagina.
Garlic has antifungal properties and has been shown to be effective in reducing yeast infections during vaginal yeast infections. However, studies have not found that garlic can prevent infections.
Garlic can be consumed raw or as a concentrated supplement. Add garlic to your kitchen or try over-the-counter garlic oil or tablets. Follow the directions on the package and see your doctor if you don't feel relief from your symptoms within a few days.
You can get vitamin C by eating green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits. You can also take vitamin C supplements.
Lemongrass essential oil has been found to be effective in treating Candida albicans . Lemongrass oil can be inhaled as a vapor. In a 2014 study, the steam method was most effective in treating yeast overgrowth. Internal consumption of this oil can be toxic and should only be done under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.
Lemongrass oil also has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Reducing inflammation can help reduce the itching and burning sensation associated with yeast infections.
Prevent yeast infection naturally
The best treatment for a yeast infection is prevention. To reduce your risk of developing yeast infection:
- Never shower or use soap on your vagina.
- Wear cotton underwear that is not too tight and breathable.
- Change out of sweaty sportswear or wet bathing suits immediately.
- Avoid scented soaps and detergents.
- Change pads and tampons frequently.
- Always wipe from front to back when using the bathroom.
- Don't spend too much time in hot tubs and baths.
- Minimize foods that promote yeast, such as alcohol and sugar.
It may be worth trying an oral home remedy to treat a yeast infection. For example, adding apple cider vinegar or yogurt to your diet is good for your health. However, keep these foods and supplements away from your vagina. A quick internet search reveals dozens of unproven yeast treatments that can cause even more problems.
Yogurt is rich in probiotics, but it is also rich in natural sugars, which can nourish yeast and make yeast infections worse. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and can be very irritating to the skin. It can even cause chemical burns.
Another online remedy is to shower or bathe in water and hydrogen peroxide. This is dangerous and can cause severe skin irritation. Hydrogen peroxide kills both yeast and bacteria, so while it can cure one yeast infection, it can also put you at risk of developing another. This is because the beneficial bacteria in the vagina prevent yeast from growing. If these bacteria are killed by hydrogen peroxide, there may be another fungal infection.
When to call your healthcare provider
Most over-the-counter yeast medications work from one day to a week. If symptoms persist after a week of using home remedies, see your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe Diflucan (fluconazole), an oral antifungal medication that usually treats yeast infection with a single dose.
If your yeast infection treatment does not bring relief, you may not have yeast infection. This is why it is so important to see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis. Bacterial vaginosis, sexually transmitted infections, skin conditions, and other conditions can sometimes have symptoms similar to a yeast infection. Some of these infections can have serious complications if left untreated, so don't hesitate to contact your doctor.
If you notice that you have frequent fungal infections, see your gynecologist . You may need more long-term antifungal treatment to clear up the infection and prevent it from recurring in the future.