According to a report from 2007, yeast infections are the most common type of vaginal infections, following only bacterial vaginosis. Also known as candida, a yeast infection is actually a group of fungi affecting the vaginal area. Yeast infections can also develop around dentures, the lower abdomen, under the breasts, beneath skin folds and under nail beds.
At some point of their life, 75% of women around the world are afflicted with a yeast infection. The common symptoms include vaginal discharge, a burning sensation when urinating, and pain and discomfort in the vagina during sexual intercourse. No matter the cause, a yeast infection can be treated by over-the-counter medicines and home remedies. It is worth noting that yeast infections can affect both men and women, with men usually getting the infection during sex. However, a yeast infection is not considered a sexually transmitted disease because of one simple reason: yeast infections can occur even in women who are not sexually active.
In this article, we summarize some of the most commonly used home remedies for yeast infections.
Like many other probiotics, yogurt works to neutralize the bad bacteria that is causing the infection. Probiotics, also called good bacteria, can control the infection and growth of bacteria. There are two ways to use yogurt in treating yeast infection. The first one is by applying yogurt topically on the affected area for 30 minutes to relieve the itching and burning sensation. Another way is to dip a tampon in yogurt, and then insert the tampon in the vagina for two hours. Repeat two times per day. Drinking yogurt and probiotics like kombucha tea and kefir can also help treat vaginal yeast infection.
Coconut oil is one of the best foods with antifungal properties, effectively killing off the bacteria causing yeast infection. The simplest way to use coconut oil is by applying it topically on the affected area three times per day. An alternative way is to mix coconut oil and cinnamon oil in equal amounts, and then applying the solution on the affected area.
Apple Cider Vinegar
When it comes to home remedies for yeast infection, one must mention apple cider vinegar, an acidic solution that controls growth of bacteria and kills off any fungi. Because apple cider vinegar is highly acidic, and the vaginal area is sensitive, it is recommended that the ACV be diluted in water.
Therefore, to use ACV as a home remedy, mix two tablespoons of vinegar with one cup of water and drink it two times per day. You can apply the same mixture on the affected area and let it stay there for 30 to 45 minutes before rinsing off. An alternative way is to prepare hot bath and add some apple cider vinegar in it. Soak your body in the bath for one hour and then pat yourself dry.
The household name for all home remedies, yeast infection included, is garlic. Thanks to numerous benefits, including its antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antibiotic properties, garlic is effective in treating and preventing many diseases and conditions.
For the home remedy, crush a few cloves and prepare a paste out of the mixture. Apply the paste directly on the affected area. If you don’t want to put garlic on your vaginal area, eat few fresh cloves every day. You might get bad breath due to the garlic odor, but your yeast infection will be gone.
Oregano oil helps with both yeast and candida infections, working as an effective home remedy. Oregano oil can be used both topically and orally. The topical way is by diluting oregano oil with water and then applying it on the affected area. Make sure to dilute the oil, as it can be irritating. If you want to take oregano oil orally, swallow two capsules two times per day after meals.
Yeast infections and cranberries are usually synonymous, as cranberries have antifungal and antibacterial properties. Cranberries also help with urinary tract infections and bladder infections, some of which are sometimes side effects of a yeast infection. Simply drink unsweetened cranberry juice during the day, and the healing process will be faster. You can also take cranberry tablets.
One of the best antiseptic substances you can find, boric acid is a great home remedy for yeast infection. However, it is not recommended for pregnant women.
For this remedy, dilute boric acid with water, and then apply the solution on the affected area. Leave the solution for few minutes, and then rinse with water. Repeat every day for two weeks.
One of the few herbs on the list for yeast infection home remedies, calendula has powerful anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties. Simply crush two to three leaves of the herb, and then apply the mixture on the affected area. Repeat the treatment two times per day. For those who prefer an oral treatment, drink tea from calendula extract two times per day.
Tea Tree Oil
As with most ingredients on the list, tea tree oil has to be diluted to be effective, as it can harm sensitive skin. A few drops of tea tree oil and one teaspoon of water or olive oil is all you need. Rub the mixture on the affected area. For vaginal yeast infection, you can also use a tampon dipped in a mixture of tea tree oil and water. After dipping, insert the tampon in your vagina and let it stay there for two hours.
Olive Oil Extract
Olive oil can be used to dilute tea tree oil, but it also works on its own. Extract from the olive leaf is a powerful antifungal and antiviral home remedy. Olive oil extract not only helps with yeast infection, but also restores the balance between the good and bad bacteria in your body.
Chop a few olive leaves and put them in a glass jar. Pour vodka over the leaves and cover them completely. Cover the jar with a lid and store in a dark place for one month. After a month, strain the liquid and apply the solution to the affected area. Repeat three times per day.
Wearing cotton underwear, or no underwear at all, is an effective precautionary measure for yeast infection. It’s also effective once you get yeast infection. Avoid tight jeans, and make sure to change out of wet swimsuits as soon as possible; a wet swimsuit provides a moist and warm environment that is the perfect breeding ground for yeast infections.
When Not to Use Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
Home remedies for yeast infection are safe and secure, but there are situations when they’re not recommended. In some cases, consulting with a doctor is the best remedy. You should not use home remedies for yeast infection in the following situations:
- During pregnancy
- You are not sure the symptoms are caused by yeast infection
- You have recurrent infections
- You have been exposed to an STD that requires a medical exam
Symptoms and When to See a Doctor
As mentioned previously, yeast infection symptoms include itching in the vaginal area, clumpy, odorless and white vaginal discharge, red and irritated skin at the opening of the vagina, and pain while urinating and during sexual intercourse.
The symptoms usually occur one week before the menstrual period. In most cases, the infection can be treated at home. However, if you have lower abdomen pain and a fever higher than 101oF, you should consult with a physician. Visit the doctor immediately if you have symptoms of both a vaginal and urinary tract infection, or when the symptoms occur during pregnancy.
With mild symptoms, you can call the doctor and schedule an appointment within a few days.