- An effective home remedy for treating yeast infections is to take a probiotic containing lactobacillus or consume it in fermented foods like miso.
- Boric acid, available at most grocery stores, is another home remedy that can treat a yeast infection.
- Some home remedies to avoid if you have a yeast infection are garlic, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil.
- This article was medically checked by Olivia P. Myrick, MD, is a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at NYU Langone.
- Please refer to Insider’s Insider Reference Library for more information.
Rough 75% of women Experience a yeast infection in your life making it a common – but no less irritating – situation. No wonder the internet is filled with healing advice, from showering with vinegar to lathering yogurt. Many of these suggestions are not only ineffective, but can actually harm your body.
Here’s What Science Says About Which Home Remedies For Yeast Infections Are And Which Are Not.
What are yeast infections?
Yeast is a type of microscopic fungus, and most yeast infections are caused by the overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus is present in all healthy vaginas and is held in check by other bacteria. However, sometimes this balance can be disturbed due to causes like antibiotic use and hormone imbalance – like during pregnancy. This can lead to yeast overgrowth and cause infection.
Typical symptoms of a yeast infection are:
- Itching and burning of the vulva and vagina
- Painful urination
- Swelling of the vulva
- Redness of the vulva
- Thick, white discharge
The typical treatment for a yeast infection is an antifungal medicine – usually a cream. Over-the-counter creams contain Monistat and include prescription creams Terponazole. Some patients may also be prescribed a single dose of an oral antifungal drug, such as: Fluconazole.
But for those who prefer to treat their yeast infection naturally, here are the home remedies that may work – and those who don’t.
Home Remedies That May Help Treat Yeast Infections
The following natural remedies have been well studied, and there is sufficient evidence that they can naturally treat a yeast infection at home, or at least reduce the chance of it coming back:
1. Take probiotics
Certain strains of probiotic, especially Lactobacillus, supply the vagina with healthy bacteria. This can help treat yeast infections and improve overall vaginal health by restoring the balance of bacteria in the vagina.
A 2015 study published in BMC Infectious Diseases In 19 women with recurring yeast infections, the probiotic Lactobacillus was found to be effective in preventing an infection from recurring. Participants who used vaginal capsules containing Lactobacillus in addition to the medication for 10 days saw a cure rate of 89% one year later. Meanwhile, after 12 months, the cure rate for those who had just started taking medication was 70%.
Tamika Auguste, obstetrician and gynecologist At the Medstar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC, it states, “Indeed, if someone develops a yeast infection, if they develop a yeast infection, someone will stop taking probiotics or remove them from their regime.” Therefore, Some doctors warn against it Relying solely on probiotics as a treatment. Instead, they could be more of a preventative measure.
Some easy ways to incorporate probiotics into your diet are by eating more lactobacillus-rich foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, and miso. Probiotic supplements that contain at least 1 billion colony-forming units (CFU) can also be helpful in improving vaginal health.
2. Try boric acid
Boric acid is a powdered substance containing antifungal properties and probiotics like Lactobacilliales, which means it balances out the bacteria in the vagina, thereby treating yeast infections. The early evidence of boric acid’s ability to treat yeast infections shows promise.
For example, a 2011 literature review in the Journal of Women’s Health Fourteen separate studies were examined that compared the drug’s effectiveness with nine other antifungal drugs, such as fluconazole and terconazole. The review found that boric acid healed between 40% and 100% of the patients.
You can find boric acid in a grocery store, usually the pharmacy or cleaning aisle.
To treat yeast infections, Put about 600 mg of boric acid in suppository capsules – cone-shaped pills that dissolve in your body. this can then be inserted into the vagina. The standard treatment is to take a pill once a day at bedtime for seven days.
Note that using boric acid has some side effects. Some people have complained vaginal burning, watery discharge, and vaginal redness. Pregnant women should not take boric acid suppositories because the substance is toxic to a fetus.
Home Remedies That Don’t Treat Yeast Infections
The following natural remedies have no evidence of their effectiveness in treating yeast infections at home:
1. Avoid garlic
Some have suggested garlic is a good over-the-counter remedy for yeast infections. That’s because it has allicin, a substance that is released when fresh garlic is crushed known antimicrobial and antibacterial properties this can damage bacterial yeast. However, these benefits do not outweigh the risks.
Auguste says she doesn’t recommend garlic as a home treatment for yeast infections because of possible side effects. Adding raw garlic into your vaginal canal not only introduces a foreign body, but it can also cause the skin in the canal to burn and become irritated.
Additionally, there is limited research to suggest that garlic is more effective than other treatments. For example a 2010 study The journal, published in the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery, examined the effects of treating yeast infections with a medicinal cream filled with garlic and thyme and comparing it to a typical clotrimazole vaginal cream, an over-the-counter or prescription antifungal cream. The garlic cream was just as effective as the clotrimazole. However, the population studied was quite small, and the group using the garlic treatment reported more side effects overall.
According to Auguste, “there is no evidence that a clove of garlic alone prevents or treats an infection.”
2. Be careful with tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is often marketed as a natural substance help manage acne and other Skin conditions. But there is debate about it whether it can help with yeast infections. It certainly won’t cure an infection on its own. However, in certain cases it can prove helpful when combined with other treatments.
For example a Study published in Biomedical Research International in 2015 studied how 32 strains of antibiotic-resistant Candida albicans reacted to tea tree oil. The researchers found that tea tree oil can reduce this yeast’s resistance. In other words, tea tree oil could make certain yeast infections more susceptible to fluconazole – the antifungal drug commonly used to treat these infections.
3. Skip coconut oil
While coconut oil is often touted as a panacea for its antimicrobial properties, there is little evidence that it can fight yeast infections.
Some preliminary studies have shown that coconut oil can be effective in controlling candida overgrowth. However, these studies were carried out in Petri dishes and mice, making it unclear whether coconut oil would safely treat yeast infections in humans.
4. Never shower with apple cider vinegar
Some research suggests that apple cider vinegar inhibits yeast growth, which in turn enables white blood cells Consume yeast bacteria. However, there is general consensus in the medical community that showering with apple cider vinegar – or anything else – will do more harm than good to vaginal health.
That’s because showering can alter the delicate pH balance in the vagina, which can actually lead to it more yeast infections. Showering has also been linked to pelvic inflammatory disease and problems getting pregnant.
“In the past, [apple cider] Vinegar showers were really common. And some women at the time thought that this would help clean the vagina. That is not necessary, “says Auguste.
On rare occasions, apple cider vinegar has helped. For example, a 2017 case study published in Alternative therapies in health and medicine described a patient with chronic yeast infections that didn’t respond to traditional drugs. The patient was successfully treated with topical application of apple cider vinegar. However, this was only a patient and does not mean the same approach will work for you.
In fact, most doctors caution against using apple cider vinegar to correct a persistent yeast infection.
How to Prevent Yeast Infection
Some women, of course, are more prone to recurring yeast infections than others due to a weakened immune system, pregnancy, or genetics. But there are Some Practices to Follow to reduce the risk of infection and otherwise maintain vaginal health, such as:
- Wear loose-fitting clothing and cotton underwear
- After using the bathroom, wipe from front to back
- Avoid scented tampons or pads
- Change tampons and pads often
- Never take a shower
When to see a doctor
Auguste recommends seeing a doctor whenever you experience yeast infection-like symptoms, even if you hope to treat them without medication. That way, you can talk to your doctor about the best treatment options for you and your body.
“If the discharge that is present is clear, no odor, no itching, this is mostly normal,” says Auguste. “If this discharge either changes color, becomes extra yellow or green, thickened or lumpy, or has a strong odor, this is the time to see a gynecologist.”
The final result
The annoyance of yeast infections is widespread. Certain home remedies, like taking probiotics, can aid recovery, but others can actively harm you. It is best to see a doctor who will guide you on the most appropriate treatment plan.