A yeast infection (Candidiasis) is a common type of fungal infection. One place it targets is the genital area, which leads to pain, itching, and discharge. But what ways can a yeast infection be treated at home?
There are natural ways to treat yeast infections. These 8 natural home remedies for Candidiasis (yeast infection) are convenient for those wanting to go a more natural, discreet route.
1. Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has been found to inhibit the growth of candida albicans, the strain of fungi that typically causes yeast infections.
To use this natural remedy, run a bath and add a half cup of apple cider vinegar and soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes.
Never use apple cider vinegar at full strength. Because of apple cider’s ability to kill bacteria and fungi, it could also kill the healthy bacteria in the body. Dilute apple cider vinegar before using it.
2. Boric acid
Boric acid vaginal suppositories remedy yeast infections because of boric acid’s antiseptic properties. While research supports the use of these suppositories, it concludes that this should only be used for recurrent and hard to treat yeast infections. Because boric acid is so potent, milder treatments should first be used.
3. 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, or in stores. Some products may be specifically suited for cooking, rather than for use on skin, so compare products and brands to choose an appropriate product.
4. Cranberry Juice or Pills
Cranberry juice has been found to help with urinary tract infections by preventing the formation of the candida albicans (the fungus that causes yeast infections). While studies have not shown its ability to help cure candida albicans in the vagina, some women claim to have results. Cranberry juice and pills are also very high in vitamin C, which can also help prevent infection.
Over-the-counter douches may combat yeast infections and relieve inflammation and irritation. However, most studies show adverse effects of douching, and few studies give positive outcomes. According to the Office of Women’s Health, doctors recommend that women do not douche because douching can lead to problems getting pregnant, vaginal infections, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Garlic and garlic oil are well-known antifungal agents. Studies have even found it to have antifungal activity against candida albicans.
While more traditional approaches may recommend inserting the garlic clove directly into the vagina, a less invasive approach is to simply add more fresh garlic to food and incorporate it into more meals.
7. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is a strong antiseptic that has been found to kill yeast. It has not been studied specifically on vaginal infection strains of yeast. Before applying to the vagina, be sure to dilute the hydrogen peroxide first.
8. Oregano oil
Oregano oil, or origanum oil, has been shown to inhibit the growth of candida albicans. To use oregano oil, use a couple of drops in a carrier agent, like coconut oil or olive oil, and apply to the affected area.
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.
Probiotics contain live bacteria, such as the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, which helps foster a healthy balance of bacterias in the vagina. They may treat or prevent bacterial vaginosis and urinary tract infections in addition to yeast infections.
You can buy probiotic supplements online or in stores. These oral supplements may take up to 10 days to show results. To decrease the length of time for results, some women have used probiotics as vaginal suppositories. Eating yogurt (with live and active cultures) is another good way to increase probiotic intake.
However, like many natural remedies, there is a lack of evidence that probiotics cure yeast infections. Researchers are still studying probiotics for yeast infections, but many doctors recommend taking one whenever an antibiotic is prescribed, as yeast infections are a possible side effect of antibiotics.
10. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antifungal properties, that some people claim to cure yeast infections. It works by killing the cell walls and membranes of the yeast. While more studies are currently needed, a 2015 study found that vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil were able to work as a fungicidal agent thereby killing the candida albicans.
As with all essential oils, use a few drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut or castor oil) when using it on the body. Women can purchase vaginal suppositories with tea tree oil online.
11. Vitamin C
Vitamin C (Vitamin C coupons | What is Vitamin C?) boosts the body’s immunity and, with a strengthened immune system, the body is able to fight off a yeast infection better. Add more vitamin C by taking a supplement or eating vitamin C-rich fruits and vegetables like oranges and broccoli.
Yogurt (with live and active cultures) is a good way to treat yeast infections because of its high probiotic concentrate. As mentioned above, probiotics can help fight off candida albicans. A recent study found that the ingestion of yogurt containing probiotics with Lactobacillus acidophilus helps suppress the growth of yeast.
While eating yogurt with probiotics can improve yeast infections, some women even find relief in soaking a tampon in yogurt and inserting it vaginally, remembering to change it frequently. With this technique only use plain, unsweetened yogurt or unsweetened Greek yogurt. Yogurt containing sugar would help the candida grow and flourish.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections
There are a number of ways to prevent a yeast infection.
- Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use. Antibiotics can kill off the healthy bacteria in the vagina, causing an overgrowth of yeast, thus leading to a yeast infection.
- Wear cotton underwear. Loose-fitting, cotton underwear is most conducive to a healthy microbiome. Avoid garments that are tight and aren’t as breathable, such as leggings. These clothes can create a humid, damp area, which is the ideal environment for candida overgrowth. Because of this, it is also important to change out of damp or sweaty clothes, like workout clothes or swimwear, quickly.
- Avoid hot tubs and scalding hot baths, which foster candida growth, due to the warm, moist environments.
- Take probiotics or eat yogurt with probiotics since they help balance the vaginal microflora. As well as treatment for yeast infections, probiotics are helpful in the prevention of yeast infections. The best probiotic to take will be with those containing the Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 bacteria.
- Avoid behaviors that may lead to yeast infections, such as poor hygiene. When performing personal hygiene practices, avoid douching, scented vaginal washes or scented lotions, as well as perfumed sanitary products near the genitals, which can throw off the balance of the vagina’s microflora.
- Avoid sugary and processed foods. Yeast grows from sugar, so this can cause a surplus of yeast growth.
Causes of Recurring Yeast Infections
Some women are more susceptible to yeast infections than others and will have recurring yeast infections or chronic yeast infections. There are a few possible reasons someone may deal with recurrent yeast infections:
- Sexual activity. While yeast infections are not a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it is possible for partners to pass the candida to each other. To prevent this, use condoms or dental dams and practice good hygiene after sexual intercourse, such as showering. Avoid having intercourse when one partner has a yeast infection.
- The original yeast infection was not completely treated or the yeast infection is caused by a drug-resistant strain. Symptoms may disappear before the infection is fully treated. When this happens, the yeast infection will come back. There are also strains of yeast that are more drug-resistant, which makes it harder to get rid of than others.
- It is not a yeast infection. There are other infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, or STIs, that may have similar symptoms. This is one of the most important reasons for visiting a doctor, such as a gynecologist or primary care physician, when a yeast infection does not clear up.
- Those with certain conditions, such as impaired immune systems, pregnancy, or uncontrolled diabetes, are more susceptible to yeast infections.
Although they may help, home remedies for yeast infections are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Results vary. If symptoms do not resolve within a few days, be sure to see a healthcare provider.