Vaginal yeast infection (vaginal candidiasis) is caused by an overgrowth of fungi that normally live in the vagina, called Candida albicans.
This overgrowth causes irritation, inflammation, itching, and painful secretions. Most women experience a yeast infection at some time during their lives.
If this is your first time experiencing the symptoms of a yeast infection, you should visit a gynecologist to verify that you actually have yeast infection and not anything else.
But if you have frequent yeast infections, talk to your doctor about other safe ways to try to treat or possibly prevent a yeast infection from recurring.
Some of these remedies use ingredients that you may already have in your home. Its effectiveness varies, and the evidence for its success is often unconfirmed.
Mayo Clinic states that some complementary therapies may provide some relief along with your doctor’s care.
Keep reading to learn more about some common home remedies for yeast infection.
1. Greek yogurt
Probiotics can be effective against Clostridium albicans.
Yogurt can be considered a probiotic because it contains live bacteria such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. These bacteria are necessary to create a healthy environment in the vagina. It can help treat overgrowth caused by imbalance.
In a 2017 study it was confirmed that eating yogurt helps increase the gut microbiome and can reduce yeast in the body. If you don’t like yogurt, take probiotics. It is best to take probiotics with food.
Plain Greek yogurt is the best kind to use in this home remedy. Make sure the yogurt does not contain added sugar, which fuels the growth of the Candida fungus.
2. Boric acid
Boric acid is a powerful antiseptic that some women claim is helpful in treating yeast infections that are resistant to other treatments.
Topical boric acid is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Trusted Source as a treatment for vaginal infections. Boric acid vaginal suppositories can also be used with medications to treat vaginal infections.
Boric acid is toxic in large quantities. It can lead to kidney damage, severe circulatory failure, or death if you absorb enough of it. To avoid this, do not use boric acid on broken skin and do not take it orally.
If you are pregnant, you should not use boric acid in any form.
For those with sensitive skin, this may not be a good option. Discontinue use if any discomfort begins.
3. The essential oil of oregano
Common oregano, or marjoram, is what you usually find in the spice section of the grocery store. However, the oil of oregano used to treat a yeast infection is not of the same type.
Look for oregano oil made with wild oregano, or Origanum vulgare, like the oil found here. Contains thymol and carvacrol, which are powerful antifungals.
A 2017 study found that essential oil of oregano is effective in altering the growth of Candida albicans.
Oregano oil is a natural blood thinner, so do not use it (spread or topical) if you are taking blood thinners for another health condition. Also do not use it if you have blood clotting problems, such as vitamin K. deficiency.
Remember: essential oils should not be taken orally. They are meant to be inhaled as part of aromatherapy. While some studies are looking at other ways to use oregano essential oils, at this time it is recommended to use it diluted in a carrier oil, such as olive oil or sweet almond oil.
To use: Mix 3-5 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. Then apply it to the skin by massaging it. It can also be inhaled through a diffuser. Do not apply this essential oil near the vagina.
4. Probiotic suppositories and supplements
Probiotics help restore the balance of bacteria and yeast throughout the body.
If you start a regimen of oral probiotics that contains strains of the bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus, you can bring your digestive tract and vaginal flora back into alignment. Eating yogurt is one way to increase your probiotics.
Oral supplements take about 10 days to reach full effect, so some women use probiotics as vaginal suppositories to see results more quickly. If you want to try vaginal probiotics, you can purchase them online.
5. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a fatty oil that is derived from the coconut pulp. The oil has many health benefits, including anti-fungal properties.
Studies have shown coconut oil to be effective against C. albicans, making this home remedy one of the few with strong evidence that it actually works.
To treat a vaginal yeast infection using coconut oil, be sure to purchase pure organic coconut oil. You can apply the oil directly to the affected area.
6. Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that is used to kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses.
Research shows that vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil may help treat vaginal infections. Tea tree oil is proven to have anti-fungal properties.
A recent study also found that tea tree oil is effective as an antimicrobial and helps break down biofilms.
Tea tree oil is incredibly strong. Make sure to dilute it with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or coconut oil, if it comes into contact with your skin. Already prepared tea tree vaginal suppositories are the best option.
Only use tea tree oil occasionally, and never swallow it. If you have sensitive skin, do not use tea tree oil. Discontinue use if any inconvenience occurs.
You can buy tea tree oil online and in stores. The best option would be to purchase tea tree vaginal suppositories here. The tea tree oil should not touch the skin without dilution.
7. Apple cider vinegar
An apple cider vinegar bath is a common yeast infection treatment.
Vinegar has many medicinal uses, some of which are more research-proven than others. When you add half a cup of apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bathtub and soak for 20 minutes, the acidic component of the vinegar can kill harmful microorganisms, including yeast.
An apple cider vinegar bath is not the same as douching, which aims to flush out all bacteria (good and bad) from the vagina. Doing so makes you more likely to have recurring yeast infections. Do not rinse with apple cider vinegar.
Vinegar should be diluted with water before touching the skin. You should also consider adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.
In a 2005 laboratory study, garlic was shown to be an effective candida killer. But there is debate whether it would help treat yeast infections outside of the lab.
If you want to try garlic to treat a yeast infection, add more garlic to your diet. Some sites recommend inserting garlic into the vagina, but severe burns and pain have been reported. You should stick to adding garlic to foods.
9. Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic for bacteria and yeast. Hydrogen peroxide is produced by Lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina and is part of biological activity against yeast, according to CDCTrusted.
While it will not work on all types of yeast, some women swear by using hydrogen peroxide topically when they have a yeast infection.
There is no strong research supporting the use of hydrogen peroxide to treat vaginal infections. Do not wash with hydrogen peroxide. Adding it to the bath or diluting it in water may aid in the growth of yeast on the genitals.
It is recommended to dilute (half water and half hydrogen peroxide) before applying it to your genitals, and do not use it for an extended period of time.
10. Vitamin C.
Vitamin C strengthens the immune system. A strong immune system allows your body to re-balance.
Vitamin C (also called ascorbic acid) contains antimicrobial ingredients, so some women add it to their diet to treat candida overgrowth.
Try to increase your vitamin C intake to boost your body’s ability to overcome yeast infections. Do not apply acidic vitamin C to sensitive vaginal tissues.