Vaginal Yeast Infection: Home Remedies To Avoid Candidiasis
A vaginal yeast infection, or candidiasis, is a condition that most women go through at least once in their lifetime. All vaginas contain bacteria and yeast cells. It is when the bacteria and yeast cells become imbalanced that a yeast infection occurs.
Few common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are:
- Vaginal itching
- Vaginal discharge that is thicker than usual
- Irritation and burning
- Pain and a burning sensation during sex or urination
- Soreness and redness
- Swelling of the genital area
If left untreated, the infection can worsen over time. There could be many causes for the infection, a few of those causes are:
- Birth control pills
- Hormonal imbalance
- Poor diet, especially one containing too much sugar
- Lack of sleep
- Untreated diabetes
Although vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted disease (STD), sexual contact can spread it.
Bonus Read: Consider taking low-dose birth control pills for reduced symptoms.
Home Remedies To Treat Vaginal Yeast Infection
Anyone experiencing vaginal yeast infection for the first time should consult a doctor instead of self-remedying it. However, if you are facing recurring episodes of the infection, the following remedies might help.
Yoghurt contains the live bacteria Lactobacillus Acidophilus, thus making it a probiotic. Probiotics are effective against C. Albicans and can help in treating a disbalance of bacteria in the vagina.
Consuming natural, unsweetened, and unflavored yoghurt can help restore the balance of bacteria in your body, thus treating the yeast infection. You can even take probiotic supplements if you don’t like yoghurt since it fulfils the same purpose.
Some people even apply yoghurt to the vulva or insert it inside the vagina using tampons. But you should not do it as even unsweetened yoghurt contains natural sugars and can make the condition worse.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is known to have antifungal properties that help in combatting the symptoms of candidiasis. You can apply it either internally or externally to the affected area.
It can even be warmed and used as a carrier oil for other antifungal essential oils like tea tree or oil of oregano.
This is a common oil that can be found in markets or even online. Just be sure to buy oil meant for applying on the skin and not for cooking. In addition to treating a vaginal yeast infection, coconut oil can even heal dry and irritated skin.
Remember to wash off the oil with cool water 30 minutes after applying.
3. Boric Acid
Boric acid treatment is a good option for women who face recurring infections. This is mainly because boric acid is a powerful antiseptic that seems to work when no other remedy is working.
Vaginal boric acid capsules can be bought which are inserted into the vagina. The recommended dosage of boric acid is 600 mg, once a day for 14 days. However, boric acid is harmful when taken in large amounts. It can lead to kidney damage, failure of the circulatory system, or death, in extreme cases.
To avoid severe symptoms, do not take boric acid orally and do not use it on broken skin. Furthermore, pregnant women and people with sensitive skin should avoid boric acid altogether.
4. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been widely known for its antifungal properties, whether it comes to skin infections or other bacterial infections. It is known to kill bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Not surprisingly, research shows that tea tree oil can help treat vaginal yeast infection too. You can soak a tampon in tea tree oil and insert it in your vagina to get some relief. However, since tea tree oil is powerful, be sure to mix it with a carrier oil before applying.
Mix 3-5 drops of tea tree oil with warmed coconut oil or jojoba oil and then soak the tampon in it. Remember to change the tampon regularly to avoid worsening the infection.
Some people may be allergic to tea tree oil. Test it on a patch of your skin and keep a watch for any reaction for 12-24 hours. While others with sensitive skin should avoid it completely.
5. Probiotic Supplements
Probiotics help in restoring the balance of bacteria and yeast cells in the vagina. Therefore, probiotic supplements are a natural way to treat a vaginal yeast infection.
You can even get probiotic supplements in the market especially formulated to restore the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. These supplements can either be taken orally or inserted into the vagina.
Taking it orally will require at least 10 days to show any effects, but probiotic supplements have shown to have a long-term effect on yeast responsible for the infection.
It is still debatable if garlic helps in treating vaginal yeast infections. But it is no secret that garlic does have antifungal and antibacterial properties.
Since it is a harmless process, you can simply add more garlic to your diet to see if you feel some relief. Some women even insert garlic cloves inside their vagina, threaded with a string.
Professionals, however, recommend against this process. Mainly because it can lead to significant pain and burn in the vagina. Further on, people with sensitive skin may face even worse effects and should avoid using garlic.
Instead, you can even opt for a vaginal cream that contains garlic oil.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
Adding apple cider vinegar to your bath has been reported to have good results too.
You can add half a cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bathtub, and soak for 20 minutes. Since vinegar is acidic, it is known to remove microorganisms, including yeast.
Many women even practice douching with apple cider vinegar. But this practice should be avoided since it removes the good bacteria from your vagina too. This can make you more prone to yeast infections.
8. Oil of Oregano
The oil of oregano is different from the common oregano found in grocery stores. Oil of oregano is made from wild oregano and contains thymol and carvacrol, two strong antifungals.
Using oil of oregano has shown to have an altering effect on C. Albicans. The application of oil of oregano is like the application of tea tree oil. Instead of coconut oil or jojoba oil, you can even use olive oil or almond oil.
Since oil of oregano is a blood thinner, you should not use it if you are on other blood-thinning medication. Also, avoid its usage if you have blood-clotting issues.
If your infection is not very severe, most home remedies will show good results within a few days or a week. But, if you do not face any relief, then the symptoms could be due to something else. Visiting the doctor is the most favourable option in such cases.
9. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is another yeast-killing antiseptic. You can add it to your bath or dilute it with water before applying.
There is not a lot of research to prove whether this process is effective. Although, many women have reported it to have relieved their symptoms.
How To Avoid a Vaginal Yeast Infection
By maintaining a few lifestyle habits, you can avoid the pain of getting a vaginal yeast infection. Some tips to follow are:
- Wear loose, breathable, and cotton underwear
- Do not wear wet clothes and bathing suits for too long
- Try reducing sugar intake in your diet
- Dry the genital area thoroughly after showering
- Shower after sexual intercourse and oral sex
- Do not perform vaginal douching before consulting a doctor
- Avoid antibiotics if not necessary
- Avoid using vaginal sprays and lotions
Taking these simple precautions can reduce the instances of a vaginal yeast infection.
Vaginal yeast infection is not usually a matter of great concern, but you should visit the doctor if:
- You are pregnant
- It is your first infection
- The infections recur 4 or more times per year
- It is severe, and you notice fissures or sore
It can be treated through self-administration and the home remedies we have mentioned. In case you do not see the symptoms improving, there could be an underlying cause for the infection.
June 5, 2021 Sam Bell