Vaginal yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of fungus, Candida Albicans which naturally lives in the vagina. The infection leads to discharge, odor, irritation, or itching in the vaginal area. Vagina has its own environment and maintains a balance among the normal bacteria and the hormones in the body. Vaginitis (infection in the vagina) occurs when the normality of the ecosystem is hampered by using certain medications such as antibiotics, hormones, contraceptives preparations, douches, intercourse, stress, and change in sexual partners.
There are three types of common vaginal infections:
The three may differ in the cause but have similar signs and symptoms.
If experiencing infection for the first time it is important to visit a gynecologist, to verify whether it’s actually yeast infection or something else.
75 percent of females experience a yeast infection at least once in their lives.(1)
If suffering from a recurrent yeast infection, every time following the route of antifungal creams and ointment is not necessary. There are some remedies which are easily available at home and are good enough in giving relief from this infection.
8 Useful Home Remedies To Treat Vaginal Yeast Infection
Women with recurrent vaginal infection can use vaginal boric acid capsules. The suggested dosage is 600 mg of boric acid in a capsule to be inserted once in 14 days.(2) But it is better to consult a doctor before using any suppositories. Research reports successful treatment of 70% of females topically applying boric acid along with antifungal flucytosine.(3) Boric acid in large amount is toxic as it can lead to kidney damage, failure of the circulatory system and even death. Pregnant females should avoid using boric acid in any form.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree is well known for its antifungal properties. Research confirms its ability to kill a range of yeast and fungi.(4) It maintains a healthy balance of vaginal flora. A study shows that vaginal suppository containing tea tree oil may help in treating vaginal infections.(5) Make sure you dilute the oil with some carrier such as jojoba or coconut oil if using it as a vaginal suppository. Females also find using diluted tea tree oil on tampons and inserting it into the vagina overnight useful. Some people can be allergic to tea tree oil, therefore it is important to test it on the skin first. It there is no reaction for 12-24 hours it may be safe to be used on the vaginal area.
Yogurt contains live bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus. The bacterium creates a healthy environment in the vagina which can help treat an overgrowth caused by an imbalance. Plain greek yogurt is the best remedy which can be used. Make sure it doesn’t contain added sugar which can fuel up the growth of the virus. Research also found certain types of probiotics may combat vaginal yeast infections.(6)
Coconut oil serves us with various health benefits including its anti-fungal properties. Studies show its effectiveness against Candida Albicans, which makes it amongst a few proved home remedies to treat vaginal infection.(7) Be sure you are buying a pure coconut oil to treat the vaginal infection. It can be directly applied to the affected area.
Garlic is well known for its antifungal and antibiotic properties. Research found, it being ineffective in treating a vaginal yeast infection when taken orally.(8) Some women tried using it internally and claimed relief. While there is no evidence that it works but can be tried as a low-risk home remedy. Those with sensitive skin may experience slight irritation and burning, therefore can avoid using it. A vaginal cream containing garlic and thyme was found effective in treating the yeast infection the results being similar to clotrimazole cream.(9)
The Essential Oil Of Oregano
The essential oil of oregano can be used to treat yeast infection. It contains thymol and carvacrol which are powerful antioxidants. A study also found that wild oregano oil could stop or slow down the growth of Candida Albicans, depending on the dosage.(10) Oil of oregano is a natural blood thinner and should not be used if taking blood thinners for any other health condition. Also, those with vitamin K deficiency should avoid its usage.
Probiotics restore the bacteria-yeast balance in the body. Taking oral probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus can align the digestive tract and vaginal flora.
When taken orally it takes 10 days to reach the full effect which is why women take probiotic vaginal suppositories to see the quicker result. According to Harvard health vaginal suppositories have shown to be effective in treating vaginosis.(11)
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar bath is one of the popular yeast infection remedies. Take half a cup of apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bathtub and soak in for 20 minutes. Its acidic content eliminates harmful microorganisms. Apple cider vinegar should be diluted before applying to the skin.
Most of the home remedies give immediate relief while a few would take a couple of days. Consult a doctor if the symptoms worsen or any new symptom develops.