Probiotics can help restore the normal bacteria-yeast balance throughout the body. Probiotics are present in fermented foods like yogurt.
Yeast infection is also called candidiasis. It is caused when there is an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida albicans, which naturally lives in the oral cavity, vagina, and skin. It causes conditions like oral candidiasis or vaginal candidiasis. It is characterized by irritation, inflammation, itching, and painful discharge. It’s advised to visit a doctor in the presence of these symptoms to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible conditions. In the case of recurrent episodes, the following home remedies can help treat yeast infections, and it is advised to consult with a doctor first because the doctor may prescribe medications along with home remedies.
8 home remedies for yeast infections
1. Vitamin C:
Vitamin C boosts the immune system. A strong immune system can reduce the recurrence of infection. Vitamin C is rich in citric fruits, tomatoes, and may also be taken as supplements. One should avoid local application of Vitamin C because it is acidic and sensitive to body tissue.
2. Hydrogen peroxide:
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic but may not work against every species of yeast.
Adding hydrogen peroxide to a bath or diluting in water can help with yeast growing on the genitals. Diluting (half water and half hydrogen peroxide) and applying it to the affected area can help. Remember peroxide may cause sores on the skin if used improperly.
3. Probiotic suppositories and supplements:
Probiotics can help restore the normal bacteria-yeast balance throughout the body. Probiotics are present in fermented foods like yogurt. Oral probiotics contain strains of the Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria that can restore the balance between the digestive tract and vaginal flora. Oral supplements can take about 10 days to show effects. Vaginal suppositories have quicker results.
4. Tea tree oil:
Tea tree oil is an essential oil that helps kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Tea tree oil is extremely strong, hence it should be diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, before applying to avoid irritation. A vaginal suppository containing tea tree oil should not be taken orally.
5. Apple cider vinegar:
Apple cider vinegar has many medicinal uses. Mixing half a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bathtub with warm water and soaking yourself for 20 minutes can help kill harmful bacteria and fungi, including yeast, due to the acidity of the vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can also be incorporated into the diet.
6. Oregano oil:
Oregano oil made from wild oregano or Origanum vulgare contains thymol and carvacrol, which are powerful antifungals. Mixing 3-5 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil like jojoba oil and applying it to the skin can help but should not be applied close to the vagina. It can also be inhaled through a diffuser.
7. Coconut oil:
Coconut oil has several health benefits, including antibacterial and antifungal properties. Pure, organic coconut oil can be applied directly to the affected area.
Garlic is effective against fungus and an effective Candida killer. Garlic may be added to the diet. Applying garlic over the affected area should be avoided because it causes severe burning and pain.
How to prevent yeast infections
The following tips can help reduce the number of episodes or prevent yeast infections:
- Reducing the consumption of sugar and processed foods
- Wearing loose-fitting, breathable cotton underwear and clothes
- Avoiding wearing wet clothes or bathing suits for a long time
- Avoiding antibiotics unnecessarily without a prescription
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet
- Maintaining overall body hygiene
When to call a doctor
Home remedies may or may not work to treat yeast infections. Some home remedies may provide relief within a few days while some may take up to a week or longer.
It is advised to consult with a doctor before resorting to home remedies. It is important to seek medical attention if the symptoms worsen, if new symptoms appear at any point during treatment, or if the symptoms do not resolve in 1-2 weeks. Individuals with diabetes should especially visit the doctor before experimenting at home.