7 Home Remedies for Yeast Infection Relief
- A yeast infection develops when there is an overgrowth of fungus in the vaginal area. It typically causes discomfort, itching, and abnormal discharge.
- Yeast infections are easy to treat and can be effectively managed with several home remedies.
- Popular home treatment options include taking probiotics, eating yogurt or garlic, and applying diluted essential oils to the affected area.
- Although home remedies may be an effective way to get rid of a yeast infection, it’s important to keep an eye on your symptoms and contact your doctor if they persist or worsen.
Yeast infections are one of the most common genital diseases, affecting nearly 75% of women in their lifetimes.
This infection can be frustrating to deal with and may disrupt your daily life, especially if left untreated.
Luckily, a yeast infection is highly treatable, and there are a number of ways to reduce your symptoms from the comfort of your home.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the best home remedies for a yeast infection, how to use them properly, and which steps you can take to prevent future infections.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection — also known as candidiasis — is a common condition that occurs when there is an overgrowth of fungus in the genital area.
It typically manifests as a vaginal infection that causes discomfort, itching, and abnormal discharge. If left untreated, a yeast infection may lead to further health complications.
Common causes of a yeast infection
There are a variety of factors that can lead to the fungal overgrowth responsible for a yeast infection. These may include:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Compromised immune system
- Oral contraceptives
- Hormone therapy
- Poor personal hygiene
In most cases, addressing these causes or factors can help you avoid yeast infections.
If you're worried that your general health or the medications you're taking may cause yeast infections, speak to your doctor to discuss how to prevent them.
Key Point: How Long Does a Yeast Infection Last?
The duration of a yeast infection varies depending on its severity and the effectiveness of the treatment. Mild to moderate yeast infections can typically clear up within a week.
However, it may take longer for the symptoms to resolve. If the infection persists or recurs, it's recommended to consult your doctor for further evaluation.
Can You Treat a Yeast Infection at Home?
Mild yeast infections are typically treated using natural home remedies and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Although this condition is rarely cause for concern, it’s important to keep an eye on your symptoms while treating it.
If they seem to get worse or don’t improve with treatment, make an appointment with your doctor.
Persistent symptoms may indicate that your infection is more severe and requires medical treatment.
Key Point: What Happens If You Don’t Treat a Yeast Infection?
If a yeast infection is left untreated, symptoms may get worse and more uncomfortable. This can cause inflammation and sores around the vaginal area that can become infected.
The yeast infection may spread to other parts of the body and cause oral thrush or gastrointestinal problems.
In severe cases, an untreated infection can lead to invasive candidiasis — also known as candidemia — which occurs when the blood becomes contaminated with yeast fungi. This can result in hospitalization and may even be fatal.
Effective Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
There are a number of effective home remedies you can use to treat your yeast infection.
Remember that these remedies haven’t been approved by medical professionals for your personal use, so practicing caution is essential.
You should also contact your doctor if you have any questions or concerns, as improper infection care can result in more serious health complications.
Although the research is limited, some evidence suggests that garlic can effectively kill and remove yeast-causing bacteria from the body.
Some online resources recommend placing garlic into the vagina, but this is not a safe or effective way to use this remedy.
Garlic contains active compounds that can cause burning and inflammation when applied to sensitive areas like the genitals.
To use this remedy to treat yeast infections, simply add more garlic to your diet. Eating garlic alongside other treatment options may work even better.
Boric acid is an antiseptic that has antifungal properties which may help manage yeast infections.
We recommend that you use boric acid suppositories in combination with other remedies because it can’t be taken in high dosages.
If you do take boric acid in large amounts, it can cause kidney damage and circulatory system failure, which may be fatal.
Due to boric acid’s potential risks, this remedy should generally be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional to ensure proper dosage and technique.
Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil has antifungal properties that can help kill harmful bacteria and prevent infections from spreading.
It also works for treating yeast infections, especially when used in combination with vaginal suppositories.
When using tea tree oil, always dilute it first. Undiluted tea tree oil can cause severe skin irritation, dryness, and itching.
For best results, mix a few drops with a carrier oil — like jojoba or coconut oil — before applying it to the skin around the vagina.
Avoid applying tea tree oil to the inside of your vagina, as this may worsen your yeast infection and cause further complications.
Yogurt contains naturally occurring Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria and can be a great alternative for people who don’t want to take oral supplements.
Research suggests that eating yogurt can expand the diversity of bacteria in your gut microbiome, which can help the body reduce infection-causing organisms like yeast.
You can use yogurt as a treatment option either by consuming it or applying it around the vaginal area.
The yogurt you use to treat a yeast infection shouldn’t contain any sugar, flavoring, or fruit. These additives can encourage the growth of fungi and may worsen the infection.
Oregano oil is made from Origanum vulgare, which may be effective in preventing an overgrowth of yeast.
It also has antimicrobial properties, which allow the oil of oregano to prevent a yeast infection from spreading to different parts of the body.
To use this remedy, mix three to five drops with a carrier oil — such as olive or almond oil. Then massage it into the skin around the vaginal area.
Don’t apply this oil inside of your genitals, as this can worsen the infection and increase skin irritation.
Oregano oil is different from the crushed oregano you’ll find in the grocery store, so make sure you purchase the right product.
Vitamin C is an immune system booster that plays a vital role in maintaining the balance in vaginal flora. It also has antimicrobial components that can prevent fungi from growing and spreading.
You can increase your vitamin C intake by adding more nutrient-rich foods to your diet or taking a daily supplement.
Avoid applying vitamin C serums or acids to the vaginal tissue. This can irritate the skin and worsen uncomfortable symptoms.
Key Point: Can Probiotics Help Treat a Yeast Infection?
Probiotic supplements — specifically those containing Lactobacillus acidophilus strains — are a great option for treating a vaginal yeast infection.
These supplements contain ‘good’ bacteria that can help restore the natural balance of the vaginal floral and prevent the overgrowth of yeast.
It may take several days to a few weeks for probiotics to reach their full effect, so it’s generally recommended to use them alongside other remedies.
Making Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Yeast Infections
In addition to using home remedies, making certain lifestyle adjustments significantly reduces your risk of future yeast infections.
These adjustments may also speed up the healing process and get rid of your infection faster.
Maintain proper hygiene
Practicing proper hygiene is a crucial step for fighting and preventing yeast infections. This includes:
- Wearing breathable cotton underwear
- Avoiding scented hygiene products that can disrupt the natural pH of the vagina
- Changing out of sweaty clothes and showering immediately after a workout
- Avoiding cleaning your genital area with scented soaps or gels
- Using pads instead of tampons — especially if you’re prone to yeast infections
- Avoiding douching
It’s also advisable to change out of wet or damp clothing as soon as possible because yeast thrives in moist environments.
Certain dietary habits may contribute to yeast overgrowth, leaving you more susceptible to developing infections.
Foods containing refined sugars or carbohydrates and alcohol can promote the growth of harmful bacteria that disrupt your microbiome.
This creates the perfect environment for yeast to grow and infect the genital area.
Limiting your intake of these foods and eating a balanced diet full of nutrients can help you maintain healthy vaginal flora.
When Should You Seek Medical Attention for a Yeast Infection?
Although a yeast infection doesn’t usually require professional care, it’s important to know when to seek medical attention to avoid serious complications.
You should consult your doctor if you experience any of the following:
- Persistent or severe symptoms that don’t improve
- Recurrent yeast infections
- Changes in the color, consistency, or odor of vaginal discharge
It’s also recommended to see a doctor if you are experiencing yeast infection symptoms for the first time.
This may require a professional diagnosis and treatment plan to avoid recurrent or chronic yeast infections in the future.
If you have underlying health conditions — like diabetes, a compromised immune system, or HIV/AIDS — consulting a doctor is essential for helping your body fight these infections.
Pregnant women who suspect that they have a yeast infection should also avoid using home remedies and seek medical attention instead.
Pregnancy can make you more susceptible to secondary infections, which can cause complications for you and your baby.
Where Can You Learn More About Yeast Infections and Similar Conditions?
If you’re concerned about your symptoms or want to know more about treating fungal infections, LifeMD is here to help.
A team of medical professionals can assist you with information and provide guidance on overcoming a yeast infection.
Make an appointment with LifeMD today to learn more about treating yeast infections — all from the comfort of your home.