Home Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infection: A Guide
Read on to learn about home remedies to treat a vaginal yeast infection and when it is time to seek medical care.
Your local drugstore or pharmacy has over-the-counter (OTC) creams you can purchase to treat your yeast infection. You do not need a prescription to buy them. Some are available online as well.
The medications contain antifungal ingredients that usually end in -azole. For example, fluconazole and miconazole. Vaginal creams may also contain steroids to help ease discomfort.
Treatments may come as oral tablets, creams, or vaginal suppositories. The type of medication determines the length of the treatment. Use these treatments as directed on the packaging.
Boric acid is a slightly acidic acid that has mild antifungal and antiviral properties. Several uses of boric acid include treating yeast infections and cold sores.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests using 600 milligrams of boric acid if you have a recurring vaginal yeast infection. The boric acid comes in a gelatin capsule you can insert into your vagina once daily for 3 weeks, or as indicated.
This remedy is most effective for recurrent infections as opposed to a one-time infection.
Tea tree oil comes from the Australian native plant Melaleuca alternifolia. It contains properties that may help fight against a wide range of viruses, bacteria, and fungi, including yeast.
According to a 2015 study, tea tree oil is effective in helping treat Candida yeast. However, researchers caution against taking tea tree oil orally. They suggest it only as a topical remedy to avoid toxicity.
Tea tree oil can also cause skin irritation and an allergic reaction. Before considering the oil as a treatment, test diluted oil on a small area of your forearm. If there is no reaction, such as redness or irritation, after 24 hours, it is likely safe for you to use.
Essential oils need diluting with a carrier oil. You can dilute it by putting three to five drops of tea tree oil in 1 ounce of warm coconut oil. One method is to soak a tampon in this mixture and then insert it into the vagina. Be sure to change the tampon regularly.
Some research suggests essential oils may offer health benefits. However, keep in mind that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor essential oils for purity and quality. Always discuss new products with your doctor, and thoroughly research a brand’s products before you begin using them.
Coconut oil is typically soothing and does not cause skin irritation. However, it is always best to test it on an area of your skin first, such as your forearm, to see whether there is a reaction. If there is no skin reaction after 24 hours, you may apply it to your genitals.
You can also use coconut oil as a carrier oil for essential oils. Several essential oils may also help relieve vaginal yeast infections.
You can purchase coconut oil at many grocery and health food stores or online. Keep in mind that some brands are more suitable for cooking rather than skin.
Oregano oil is another essential oil. It comes from the wild oregano, Origanum vulgare, and has antifungal properties.
A 2021 study found that oregano essential oil can help break down the biofilm that Candida yeast forms. Without the biofilm, the yeast cannot survive.
Mix three to five drops of oregano oil with 1 ounce of warm coconut or olive oil to dilute it. Test the mixture on your forearm for 24 hours before applying it to your vaginal area.
You can also soak a tampon with the oil mixture and insert it in your vagina. Change the tampon regularly.
Apple cider vinegar is a type of vinegar made from the fermented juice of apples. Typical uses include cooking or salad dressings, but it may also have some beneficial health effects.
A case study from 2017 reported that a 32-year-old female successfully used apple cider vinegar to treat her vaginal yeast infection. This was after medications did not work for her yeast infection.
Because apple cider vinegar is acidic, applying it directly to your vaginal area may cause pain. Rather than a topical application, take apple cider vinegar by mouth. Do this by diluting the vinegar into water and drinking the mixture.
Your vagina contains a collection of good bacteria and yeast. When there are not enough good bacteria, the balance is off, allowing too much yeast to grow. This is what happens when you experience a yeast infection.
Some probiotic supplements may help bring your bacteria back into balance and help clear your yeast infection. They are available for purchase at most pharmacies and health stores or online.
A review from 2020 reported that applying a probiotic containing Lactobacillus and Lactoferrin can help decrease yeast overgrowth.
Unflavored and unsweetened natural yogurt contains natural probiotics. These beneficial bacteria may help restore your bacteria-to-yeast balance.
Although more research is needed, eating natural yogurt daily or applying it to your vagina may help treat your vaginal yeast infection.
While there is no scientific evidence supporting eating garlic to treat vaginal yeast infections, there is a case study supporting its use as a vaginal suppository.
One method is to thread a garlic clove with string and insert it into the vagina right before bed. Allow the clove to remain overnight. If you feel burning or any pain, remove the clove and discontinue use.
Another method found to treat vaginal yeast infections is a vaginal cream containing garlic and thyme. In a small 2010 study, the cream was just as effective in treating vaginal yeast infections as the medication clotrimazole cream.
Speak with your doctor before trying any home remedies to treat yeast infections.
Seek medical care if you believe you have a yeast infection. The symptoms of a yeast infection are similar to other, more serious types of infections. It is important to know for sure what kind of infection you have.
Common symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:
- itching in and around the vagina
- pain when urinating
- burning, redness, or swelling of the vulva
- pain during sex
- thick, white cottage cheese–like vaginal discharge
Recurrent infections often require prescription medications alongside home remedies for effective treatment.
Vaginal yeast infections are common, but some simple steps may help prevent them:
- Avoid douching and using vaginal sprays, perfumes, and lotions.
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothing.
- Avoid wearing tight jeans and pantyhose, especially in warm weather.
- Change out of your gym clothes as soon as possible.
- Reduce or limit your sugar intake, as yeast feeds on sugar.
- Take probiotics or eat natural yogurt daily.
- Use water-based lubricants during sex.
- Urinate after intercourse.
Vaginal yeast infections are common infections you may be able to treat with home remedies. Not all home remedies have much scientific proof, but they may be worth trying, especially for recurring infections, as they are low risk.
However, before trying home remedies, talk with a healthcare professional for confirmation that you have a yeast infection. Symptoms of yeast infections are similar to other more serious infections that require more rigorous treatment.