Guide to Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
While there are many types of yeast infections that afflict both women and men, this page describes home remedies for yeast infections common in the vagina.
A vaginal yeast infection, also known as candidiasis, is caused by an overgrowth of an organism called Candida albicans. This type of yeast can generally live in the body (intestinal tract and vagina) without any problems but may trigger uncomfortable and irritating symptoms if there is an imbalance causing the organism to overpopulate.
Yeast infections are characterized by sticky white or yellowish discharge and oftentimes cause burning and itching in the vagina. Other symptoms include general redness in the area and a strong odor. Almost every woman will have at least one yeast infection at some time in her life.
Possible Causes of Yeast Infections
- Antibiotic use: can kill off the friendly flora that normally keeps the candida organism in balance and under control.
- Menstruation: the menstruation period along with hormonal fluctuations change the vaginal PH level and can lead to an infection.
- Menopause: lower hormone levels following menopause cause a decrease in the production of protective vaginal mucus. These secretions help cleanse the vaginal area and without them, infection can often occur.
- External factors: tight clothing, synthetic underwear, deodorant soaps, feminine hygeine products, chlorinated hot tubs and swimming pools.
Home Remedies for Yeast Infections
Prescription and OTC (over the counter) drugs are typically used to treat the symptoms of yeast infections. However, to prevent future yeast infections, you should also consider herbs that help strengthen the body's immune system. Herbal and home remedies taken orally and used topically can directly fight the microorganisms and bacteria causting the infection. Be patient as a yeast infection can sometimes take 2 weeks to cure. See your physician if symptoms last longer and you do not see improvement.
- Echinacea: an immune-boosting herb that can help improve the effects of other medicines. Research has shown that echinacea extracts can boost the effectiveness of anti-fungal drugs in treating yeast infections.
- Garlic: an anti-microbial that directly fights bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms. For best results, eat garlic raw. You can finely chop a clove and add it to a salad or any meal. Garlic can help with general immune system by eating one clove a day. If you have a yeast infection, eating 3 cloves a day is recommended.
- Goldenseal: a powerful anti-baterial and anti-fungal herb that can be taken orally or used topically. Its infection-fighting powers have been attributed to a chemical also found in barberry, known as berberine.
- Tea tree: a powerful anti-baterial and anti-fungal herb shown to eliminate both the bacteria and yeast cells that cause yeast infections. Apply topically.
- Yogurt: yogurt with active cultures contain bacteria that can help fight yeast infection. Put some yogurt on top of a tampon applicator and insert into your vagina. Apply it to the vulva and inside your vagine.
- Herbal Vaginal Wash:
- 2 tablespoons powdered goldenseal
- 3 tablesppoons thyme
- 3 tablespoos calendula
- 4 cups boiling water
- Homeopathics and Supplements: Homeopathic medicines use natural ingredients to address symptoms such as viginal itching, viginal odor and discharge. Supplements such as Sepia 6C HPUS, Kreosotum 6C HPUS, Kali phos 6X HPUS, Pulsatilla 6C HPUS and Nitricum acidum 6C HPUS all have propoertives which can improve symptoms associated with yeast infections. Products such as Vagi-Clear provide a convienient way to take all of these supplements in one product. See the manufacturers website for more information and for clinical studies that support the formulation.
"The Everything Guide to Herbal Remedies" by Connors and Altshuler (2009)
"Herbal Healing Secrets for Women" by Vukovic (2000)
"Home Doctor: A Practical Guide to Treating Common Complaints at Home" by Peters (2009)