Vaginal Yeast Infection Home Remedies: What You Need to Know
Three out of four women will get a vaginal yeast infection during their lifetime.
But what if you knew some effective home remedies to treat and prevent them?
This article will explain many home remedies for a vaginal yeast infection. You’ll also learn signs of a yeast infection, what causes it, what is a yeast infection, and even what it looks like.
If you or a friend need natural relief from yeast infections, this article is your guide.
Here's a breakdown of the topics I will cover:
- What is a Yeast Infection?
- Yeast Infection Home Remedies
- Signs of Yeast Infection
- Test for Yeast Infections at Home
- What Causes Yeast Infections?
- What does a Yeast Infection look like?
- Are Yeast Infections Contagious?
- Yeast Infection with Sores?
- How to Prevent a Yeast Infection
- How Long does a Yeast Infection Last?
Let’s get on with it.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection (also called candidiasis) is fungal infection on different body parts.
A trusted academic center, the Mayo Clinic, defines a vaginal yeast infection as:
"...a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge and intense itchiness of the vagina and the vulva — the tissues at the vaginal opening."
Put another way, it's a yeast overgrowth in the vagina that causes problems.
The technical term is vulvovaginal candidiasis. It's named after the fungus, Candida albicans, which causes this infection most of the time.
Let's see some fast home remedies that you can do to treat it.
Yeast Infection Home Remedies
Let's look at 4 ways of how to remedy yeast infections at home. But before I jump in, I need a disclaimer.
Do you have signs of yeast infection? Then you should call your doctor.
Run the signs of your yeast infection by them. Get a test and let them know how you plan to treat it
Even pharmaceutical medicines don't not work every time for everyone. The same is true for home remedies.
Ok, now we are ready for the home remedies.
Drink Ivan Chai like a Russian
One way to remedy any type of yeast infection is with fireweed tea. Ivan Chai is the name of the traditional tea in Russia made from rolled fireweed leaves.
You are probably asking "What is fireweed?". Here's a picture of the plant alongside some Ivan Chai.
Fireweed grows almost anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. It's likely you've seen it if you leave your house in the summertime.
You need evidence that it works? I got you covered.
The National Institute of Health has an article on many fireweed studies. In fact, the article references more than 5 scientific studies.
Here's an excerpt:
"Extracts of E. angustifolium also have been shown to have bactericidal and antifungal effects"
In other words, “herbal tea made from fireweed kills yeast.”
To be a bit scientific, it's the antioxidants Quercetin and Oenothein B found in fireweed. They have a medicinal effect on fungal and yeast infections.
There's even more to this remedy. In their plant of the week post, the U.S. Forest Service has stated that fireweed is high in Vitamin C.
It matters because Vitamin C is in itself is a remedy for yeast infections. I'll go further into that home remedy later.
Clinical herbalist Michael Cottingham has a great Youtube video on fireweed. He explains the benefits against Candida albicans, and shows how to identify fireweed.
If you'd like to our try our Ivan Chai hand-made from 100% fireweed leaves, you're welcome to get a trial here.
To remedy yeast infections at home, drink three full cups of Ivan Chai daily. Drink for 7 or 14 days, as needed.
It's fine to drink Ivan Chai even if you are completely healthy.
In fact, Ivan Chai is safe for children. Pretty cool, huh?
Get Wild with Oregano
You don't need your typical oregano you find on your pizza. That's common oregano (Origanum marjoram).
You need Essential Oil of Oregano made from wild Oregano. I'll avoid confusion with a picture of wild Oregano (Origanum vulgare).
Where's the proof?
A study from the Journal of Applied Microbiology investigated Essential Oil of Oregano on yeast. It showed decreased growth of our culprit Candida albicans.
It contains Thymol and Carvacrol. These are your trusted anti-fungals for this home remedy.
To apply this home remedy, put 3-5 drops of essential oil per ounce of olive oil. Then rub the mixed oils on your skin, not your vaginal area.
I repeat, do not apply to vaginal area, as that causes irritation. Apply it to your skin (arms, legs, whatever) and it absorbs into your body.
Another method is to use the essential oil in aromatherapy. Put a few drops in your infuser and inhale.
Caution for those will bleeding disorders.
Wild oregano is a blood thinner. Don't use it at all if you have blood-clotting issues or are already taking blood thinners.
Get high on Vitamin C
No, you can't get high on it. At least not that I'm aware of.
Vitamin C boosts your immune system. Well known fact.
A strengthened immune system is better able to fight a yeast infection.
What else, right?
Let me tell you.
Taking Vitamin C helps regulate your blood sugar. Still wondering what's the point?
Candida albicans loves sugar. Reduce your sugar levels, and you'll reduce Candida albicans .
There's good proof to that. Check this graph from a study on vaginal yeast and diabetics:
To sum it up: those with high blood sugar are more likely to have yeast infections and other vaginal problems.
You need a high dose for an effective home remedy.
To use Vitamin C as a home remedy, take up 3000 mg per day. Your body can't absorb more than that.
Here's another useful tip:
Take 1000 mg of Bioflavanoids for every 2000 mg of Vitamin C.
It boosts the effectiveness and prolongs the effect.
Prefer food over supplements? Check these foods with the highest Vitamin C.
Test before you treat
Again, you need to be sure you have a yeast infection. For that you need a test.
But before you go get a test, you need a signal, right? Read on for some yeast infection signs.
Signs of Yeast Infection
So you are asking yourself "how do i know if I have a yeast infection?"
The following are signs of a vaginal yeast infection:
- Watery vaginal discharge
- Itching and irritation in the vagina and vulva
- Vaginal pain, soreness, and rash
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Thick white vaginal discharge like cottage cheese (read on for a picture)
- A burning sensation, especially during sex or while urinating
Of course, these are only signs of a yeast infection. The best way to know for sure is a test.
I do have some useful testing tips coming up.
Test for Yeast Infections at Home
Is it in fact a yeast infection? Most women are wrong in their diagnosis.
A story from Science Daily offers great insight:
"Vaginal yeast infections are common; three out of four women have had one at some point during their lives. However, nearly three times out of four, women who are self-diagnosing are treating a problem they don't have."
In short, almost 75% of women are wrong in self-diagnosing without a test.
What's worse is that a wrong self-diagnosis can confuse you. Here's another great excerpt from the same story:
"If you treat yourself and it never goes away, you shouldn't continue to treat yourself... You're making a situation worse and you can get into cyclic episodes where you think you have a yeast infection all of the time."
-Susan Hoffstetter, assistant Professor of Women's Health
In other words, it's very important that you identify the correct infection.
What else could it be? An infection may be Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) or a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
Those can be nasty. You definitely want to know if you have something else besides a yeast infection.
So here's your big question again:
"How do I know if I have a yeast infection?"
Easy. You can get a test done at the doctor's.
But what if you want to do a test yourself?
Be like a Doctor
There are many over-the-counter (OTC) test kits so that you can test for yeast infections at home. A yeast infection test kit can also see other bacterial conditions.
It gets even better.
These test kits are very easy to use.
But wait, there is even more good news.
These test are quite accurate.
A leading provider of test kits, Monistat, claims they are even used by doctors:
So let's assume you have it. So now we just wait.
No! Don't wait and pray!
If you confirmed with a test that you have a yeast infection, it's time to treat it.
Why have vaginal problems any longer than necessary? I've provide a few home remedies here and there are over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.
Let's learn about the causes now.
What Causes Yeast Infections?
You want to know what causes it right? Knowing empowers you to prevent it.
Candida albicans is most likely the fungus that causes a vaginal yeast infection. Other Candida fungi can also produce yeast infections.
So the big question is....
What makes yeast overgrow in the vagina?
Here are the most common yeast infection causes:
- Antibiotic use, which decrease the amount of Lactobacillus (“good bacteria”) in the vagina
- Weak immune system
- Birth control or hormone therapies that raise estrogen levels
- Stress or lack of sleep
- poor diet with a lot of sugar
Some of these factors correlate. For example, common sense tells us that poor sleep leads to a weaker immune system.
Going deeper into each of the causes of a yeast infection can get messy. I'll save that for another article.
What does a Yeast Infection look like?
It's time to get graphic.
A pelvic examination shows what a yeast infection looks like up close. Click on this link if you'd like to see
If you closed your eyes or didn't click, no problem. I'll describe the yeast infection discharge for you.
Yeast Infection Discharge
It's a thick white cottage-cheese like discharge.
Regular vaginal discharge can also be white and thick. Especially before and after a period.
You can confuse yeast infection discharge with regular vaginal discharge. To tell the difference, ask yourself if you have the other signs of a yeast infection.
If you don't have the signs, then it's likely regular old discharge.
Yeast infection discharge is usually odourless, but not always.
Do you Smell Beer?
How does a yeast infection smell like (otherwise)?
It can be a sweet smell, like honey or cookies.
Sometimes the yeast infection smell is sour. It can smell like beer, bread, or flour.
Are Yeast Infections Contagious?
The short answer is yes. It is rare though for a yeast infection to spread from person to person.
Let's look at some ways it could spread.
Yes, you can spread a yeast infection through sex.
The Office on Women's Health reports a 15% chance for heterosexuals. Read here for more:
Is a vaginal yeast infection an STD? Clearly no.
That's always a relief to hear.
It can spread from vagina to mouth.
If you have a yeast infection, you need to avoid receiving oral. Your partner giving oral to you could get an oral yeast infection.
Of course, you can still give oral sex. Assuming your partner doesn't have a genital yeast infection.
This is a very unlikely way for a yeast infection to spread.
That said, it's better that the water is warm, but not hot. Candida albicans loves a hot environment.
Be mindful that scented soaps and bubble baths do not help. They may worsen or prolong yeast infections.
So stick with plain mild soap, and keep the water warm. Simple as that.
Yeast Infection with Sores?
Yes, you can get a vaginal yeast infection with sores.
This is not a common symptom. If you have vaginal sores, but no yeast infection discharge, it's wise to test for STDs.
If you have both the yeast infection discharge and sores, it's likely to be a yeast infection.
How does a yeast infection cause sores?
It's simple. The infection caused a rash, which then causes the sores.
Sores' appearance varies a bit. They may appear as small, red, or flesh-coloured bumps or blisters.
How to Prevent a Yeast Infection
The best treatment plan is prevention. We all the know the old adage:
" An ounce of treatment is worth a pound of cure."
- Benjamin Franklin
Here are some useful ways on how to prevent a yeast infection.
Drink Ivan Chai
Fireweed is an anti-fungal against 9 different species of fungus. Rolled and fermented fireweed leaves are in Ivan Chai.
Here's an excerpt from a well respected journal on plant medicine:
In short, fireweed acts againts yeast.
Drink Ivan Chai two to three times daily to use it as a preventative remedy. This is especially true during times of stress.
You can get a trial of Ivan Chai from Ivan's Herbs. You'll likely enjoy the natural sweet taste too.
Cut down the Stress
It's common sense, and it's proven by studies. Reduce stress levels and yeast infections occur less often.
A well regarded journal of women's health published a concrete finding. Have a look at the conclusion of the study (note that RVVC stands for Recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis):
In short, women with higher perceived stress were more likely to have recurring yeast infections.
So cut stress, get enough sleep, and exercise. Your immune system will improve and better fight yeast infections.
Don't Douche It
The vagina is a self-cleaning system. Don't douche it.
So don't use scented hygiene products that change the balance of bacteria. That means don't use scented soaps, tampons, sprays, pads, etc.
Make Friends with Good Bacteria
What you are after here are the live cultures.
Namely, that friendly bacteria called Lactobacillus acidophilus. Let's call him Lacto.
You want to replenish all the Lacto you can. See how the vagina has a whole ecosystem that flushes out Lacto:
This balanced ecosystem can go wrong. This is especially true after taking antibiotics which kill Lacto.
Be friends with Lacto, and he'll take care of you.
That means get a dose or two of Lacto everyday. Here's a quick list:
- Natural yogurt
- Probiotic supplement
Stay Dry and Loose
Candida albicans overgrowth happens when it get hot and wet. You want stay dry to fight it off.
Here are a few pointers to help:
- Cotton underwear that breathes well.
- Sleeping without underwear.
- Getting out of wet swimsuits as soon as possible.
- Loose fitting clothes.
- Change tampons often.
It might be a small lifestyle change. But what's your health worth?
How Long does a Yeast Infection Last?
How long a yeast infection lasts depends on two factors: How it's treated and how severe it is.
Moderate to severe infections may take one to two weeks to go away.
A mild yeast infection can go away in as few as three days.
Will a yeast infection go away on its own?
Yes, sometimes they don't need treatment. That's very rare though.
It's best that you treat it. Why risk more pain and complications?
For a mild yeast infection, home remedies are mostly effective. They can clear up in three days with a home remedy.
For more severe infections, you could delay relief if you use these milder home remedies.
Over-the-counter (OTC) Drugs
For mild infections, OTC options may be your best bet. There are usually in one, three or seven day doses.
They come in many forms, such as:
These drugs may (and usually do) cause burning and irritation when applied.
I'm a man, so how do I know this? I read the reviews from the top selling yeast infection treatment on Amazon:
The general consensus is that it works, but it burns.
Oil-based creams and ointments also weaken silicone and latex. Make it a point to have another method of birth control as your back-up.
These are your heavy guns. These are appropriate for severe yeast infections.
They often come in 7 or 14 day doses. Some are single day dose.
The same forms apply here. Creams, tablets, ointments, or suppositories.
Like oil-based OTC drugs, get a back up birth-control. The oil weakens latex and silicone in condoms and diaphragms.
Treating a yeast infection is a must. Don't think you're one of the lucky ones and that it will go away on its own.
Stay on the safe side and call your doctor once you think you have a yeast infection. Let them know how you plan to treat it.
If signs of yeast infection are still there after one to two weeks, call your doctor again.
For recurring yeast infections remember to stay dry. Get natural anti-fungals in your system like Ivan Chai and Lactobacillus acidophilus.
For recurring yeast infections, a more serious pharmaceutical drug is worth investigating.
Stay true to the tips in this article and I guarantee you'll be in a better position to fight yeast infections.
How did these home remedies help you with yeast infections? Did you see any relief or have infections less often? Write below or directly to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.