Yeast Infection Home Remedies

Home Remedies That May Help

Tea Tree Oil
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What is a Yeast Infection?

A vaginal yeast infection is usually caused by a fungus called Candida albicans which is normally found in small amounts in the vagina.

It's estimated that three out of four women will have a yeast infection in their lifetime. Factors that contribute to vaginal yeast infection include pregnancy, diabetes, and the use oral contraceptives, steroids, and antibiotics. Yeast infection is also more common after menopause due to declining estrogen levels, which thin the vaginal walls.

Natural Remedies for Yeast Infections

If you're considering using alternative medicine, talk to your doctor first. Keep in mind that it should not be used as a substitute for standard care in the treatment of any health condition. Here are some natural remedies and home remedies to consider:

1) Probiotics

Probiotics are live microbial organisms that are naturally present in the digestive tract and vagina. Sometimes referred to as "friendly" bacteria, probiotics help to suppress the growth of potentially harmful organisms such as Candida.

The type of probiotic that is most commonly used for yeast infections is Lactobacillus, especially Lactobacillus acidophilus, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1, and Lactobacillus fermentum RC-14. In some studies, low levels of Lactobacilli in the vagina have been associated with yeast infection.

Preliminary lab studies have found that Lactobacilli can block the growth of Candida albicans in the vagina.

Some clinical trials support these finding, however, the quality of these studies has generally been poor, making it difficult to draw definite conclusions.

Probiotics are available as oral supplements. Probiotic vaginal suppositories are also available, although they are more difficult to find.

MORE: Acidophilus and Other Probiotics.

2) Boric Acid Suppositories

Another natural remedy for yeast infection is boric acid. Boric acid is a chemical substance with mild antiseptic and antifungal properties. A small Italian study examined the effectiveness of a topical treatment with boric acid compared to oral treatment with the antifungal drug itraconazole (Sporanox) in 22 women with a recurrent yeast infection. The topical boric acid was found to be as effective as itraconazole.

A large study looked at a single 150-milligram dose of the oral medication fluconazole (Diflucan) or boric acid vaginal suppositories (600 milligrams a day for 14 days) in 112 diabetic patients with a recurrent vaginal yeast infection. At the end of the study, boric acid vaginal suppositories resulted in a higher cure rate (63.6 percent) compared to fluconazole (28.8 percent).

In another study, the charts of all patients seen at a vaginitis clinic between 1989 and 1994 were reviewed. The charts of people who had been treated with boric acid suppositories (600 milligrams per day for 14 days) for a particular type of candida yeast infection caused by Candida glabrata were examined.

Of the 26 cases, 81 percent had a clinical improvement or cure, and the fungus was eradicated in 77 percent of people. Boric acid suppositories were more successful than therapy with topical and oral antifungal medications, which had success rates of less than 50 percent.

Boric acid suppositories are available from some compounding pharmacies.

There are safety concerns, however, with boric acid. Boric acid can be toxic and should never be taken internally (by mouth) or placed on cuts or open wounds. It shouldn't be used for a prolonged period of time, or in amounts greater than what's recommended. It should not be used by pregnant women or applied to the skin of infants or children. Side effects of the suppositories may include vaginal burning and irritation. Boric acid is not a standard treatment for yeast infections, so it should be discussed with a healthcare provider prior to use.

Read more about Boron.

3) Tea Tree Oil

The essential oil tea tree oil, diluted and applied topically to the vaginal area, has shown some potential as a natural home remedy for yeast infection. A compound called terpinen-4-ol in tea tree oil appears to be responsible.

Unfortunately, there haven't been any clinical studies in humans showing that tea tree oil is effective or safe for yeast infection. Until we have more evidence, it should not be recommended. Tea tree oil must be diluted before applying it to the body. Full strength tea tree oil should never be applied to the vaginal area.

Learn more about Tea Tree Oil.

Symptoms of Yeast Infection

  • Itching and burning around the vagina
  • White vaginal discharge that may look like cottage cheese
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Burning with urination

Consult Your Primary Care Provider

Although there are many over-the-counter remedies and natural home remedies available, always consult your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms and in particular if:

  • This is your first yeast infection.
  • You've had other types of vaginal or urinary tract infection.
  • You've already tried self-care strategies and symptoms persist.
  • You have a weakened immune system due to cancer treatments or diseases such as AIDS.
  • You have a fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, abdominal or back pain, bloody discharge, or difficult or increased urination. Go to the hospital immediately, as it may be a serious condition such as kidney infection, appendicitis, or pelvic inflammatory disease.
  • You're with a new sex partner or have had multiple sex partners. It's important to make sure you don't have a sexually transmitted disease, since the symptoms can be similar.

Vaginal yeast infection may be confused with other conditions, such as:

  • Bacterial vaginosis - this common condition occurs when there is an imbalance between beneficial and harmful bacteria in the vagina. Bacterial vaginosis can spread through sexual intercourse, but it can also occur in women who douche or use an intrauterine birth control device (IUD). It is also common in pregnancy. Symptoms include a gray, foul-smelling discharge with a fishy odor. The odor is often more noticeable after sexual intercourse.
  • Noninfectious vaginitis - Douches, perfumed soaps, spermicides, bubble baths and feminine hygiene sprays may irritate the skin around the vagina. Symptoms include itching, burning, and pain. One type, atrophic vaginitis, is caused by lowered estrogen after menopause.
  • Trichomoniasis - Common sexually transmitted disease caused by the parasite trichomonas vaginalis. In men, it usually infects the urinary tract but often produces no symptoms. In women, symptoms can include greenish-yellow discharge that is sometimes frothy. People with trichomoniasis have a higher risk of other sexually transmitted diseases, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, and HIV.


    It's important to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis. In pregnant women, vaginal yeast infection may result in premature delivery and low birth weight.

    Untreated vaginal yeast infection can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, a condition which can scar the fallopian tubes and cause infertility.

    Trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis have also been linked to an increased risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

    Prevention Tips

    • Avoid douching.
    • Use a condom.
    • Wear cotton instead of synthetic underwear.
    • Avoid baths, hot tubs, or whirlpools.
    • Avoid scented products, including tampons and feminine hygiene sprays.

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    Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.​

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