Chances are you'll have to deal with a yeast infection at some point in your life, but it doesn't have to be a stressful or difficult ordeal.
Here are seven tips and tricks for dealing with a yeast infection it at home:
1) Make sure you have an actual yeast infection.
The symptoms associated with a yeast infection (like itching, irregular discharge, and pain) could possibly come from something else, such as a bacterial infection or sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you’re not sure what you have, check with your doctor.
2) Try over-the-counter treatments first.
Over-the-counter antifungal medicines have been clinically shown to resolve 80 to 90 percent of yeast infections. These treatments can be used inside or outside the vagina, and should be your first line of attack.
3) Douching is not recommended.
Douching is washing out the vagina, usually with a mixture of water and vinegar. Studies have consistently shown that douching is ineffective, and can actually lead to bacterial infections. This is because flushing out the vagina removes the good bacteria and allows bad bacteria to take over.
4) For recurring yeast infections, boric acid could be the answer.
Boric acid is the only natural remedy that has support from clinical studies. This effective antifungal agent has been around since the 1860s. To use boric acid, you can get a capsule (prescribed by a doctor) that you insert into your vagina since the compound is toxic when swallowed.
5) Popular natural remedies like yogurt, probiotics and garlic haven’t been proven to work.
One of the good vaginal bacteria strains, Lactobacillus acidophilus, is found in yogurt and probiotics. Garlic contains a natural fungicidal molecule called allicin. Fueled by these facts, women often try probiotic pills or garlic supplements, but researchers have not found evidence that these work at all.
Even worse and ineffective is inserting yogurt or garlic gloves into the vagina. However, some women swear by these methods. Always consult a doctor first before trying a new treatment.
6) Eat a balanced diet.
While it doesn’t directly attack the yeast cells, a healthy diet with a lot of vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat dairy products can help your body fight off infections.
7) Relax, keep calm, and remember you’re not alone.
About 75 percent of women deal with yeast infections at some point. It’s the second most common vaginal infection.
Fact or Fiction?: A Clove of Garlic Can Stop a Vaginal Yeast Infection. ScientificAmerican.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
Vaginal Yeast Infections – Home Treatment. WebMD.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
Vaginal Medicines for Vaginal Yeast Infections. WebMD.com. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
Yeast infection (vaginal): Alternative medicine. MayoClinic.org. Retrieved October 10, 2014.
Reviewed October 17, 2014
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith