Vaginal yeast infection is also called vaginal candidiasis. It is caused when there is an overgrowth of a germ called Candida albicans that is a normal resident of the vagina.
It is characterized by irritation, inflammation, itching, and white discharge. It’s advised to visit a gynecologist in the presence of these symptoms to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible conditions, especially if it’s the first episode. In the case of recurrent episodes, the following home remedies can help treat yeast infections. It is advised to consult a doctor first because the doctor may prescribe medications along with home remedies:
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C boosts the immune system. A strong immune system can reduce the recurrence of an infection. Citric fruits and tomatoes are rich in vitamin C, and vitamin C may also be taken as supplements. Local application of vitamin C should be avoided because it is acidic and can irritate the vaginal tissue.
- Hydrogen peroxide: Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic. It may not work against every species of yeast. Adding hydrogen peroxide to a bath or diluting it in water can help with yeast growing on the genitals. Diluting (half water and half hydrogen peroxide) and applying it to the genitals can help. Dilution is very important because peroxide may cause extreme skin irritation.
- Boric acid: Boric acid is a powerful antiseptic that can help treat infections that are resistant to other remedies. Boric acid vaginal suppositories were used to treat vaginal infections in the past. However, boric acid is toxic in large amounts. It can lead to kidney damage, acute failure of the circulatory system, or death. Hence, boric acid should not be applied to broken skin or taken orally. It should not be used during pregnancy.
- Probiotic suppositories and supplements: Probiotics can help restore the normal bacteria–yeast balance throughout the body. Probiotics are present in fermented foods such as yogurt. Oral probiotics contain strains of Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria that can restore the balance between the digestive tract and vaginal flora. Oral supplements can take about 10 days to show effects. Vaginal suppositories have quicker results. Applying plain yogurt over the affected area can help.
- Tea tree oil: Tea tree oil is an essential oil that helps kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses. Tea tree oil is extremely strong; hence, it should be diluted with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, before applying to avoid irritation. Vaginal suppository containing tea tree oil not taken orally.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar has many medicinal uses. Mixing half a cup of apple cider vinegar to a warm bathtub and soaking for 20 minutes can help kill harmful bacteria and fungi, including yeast, due to the acidity of the vinegar. Apple cider vinegar can also be incorporated into the diet.
- Oregano oil: Oregano oil made from wild oregano, or Origanum vulgare, contains thymol and carvacrol, which are powerful antifungals. Mixing three to five drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil such as jojoba oil and applying it to the skin can help but should not be applied close to the vagina. It can also be inhaled through a diffuser.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil has several health benefits, including antibacterial and antifungal properties. Pure, organic coconut oil can be applied directly to the affected area.
- Garlic: Garlic is effective against fungus and is an effective Candida killer. Garlic may be added to the diet. Inserting garlic in the vagina should be avoided because it causes severe burning and pain.