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Remedies for Yeast Infections

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on November 19, 2020

Yeast infections are caused by a type of fungus known as yeast, a single-cell organism that exists throughout the environment. Most of the time, your body can handle this fungus without any problems. However, if your immune system is compromised or you are taking antibiotics, you may come down with a yeast infection in any soft, damp part of your body.

Yeast infections of the mouth are called thrush, while people with vaginas can experience vaginitis, or vaginal yeast infections

Treating yeast infections generally requires antifungal medications. In most cases, treatment is simple and the yeast infection clears up right away. In some cases, you may need to complete multiple courses of treatment or use stronger, prescription medications to completely resolve your symptoms.

Remedies and Treatments for Yeast Infections

The most effective treatment for yeast infections is a dedicated course of antifungal medication. However, you can also try several home remedies if you are waiting to see a doctor for a diagnosis and prescription. Here are six treatments for yeast infections.

Take Probiotics

Many yeast infections occur when your immune system is busy or damaged. It’s common to experience yeast infections while on antibiotics because your body’s normal bacteria die off.

By taking probiotic supplements, which are made of live bacteria, you can help support the natural bacteria population in and on your body that keeps yeast infections from occurring or getting worse. 

Eat Yogurt

Yogurt is another healthy source of probiotics. Just make sure that you eat the yogurt. It doesn’t offer any benefits when applied topically, and the sugar that’s present in all yogurt may cause other infections as well.

Apply Saltwater Rinses

Yeast infections can sometimes be reduced and soothed by rinsing the area gently with saltwater. Mix a half teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water. For oral thrush, you can gently swish the mixture around in your mouth. For other areas of your body, you can soak the infected area for several minutes, then rinse thoroughly.

Apply Coconut Oil

Coconut oil seems to act as an antifungal agent both in the lab and in people.

You can gently apply a thin layer of coconut oil to the site of the yeast infection. This may help kill off some of the yeast and may soothe irritated, dry, uncomfortable skin, allowing it to heal. 

Use Tea Tree Oil

Some studies suggest that tea tree oil is particularly effective against yeast while not seriously affecting the bacteria that naturally live on the body. While more research needs to be done, tea tree oil may be a useful treatment.

You can find tea tree oil in suppositories, creams, and ointments, but it should not be applied while undiluted. Frequent tea tree oil application can lead to skin irritation and rashes, so use it in moderation.

Take Antifungal Medications

The most effective treatment for any fungal infection is to take antifungal medications. There are many medications available, from oral medications to topical creams, ointments, and suppositories for vaginal yeast infections. If you are sure you have a yeast infection, you can find many treatments available over the counter. 

You can also request a prescription medication from your doctor if you have recurrent yeast infections or your infection is not responding to other treatments. Make sure to follow the instructions for the drug because there are a variety of different strengths and delivery methods for antifungal medications. 

When to See a Doctor

Yeast infections should go away within a few days of treatments. If you’re still experiencing symptoms of a yeast infection after several days of treatment, or if it seems to be getting worse, reach out to your doctor. You may need a stronger course of medication if the infection is serious or spreading.

If antifungal medicines are not working, there is also a chance that your infection is not a yeast infection, but something more serious that will need antibiotics.

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

Sources:

BJOG: “Lactobacilli-containing vaginal probiotics to cure or prevent bacterial or fungal vaginal dysbiosis: a systematic review and recommendations for future trial designs.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: “Vaginal Candidiasis.”

Egyptian Nursing Journal: “Effect of ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus on vulvovaginal candidiasis among women attending a gynecological clinic.”

Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine: “In vitro anti-inflammatory and skin protective properties of Virgin coconut oil.”

Mayo Clinic: “Oral thrush.”

Mayo Clinic: “Tea tree oil.”

Mayo Clinic: “Vaginitis.”

Mayo Clinic: “Yeast infection (vaginal).”

Phytotherapy Research: “In Vitro Activity of Tea Tree Oil Vaginal Suppositories against Candida spp. and Probiotic Vaginal Microbiota.”

Scientifica: “Comparison of Antimicrobial Activity of Chlorhexidine, Coconut Oil, Probiotics, and Ketoconazole on Candida albicans Isolated in Children with Early Childhood Caries: An In Vitro Study.”

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