It’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about: Candidiasis. Also known as thrush or yeast infection, this condition is increasingly common among women.
The CDC suggests that three out of every four ladies fall victim to thrush at least in their lifetime.
🏠 Read on to discover 12 AMAZING home remedies for a yeast infection that are proven to work. And what’s more, they work FAST ⏩.
The female reproductive health setup is to blame for the high incidence of infection. You see, a healthy vagina has a pH of 3.8-4.5 (i.e., it has a slightly acidic environment). This helps fend off attacks from harmful pathogens, including those that cause Candidiasis.
Now here’s the catch:
The defense mechanism is rendered useless anytime there’s a slight change in pH, and this can be caused by any number of factors.
What Causes a Yeast Infection?
The condition is caused by the overgrowth of Candida albicans, a fungi species that naturally inhabits the vagina. This fungus coexists along with microorganisms like Lactobacillus, one of the beneficial bacteria strains. Competition between the two helps in keeping yeast levels under control.
A yeast infection occurs when the bacteria are decimated, usually due to the introduction of antibiotics. This causes the fungi to multiply rapidly and drive off the competition (read good bacteria). With time, excessive growth causes a disorder known as Candidiasis in medical terms.
Although antibiotics are to blame for the majority of infections, they aren’t the only culprits. Candida overgrowth can also be caused by:
The most obvious indicator of a vaginal yeast infection is the presence of a thick, white discharge. This may or may not be accompanied by an odor, but it’s easily distinguishable from the normal discharge thanks to its thicker consistency.
You might also experience some discomfort or pain while urinating; this’ll likely happen before and after your periods.
A mouth yeast infection, on the other hand, is characterized by the development of white lesions on the tongue and inner cheeks. Painful cracks could also appear around the corners of the lips. Fever often follows when the disorder spreads past the esophagus.
Other common symptoms include:
- Redness and swelling on the skin
- Pain during intercourse, or when swallowing
- Skin fissures/sores
What Are the First Signs of Yeast Infection?
It’s common to experience abnormally-high sugar cravings when a yeast overgrowth is brewing. That’s because C. albicans has a high preference for sugar and carbs.
As it develops and settles in, the fungus will produce toxins that’ll cause inflammation — this explains why thrush goes hand-in-hand with issues like itching, burning, and redness. All these get worse the longer treatment is delayed.
How Is a Vaginal Yeast Infection Diagnosed?
Because the infection shares symptoms with other disorders, a doctor’s exam is required to confirm Candida’s presence. A speculum is used to open up the patient’s vagina for closer scrutiny. If the doctor finds a discharge, they’ll swab a sample and check for Candida cells under a microscope.
The other option is to test the patient’s blood for yeast.
Yeast Infection Home Remedies – Which Ones Work?
Coming to the realization that you have Candidiasis can feel like a death sentence. But fear not, for there are plenty of ways to fight this disease. In fact, the chances are that you already have some cures in your house.
|Home Remedy for Yeast Infections||Where to Buy||Price (approx.)|
|Boric acid||Grocery store||$5|
|Oil of oregano||Grocery store||$8|
|Coconut oil||Grocery store||$7|
|Tea tree oil||Pharmacy||$5|
|Apple cider vinegar||Grocery store||$5|
|Cranberry juice||Grocery store||$3|
|A warm bath||No purchase required||$0|
|A cool, damp cloth||No purchase required||$0|
Yes, there’s no denying that pharmaceuticals get all the headlines when it comes to treating yeast. But the fact of the matter is that even these fail to work at times. So there’s no harm in giving Mother Nature’s solutions a try — what’s important is to find something that suits you.
At the same time, you need to be fully confident in your diagnosis before trying anything. Thrush shares symptoms with a few other conditions. The last thing you want is to attempt treating something you didn’t have in the first place.
Also crucial is the avoidance of stuff to which you are allergic. Before using a particular remedy, try out a small amount to see how it reacts with your system.
Okay, enough with the details. Here are some of the best home remedies for Candida:
Natural yogurt contains a beneficial bacteria strain known as Lactobacillus acidophilus. This fights some of the yeasts that cause infection, thereby creating a healthy environment in the vaginal area.
Yogurt works both when applied topically and ingested orally. Either way, steer clear of sugared and flavored yogurts — the two are known to fuel the growth of the Candida fungus.
Sold in the form of suppositories (small capsules that are inserted into the vagina), Boric acid has been used in combating vaginal Candida for decades. It’s particularly effective in treating infections that have resisted other remedies.
The Centers for Disease Control suggests inserting a single capsule once a day for a couple of weeks. Boric acid should never be consumed orally.
Oil of oregano
Not all Oregano varieties have therapeutic properties — these are exclusive to the wild strain. Known as Origanum vulgare, this contains two powerful antifungals, namely carvacrol, and thymol. These work to dehydrate Candida cells, thereby preventing their growth and spread.
Oil of oregano works best when inhaled. To be on the safe side, dilute a few drops in any carrier oil before diffusing.
The fatty acids found in coconut oil have anti-fungal properties. Though mild, these have proven highly effective against the Candida albicans yeast.
You could apply raw coconut oil directly to the affected area, or freeze it into a suppository and leave it in overnight. In the latter case, you’ll want to sleep wearing a pad (because the stuff will come back out later on).
Tea tree oil
This essential oil is commonly used to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi. Studies suggest that vaginal application via a suppository may bring down yeast overgrowth. It also helps in maintaining a balance of flora in the vagina.
Still, tea tree oil is incredibly powerful in its raw form. It should thus be diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba before use.
These are basically supplements that contain strains of the beneficial bacteria, L. acidophilus. Most probiotics are designed to bring the digestive tract back into alignment, but some are formulated specifically for female reproductive health issues.
Available in the form of oral pills and suppositories, these work to restore a healthy balance in the vagina. Remember to do your homework before purchasing probiotics.
Apple cider vinegar
ACV is one of Mother Nature’s miracles. Being antifungal and slightly acidic, it breaks down harmful yeast cells and restores the normal pH of the vagina.
It also fuels the growth of healthy bacteria to deter recurrence. You can consume apple cider vinegar by mixing a couple of tablespoons with your food.
To soothe that bothersome itch, add a cupful to your bathtub and soak in for 20 minutes.
With its potent anti-fungal and antibacterial properties, garlic provides an easy home remedy for Candida. One that’s also readily available — just head out to the local grocer if you don’t already have it in your kitchen.
Usage is as simple as adding garlic to your meals, with the recommended dosage being 2-4 cloves a day.
This occurs naturally in the vagina, thanks to the bacteria within. Its role is to keep yeast levels in check by killing off excessive cells.
Hydrogen peroxide can be applied topically to supplement the body’s reserves. Make sure to mix it with an equal amount of water prior to application. Also, avoid using for more than five days in a row.
Also known as ascorbic acid, vitamin C is a proven immune system booster. A robust defense mechanism will help restore normalcy in your body. Moreover, vitamin C carries some antifungal components when distilled into pills. So consider combining natural sources with supplements to make the most of the nutrient’s wonders.
Also, note that vitamin C is acidic — don’t apply it directly to your delicate areas.
Drinking fresh cranberry juice is a surefire way to tone down yeast overgrowth. That’s because it contains a substance that prevents yeast cells from clinging to mucous membranes. It’ll also rebalance pH levels in the vagina and urinary tract.
As a rule of thumb, refrain from drinking sweetened cranberry juice or cocktails — these do more harm than good.
A warm bath
Sitting in a warm bath can help soothe itching and vaginal irritation. For some more relief, add one cup of Epsom salt into your bath and soak in for 10-15 minutes. This treatment should be performed three times a week at the most.
Also, keep in mind that a warm bath isn’t the same as a hot tub; the latter contains harmful chemicals.
A cool, damp cloth
Applying a towel dipped in cool water to your lady parts will soothe the bothersome itchiness. You should, however, avoid rubbing or massaging to provide relief, as this will only aggravate the situation.
If the itching is too bad, place a cold compress (a frozen bag of peas wrapped in a tea towel) on the area to relieve the burning.
How Effective Are Home Remedies for Treating Thrush?
Home remedies generally work well in treating simple infections. This mostly includes cases where the illness is confined to one area of the body.
For more complicated illnesses, however, relief is far from guaranteed; the success rate can be as low as 20%. That obviously has something to do with the fact that natural treatments aren’t formulated to fight extensive overgrowth.
Elsewhere, it’s worth mentioning that some home remedies are not backed by concrete scientific evidence — at least not yet. A good number of them are actually based on conventional wisdom.
This means they work not necessarily as direct cures for Candida, but rather as catalysts that create a healthier environment.
Will Yeast Infections Go Away on Their Own?
It’s possible for a yeast infection to go away on its own without treatment. This happens when the body’s healing mechanisms are well developed, and the contributing cause is eliminated. Here are a couple of illustrations:
- Some individuals may develop thrush when placed in humid environments. In most cases, the infection will go away within a short time of one leaving.
- Thrush can be your body’s way of responding to an unfamiliar beauty product. That means you could go back to your healthy self once you stop using the product.
- Keep in mind that this has only been documented in cases where only one area of the body is affected. Once symptoms begin to show up everywhere, you have no but to seek treatment.
How Long Can a Yeast Infection Last if Not Treated?
A lifetime, to say the least. The symptoms may clear up within a short while, but you could fall victim to a vicious cycle of illness. You see, the lack of treatment will leave you with a compromised immune system. This means the disorder will come back after a while, and each subsequent infection will increase in severity.
It’s just a nightmare that’ll keep getting worse without treatment.
How Long Do Home Treatments Take to Work?
That depends largely on how severe the condition is (i.e. how much the Candida spreads before treatment commences).
For mild cases of thrush, most home treatments bring relief within a few days. This is especially true for infections caused by short-term risk factors — symptoms can clear up within a week if treatment is applied correctly. A more complicated case may require several weeks of treatment to go away.
But then again, not everyone will respond to a particular treatment the same way. It’s important to explore different remedies before deciding which is best for you. Also, keep in mind the consistency of application matters just as much as the kind of substance you use.
When to Avoid Home Remedies
A great many individuals have reported successful treatment with home remedies. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe for everyone. It’s strongly recommended to avoid natural treatments if:
- This is your first yeast infection: If you’ve never contracted Candidiasis before, make an appointment with your doctor so they can conduct a thorough diagnosis.
- Your symptoms seem unusual or severe: ‘Unusual’ here means symptoms that aren’t linked to thrush (if your discharge has a pungent odor, for example). Again, it’s best to see a doctor to rule out other conditions. You could also use a more potent cure if the illness has made life unbearable.
- Yours is a recurrent infection: Natural remedies might not make much of a difference here.
The Alternative – Over-the-counter Treatments
A range of Candida treatments are available for purchase without a prescription. These come in the form of creams, pills, ointments, and suppositories. They’re said to work well for mild-to-moderate cases.
Creams and ointments are generally recommended for skin infections. However, some women have reported success using them for vaginal thrush. And while such remedies can cause irritation when first applied, the symptoms will likely begin to fade after several days of use. The course of treatment will last between 3 and 7 days.
As always, OTC medications should be approached with care. It’s not enough just to purchase drugs from the right sources — be sure to read the label and confirm that you’re getting the right product for your symptoms. When in doubt, seek help from a pharmacist or doctor.
Your physician will likely prescribe a 7- or 14-day course of azole treatment.
Azole, for your information, is a class of antifungal agents that are commonly used for systemic infections. Like their OTC counterparts, prescription-grade azoles are available in several forms.
These are said to have a 90 percent success rate, but don’t take anyone’s word for it. Rather, follow your doctor’s instructions to the letter.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection?
The key is to start treatment as soon as you confirm the presence of the infection. It’s been suggested that pharmacological therapy tends to work faster than yeast infection home remedies. But why not use the two hand-in-hand to speed up recovery?
You could, for instance, combine an antifungal cream with probiotics and yogurt. This way, you will be able to fight the Candida overgrowth while restoring the good bacteria at the same time.
Consult your doctor to see if this would be a safe approach for your case. And for what it’s worth, be sure to complete the full course of treatment for each remedy as recommended. Quitting after the symptoms resolve will only increase the likelihood of recurrence.
Prevention – Beneficial Lifestyle Changes to Avoid Triggers
Prevention is better than cure, or so the adage goes. Taking good care of yourself won’t necessarily make you immune to thrush, but it will drastically lower the likelihood of waking up to a nasty surprise (that whitish discharge, remember?). Not to forget that you will save money on healthcare expenses.
Of course, adopting a healthy lifestyle will (likely) require you to make lots of sacrifices. Those late nights binge watching shows will have to end. You’ll have to start turning down unhealthy ‘treats’ from friends. Who’s to say that your social life won’t take a beating as a result?
Whatever the case, it’s in your best interest to change for the better. Here are some of the improvements you want to make:
Practice good hygiene
A few improvements in your hygiene routine could make all the difference. If you wipe back to front after a bowel movement, for instance, it’d be in your best interest to switch to the reverse technique. This will prevent the transfer of intestinal yeast to the vaginal area.
Also, consider changing pads/tampons more regularly when on your period.
The need to start using condoms cannot be overstressed, particularly if your sex life leans towards the more adventurous. It’s the only way to keep your partner(s) fluids from introducing harmful bacteria into your system. And if toys are your thing, keep them clean and avoid sharing with others. It would also help to start using them with pH-balanced lubricants.
Douching actually leaves you more susceptible to yeast by washing away the bacteria that keep C. albicans under control. Not to forget that most douches contain substances that mess up the vagina’s pH balance.
To add salt to injury, douching the one thing your body doesn’t need — the vagina is already blessed with the ability to clean itself.
Invest in breathable cotton underwear and loose clothing
Yeast thrives in warm, moist environments. To avoid creating one, steer clear of tight-fitting clothing and undergarments (especially those made of synthetic fabrics). Make cotton underwear your staple and invest in looser items like dresses and palazzos. The former will help keep your skin dry by absorbing moisture. Loose-fitting clothes will further minimize the risk by allowing airflow.
This might come as a killjoy if you have a sweet tooth, but you need to lower your intake of sugar. That’ll require you to cut out soft drinks, candy, and processed carbohydrates from your diet. Go for natural sweets like raw honey and fruit instead. You might consider carrying either with you just in case the cravings strike.
A balanced diet
No surprises here; the foods you eat have an impact on the amount of yeast in your body.
Adopting a balanced diet could mean lowering your calorie intake, making healthier food choices, or both — it all depends on your current regimen.
That being said, you can’t go wrong by sticking to nutritious foods like brown rice, green veggies, nuts, beans, and so on.
Risks and Complications
The main reason why thrush is so common is the sheer number of potential causes. Anything that creates an abnormality or weakness in the body can be considered a risk factor. That includes:
- Immunodeficiency disorders
- Lack of sleep: It may not directly contribute to infection, but not getting enough sleep interferes with the body’s natural chemistry.
- Obesity: Overweight individuals tend to have more skin folds around the genital area. This literally provides more room for yeast to grow.
It’s also worth highlighting that thrush often paves way for opportunistic infections. Once the fungi begin to multiply, one stands a higher risk of contracting a urinary tract infection. It’s thus important to undergo more frequent checkups if you have any of these risk factors.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
It’s recommended to call your doctor if:
- The condition doesn’t respond to self-administered treatment: That means you’ll need a prescription-strength remedy.
- A remedy causes you irritation/discomfort: Even natural substances can have side effects.
- You begin to notice other symptoms after the yeast infection subsides.
- You have underlying medical conditions like HIV and diabetes.
- You are pregnant or breastfeeding.
In a nutshell, Candidiasis occurs when an otherwise-harmless fungus grows out of hand. Although the symptoms that come with it can be very uncomfortable and frustrating, the condition can be treated quite easily. But time is of the essence here — the longer you allow a yeast infection to persist, the worse the symptoms will get, and the harder it becomes to treat.
On a more positive note, the availability of natural remedies means you don’t have to break the bank to commence treatment. You should be able to find most (if not all) of them at the local grocery store. With proper application, the symptoms will start diminishing within a few days. Otherwise, schedule an appointment with your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
For further reading, please see the following resources:
- Healthline – Vaginal Yeast Infection: Causes, Symptoms, and Diagnosis
- Mayo Clinic – Yeast infection (vaginal) – Symptoms and Causes
- NHS – Thrush in men and women
- MedBroadcast.com – Candidiasis – Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis
- PMC – Prevalence and risk factors for vaginal Candida colonization in women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes