Yeast infections cause irritating itching and swelling, usually in the vaginal area, though they can also affect the lower stomach, nails, and other regions. Itchiness and a burning sensation while urinating are the most common signs of yeast infection. Many factors, including pregnancy, stress, and certain medications can lead to a yeast infection. Though painful, they are not often serious, and the symptoms may be alleviated with home remedies.
Yogurt is one of the easiest home remedies for yeast infections. Evidence shows that people who eat yogurt on a regular basis have shorter-duration yeast infections than others. There is also some research and anecdotal evidence around applying yogurt to the infection region directly. Yogurt contains probiotics -- good bacteria that fight the fungi responsible for yeast infections and help restore vaginal flora. Only plain yogurt (without sugar or flavors) should be used.
Garlic has a well-deserved reputation as a disease-fighting agent with antifungal properties. While consuming garlic regularly can keep the body healthy in many ways, some people go so far as to place garlic in the infected region. However, the acidity of fresh garlic can burn sensitive skin, so this home remedy should be used cautiously. A medicated cream based on garlic and thyme was found to be as effective as a pharmaceutical anti-fungal cream in a research study. This cream may be a better option for vaginal Candida if you benefit from topical garlic.
Pacific Islanders find uses for every part of the coconut, and much of the world now knows the widespread benefits of this relative of the palm tree. Applying coconut oil to the vaginal area during a yeast infection may help reduce the symptoms because coconut oil has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal qualities.
The antibacterial properties of cranberry juice can help improve immunity. Many people know the juice can help prevent bladder infections, but fewer are aware it could ease the severity of yeast infections as well. Those who drink a few glasses of cranberry juice each day may find their yeast infections are eradicated more quickly because cranberry juice helps correct the pH levels of urine, and helps reduce the overgrowth of Candida. Ideally, drink unsweetened cranberry juice or take cranberry supplements.
Tea tree oil has potent antifungal properties. Women who are not pregnant may choose to apply tea tree oil -- diluted in olive oil -- to the skin around the infected area to help speed the recovery from yeast infections. Always dilute essential oils in a carrier oil (not water), as they are very strong and can burn the skin.
The effectiveness of oregano oil to fight off fungal infections and strengthen immune systems is becoming more widely known as more people begin seeking natural alternatives. Taking a couple of oregano oil capsules twice a day can help prevent and may even alleviate the growth of bad bacteria from a yeast infection Oregano oil should not be taken for more than one week at a time.
Some women find boric acid, a powerful antiseptic, can help treat yeast infections, even those for which other remedies already failed. Suppositories may be effective, but large doses of this compound can cause side effects, so it should be used with care and on medical advice. It is safer to buy this over-the counter medication from a pharmacy, rather than make it at home.
Apple cider vinegar is another substance that can be taken internally or applied externally to help relieve a yeast infection. This vinegar helps destroy the fungi that cause the infection. Mix a couple of teaspoons into warm water, and drink the mixture a couple of times per day. ACV can also be added to bathwater or a diluted mixture can be applied to the area, left for around half an hour, and then rinsed away.
Wearing tight clothes prevents the skin from breathing and offers a warm and moist environment in which fungi thrive. People who deal with repeated yeast infections may find wearing looser-fitting clothing, at least when sleeping, can prevent future infections. Ensuring the area can breathe can also speed recovery during a yeast infection. Cotton is the best underwear fabric because it is breathable and absorbent.
While none of these remedies are terribly expensive or time-consuming, there is one treatment method that is even less costly: stress management. Taking time to rest and relax makes sure the body has energy sources to direct to fighting a yeast infection and working toward relief. Stress may also be a cause of yeast infections, so removing causes of stress or anxiety can reduce future issues. Yoga and meditation are great ways to reduce daily stress.
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