A yeast infection is caused by a fungus, Candida albicans, which is common in the vagina in small amounts. When the bacteria becomes out of control, a yest infection develops. Typically, the extra yeast just doesn't start reproducing in the body, it is introduced.
Causes of a yeast infection can include, trauma to the inner vagina, suppressed immune system, stress, diabetes, pregnancy, oral contraceptives, antibiotics, commercial douches, and perfumed hygiene sprays.
It is not considered to be an STD, since the bacteria is naturally occurring in a woman's body and can occur in celibate women, but it is possible to develop a yeast infection after intercourse from an infected partner. And, yes men can develop a yeast infection.
It's estimated about 3 of 4 women will have a yeast infection at some point in their life.
When treating a yeast infection, it's easiest to go to the doctor, but there are other natural, home remedies that you should consider first, as not all prescription medications are the healthiest for your body.
You do want to seek medical assistance if you experience one or more of the following:
- Abdominal pain
- Bloody discharge between periods
- The vaginal discharge gets worse or persists for more than 2 weeks with treatment
- You have recurrent yeast infections
- The discharge is thin, foamy, grey, or yellow-green
Home Remedies for Yeast
There are many different things that you can try to help clear up a yeast infection. Try the following suggestions.
- Eat two fresh garlic cloves a day to help prevent or clear up yeast infection. You can put it in your salad, spaghetti sauce, bread, etc.
- Mix 1 teaspoon of licorice powder and 1 pint of water, steep it, strain it, and use it as a douche.
- Douche with a mild vinegar (mixing about 1 to 3 tablespoons of white vinegar with 1 quart of water) at the first sign of an infection.
- Drink cranberry juice to help acidify vaginal secretions and fight off the yeast.
- Eat yogurt to help restore the bacteria balance in the body. You can also use about 1 to 2 tablespoons of yogurt as a douche; just dilute it with warm water first.
- Rub rosemary on the area to relieve itching and burning. You can make a rosemary tea and use it as a natural douche or to just dab on the area.
- Make thyme tea, mixing about 1 teaspoon of dried thyme with 1 cup of boiling water. Steep and drink about 1 to 4 cups a day.
Probiotics are a great dietary supplement to help balance the bacteria in the body and digestive tract, but more recently, probiotics have been proven as a natural remedy for yeast infections.
The supplement naturally balances the bacteria and microbial organisms in the digestive tract and vagina by suppressing the growth of harmful bacteria and organisms.
There are different types of probiotics that you can purchase, but most of hte studies have found that probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus have best been ale to block the bacterial growth in the vagina and fight off a yeast infection.
You can purchase oral supplements or vaginal suppositories.
If you are pregnant, you want to avoid this home remedy for a yeast infection.
Otherwise, studies have shown that boric acid is a safe, cheap, and effective yeast infection remedy. It's still best to consult your doctor before using this home remedy for his approval. If you get the approval, you can make boric acid pills by filling 'O' shaped gelatin capsules with boric acid and inserting the capsule in the infected area once a day for a week.
There are potential risks to this home remedy, which is why it is important to consult your physician first, and make sure that you never take boric acid by mouth or put it in an open wound.
Tee Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is home remedy for a yeast infection. You want to dilute the tea tree oil with water and apply it topically to the vaginal area.
Using tea tree oil has not been fully studied or tested by clinical groups, so before using this method, you want to consult your doctor.
If you opt to try this method, which do consider tea tree oil is a great herbal remedy in general, you do NOT want to apply full strength, non-diluted tea tree oil to the vaginal area. You want to always dilute it before applying it to the body.
Prevent a Yeast Infection
Yeast infections can easily be avoided with a few precautions and adjustments.
- Keep yourself clean (especially before and after intercourse)
- Keep dry (fungus and bacteria likes to grow in warm, wet conditions so dry yourself thoroughly after bathing)
- Consider changing your contraceptive
- Wear loos panties, pants, and hose (tight clothing can cause irritation)
- Avoid harsh soaps and feminine products (some products like commercial douches can contain harsh chemicals that can cause irritation and change the normal pH balance of the vaginal area)
- Avoid douching frequently with commercial douches.
- Keep sex partners to a minimal
- Consider throwing out your sponges, as they are a culprit of yeast as well
Herbal and Home Remedies
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- Acupressure Relieves Menstrual Pain and Cramps
- Supplements to Relieve Menopausal Symptoms
- Vitamins and Supplements Relieve Osteoporosis Symptoms
- Herbal Remedies to Grow Long Hair
- Lose Weight with Chinese Herbs
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the advice in this article should in no way replace that of a licensed physician. If you think that you might have a yeast infection, you want to consult your doctor so that you can get diagnosis and discuss treatment.
Revie Maine on December 04, 2012:
IMPORTANT! I no way can cranberry or any other fruit, vitamin, supplement CURE an infection! Cranberry supplements are made to PREVENT them! They also help your urinary tract stay healthy. I use Lady Soma's Cranberry Concentrate pills, because they also have Vitamin C in them (which work with the cranberry) and it keep urinary tract healthy. Try the Lady Soma brand for prevention in the future if you feel one coming on!!
Annie from NewYork on July 11, 2011:
During my college years, stress and run down, my immne system was out of wack... great post.
mega1 on September 13, 2010:
This is great info - and helpful. But also know that when you have any yeast imbalance anywhere in your body (athlete's foot, stinky feet, and other b.o. are some indications) you may be eating too much refined sugar. So take a look at your diet - if you're eating a lot of yeasty breads, pizza dough, pastries etc - stop. Also cut out all refined sugars. This along with the herbal remedies will really help you clear it up fast.
When you dilute the tea tree oil - how much do you use and what kind of oil do you use to dilute it? Or do you use water?
deejmckay from USA on June 27, 2010:
Yeast infections are very difficult to get rid of if your immune system is run down and if your natural flora has been destroyed by antibiotics. Probiotics helped me to stop the viscious cycle of sinus inflammation and sinus infection treated with antibiotics which created imblance in flora leading to inflammation and then to infection. Probiotics helped to fight yeast and bacteria reducing inflammation and thus reducing sinus infections.
garlic helps to fight yeast also.Thanks for this hub. The info provided here gives more ideas for natural help to decrease yeast overgrowth which is great.
Jentle from London on June 01, 2010:
Probiotics is one of the best ways to strengthen the immune system and help prevent yeast infections. I take a supplement once daily and have seen great improvements with the frequency I get thrush.