While yeast infection is a common condition, it can also be pretty annoying and, even worse, particularly embarrassing for women. Although chronic infections may require that you visit a doctor and take prescriptions, there are over-the-counter treatments and some home remedies to cure yeast infections. In this post, you will learn how to identify yeast infection, how to treat yeast infection, when to go to the doctor, and how to prevent the infection from recurring.
When it comes to the health of the vagina, any strange sensation or feeling can be alarming. For example, if you experience irritated, itchy, and sore vagina and there is a thick white discharge, then you most probably have a kind of infection known as a vaginal yeast infection.
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What is Yeast Infection?
Another name for yeast infection is candidiasis. It is often most commonly due to an overgrowth of fungus known as Candida albicans. This fungus naturally resides in the skin, oral cavity, and vagina. The fungus causes conditions such as vaginal candidiasis or oral candidiasis. It is characterized by painful discharge, itching, inflammation, and irritation. If you experience these symptoms, the best decision is to immediately visit the doctor to confirm the diagnosis and eliminate any other condition with similar symptoms. In the case of recurrence, there are remedies for yeast infection that you can try, and your doctor will prescribe medications that can work alongside the natural remedies for yeast infection.
There are various types of yeast infections, but they all occur when a particular area of the body becomes infected with fungi known as candida. This fungus lives in folded, warm, or moist areas of the skin, such as under the breast, the armpits, or the groin. Candidiasis is the primary type of fungal infection in the body; it results from yeast and can exist in the vagina, throat, gut, and mouth.
Many different types of infections are caused by the candida fungus, depending on the type of candida present and the body’s location. While these infections have some overlap in symptoms, some symptoms are peculiar. The most common candida infections include the following:
Vaginal yeast infection
Another name for this type of infection is vulvovaginal candidiasis, and it occurs when there is an overgrowth of the candida inside the vagina. The symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include white vaginal discharge, inflammation, itchiness, and irritation.
This kind of infection occurs when candidiasis affects the lining of the throat or mouth. Oral thrush can appear as white lesions on the insides of the tongue or the cheeks. Symptoms of oral thrush may include dryness of the mouth, abnormalities in taste, pain while swallowing, and bad breath.
This infection affects babies, and it can sometimes result from candida overgrowth, which occurs when there is a moist environment due to a wet diaper, which helps candida survive. A red rash is seen between the creases of the skin, and tiny red dots indicate the infected area.
This particular kind of infection occurs when the body’s skin becomes infected. The most common places the candida can grow are around the groin, under the breasts, armpits, or skin between the toes or fingers.
Can a Yeast Infection Go Away on Its Own?
Mild cases of yeast infections may go away without any treatment. However, ignoring a yeast infection and expecting it to go away is a bad idea. Most infections that go away on their own usually return. While some people may opt for yeast infection home remedies or over-the-counter treatments, some people should see the doctor when they experience symptoms of a yeast infection. Such people include the following:
- Those with recurring yeast infections
- Pregnant women
- Those possibly exposed to sexually transmitted infections
- Women who are not certain that their symptoms are from a yeast infection
- People who do not have success with yeast infection cure at home or over-the-counter medicines
- People with weakened immune systems as a result of certain medications or conditions – such as HIV, or those with uncontrolled diabetes
How to Prevent Yeast Infection
Prevention is usually better than cure. If you have not experienced a yeast infection, you can take steps to keep yourself from becoming a patient. The following tips will save you from suffering from yeast infection. The tips can also reduce the number of yeast infection occurrences.
- Maintain overall body hygiene
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet
- Avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily without a doctor’s prescription
- Avoid wearing a bathing suit or wet clothes for a long time
- Wear breathable, loose-fitting cotton clothes and underwear
- Reduce the consumption of processed foods and sugar
- Avoid scalding hot baths and hot tubs
- Eat yogurt or take probiotics
- Avoid behaviors that may trigger yeast infection
- Avoid scented lotions or scented vaginal washes, including perfumed sanitary products near the genitals, which can affect the balance of the vagina’s microflora
Causes of Recurring Yeast Infection
Some women fall prey to yeast infections more easily than others, and these women will have recurring or severe yeast infections. There are some reasons a person may experience frequent yeast infections. Consider the following reasons:
While yeast infections are not sexually transmitted disease infections, it is still possible for a partner to pass the candida to their spouse through sexual intercourse. To avoid that, use dental dams or condoms and practice good hygiene after sexual intercourse.
The original yeast was not completely treated
In some cases, the yeast infection can result from a drug-resistant strain. Symptoms may disappear before the infection is totally eliminated from the body. When this occurs, there is a likelihood or chance of the yeast infection to return.
It is not a yeast infection
Other infections have the same symptoms as yeast infections, such as STIs or bacterial vaginosis. When a yeast infection does not subside as expected, it is very important to visit a doctor, such as a gynecologist.
Home Remedies to Cure Yeast Infections
There are natural ways you can treat yeast infections. The following home remedies to cure yeast infections are convenient for people that want to go a more discreet and natural route. The most effective yeast infection treatment is a dedicated course of antifungal medication. However, you can still apply the home remedies if you are waiting for a doctor’s diagnosis and prescription. Consider the following treatment options:
1. Over-the-counter Treatments
Antifungal treatments in the form of pessaries and creams can be purchased over the counter to battle yeast infections. These creams and pessaries are available without a prescription, and you can buy them either online or:
- Grocery stores
The use totally depends on the product; it can either be internal or external use, and you can treat the infection with:
- A weeklong application
- A 3-day application
- A single application
Internally-applied treatments have cured over 80% of vaginal yeast infections. These treatments contain potent antifungals known as azoles.
2. Boric Acid
Boric acid capsules for the vagina can work for women suffering from yeast infections. These might be very effective for those with recurrent infections. A dosage of 600 mg of boric acid in a capsule inserted through the vagina once a day for 14 days will produce an excellent result. However, consult with a doctor before buying any suppositories. As a matter of fact, topically applying boric acid with antifungal flucytosine can successfully treat about 70 percent of women.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil is famous for its antifungal properties, and it can kill a range of fungi and yeasts. During a study, tea tree oil was tested on one of the most common yeasts in vaginal infections (candida Albicans), and an excellent result came from it. Vaginal suppositories with tea tree oil can treat vaginal fungal infections. Some women have claimed to experience relief after adding diluted tea tree oil to a tampon and inserting it into their vaginas overnight. However, you should take extreme caution when using tea tree oil because it can irritate the skin, and the walls of the vagina are particularly sensitive.
Because tea tree oil is an essential oil, it is not safe to use it undiluted; instead, you can mix it with a carrier oil like olive oil or coconut oil. You can put 3 to 5 drops of tea tree oil into an ounce of warmed olive or coconut oil to soak a tampon. You should change the tampon regularly.
Some people are allergic to tea tree oil. First, test the diluted oil on the forearm; if there is no reaction after 12 to 24 hours, it may be safe to use on your genital area – still, you should be highly cautious with the application.
4. Probiotic Supplements
Some supplements made from probiotics may cure the issue of yeast infections. These supplements are available online, in health stores, and in pharmacies. Some brands of probiotic supplements sell special products for female reproductive health that can help restore the balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. You can take the supplements orally or insert them through the vagina. In addition, the lactobacilli in a probiotic can increase the effectiveness of antifungal medications taken by women who suffer from vaginal yeast infections.
5. Natural Yogurt
Ensure that the yogurt you are taking is non-flavored, unsweetened, and natural because it contains beneficial bacteria known as probiotics. These bacteria contribute to restoring the balance of yeast and bacteria in the body. Certain types of probiotics may fight off some of the yeasts that cause vaginal yeast infection. Many people suffering from yeast infections have experienced relief from:
- eating yogurt
- applying to the vulva around the vagina
- inserting it vaginally
6. Coconut Oil
Coconut contains some antifungal properties, and it is capable of fighting Candida albicans yeast. You can apply raw organic coconut oil internally or externally to reduce symptoms. You can also use warmed coconut oil as a carrier oil for some powerful antifungal essential oils, such as tea tree oil or oil oregano. You can purchase coconut oil online. However, you should understand that some coconut products are specially made for cooking instead of for use on the skin; therefore, compare brands and products to choose the appropriate one.
Garlic contains antibiotic and antifungal properties. However, recent studies have revealed that eating garlic has little or no effect on the yeast level of the vagina. Alternatively, people who have used garlic internally have confessed to experiencing relief from yeast infection symptoms. They use the garlic internally by first threading a clove of garlic with a string, then inserting it in the vagina overnight. Even though there has not been any evidence to suggest the efficacy of this method, it is one of the low-risk home remedies to cure yeast infections. But you have to be cautious when using garlic. People with sensitive skin have complained of skin damage and a burning sensation from applying it internally. Avoid using garlic if you know that you have sensitive skin.
8. Oil of Oregano
Most oregano oils are produced from the common oregano tree which has no special effect. However, the oil that comes out of this tree contains two potent antifungals: carvacrol and thymol. Oregano oil can help prevent the growth of Candida albicans. Capsules made from the oil of oregano can be inserted into the vagina throughout the night. You can also decide to apply it to a tampon before inserting it into your vagina. Mix the oil of oregano with a carrier oil before you use it, and do not apply it directly to the skin.
Yeast infections are expected to subside after a few days of treatment. However, if you are still experiencing symptoms of yeast infections – or the symptoms are worsening – you should reach out to your doctor as soon as possible. If the infection is severe or is beginning to spread, your doctor may prescribe a stronger medication. If all the home remedies to cure yeast infections already given are not working, there is a chance that your infection is not from yeast but something more severe that may require antibiotics.