What is Vaginal Yeast Infection? Vaginal yeast infection, or vaginal candidiasis, is a common issue caused by an excessive growth of a naturally occurring fungus in the vagina, known as Candida albicans.
This overgrowth can lead to irritation, inflammation, itching, and discomforting discharge. Most individuals with a vulva and vagina will encounter a yeast infection at some point in their lives.
If you’re experiencing these symptoms for the first time, it’s advisable to consult a gynecologist or a healthcare professional to ensure that you indeed have a yeast infection and not another vaginal health problem.
Indications of a Yeast Infection Typical signs of vaginal yeast infections encompass:
- Vaginal discharge, which may be white or yellowish, potentially with a clumpy texture resembling cottage cheese.
- Vaginal itching
- Burning during urination or intercourse
- Pain during sexual activity
- Swelling or tenderness around the vaginal area
Diagnosing a Yeast Infection If you’ve never encountered a yeast infection previously, it’s best to make an appointment with a healthcare professional for a diagnosis.
Your clinician will inquire about your medical history and conduct a pelvic examination, which involves checking your cervix, the walls of your vagina, and the surrounding region for external signs of infection.
They may also provide treatment recommendations upon confirming a yeast infection.
For those who have experienced yeast infections before and suspect another episode, several home remedies can provide relief. Many of these remedies involve ingredients that might be readily available in your household.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of these remedies can vary, and their success is often based on anecdotal evidence.
Here, we’ll delve into 5 home remedies for yeast infections and their mechanisms.
Home Remedies to Address Yeast Infections
- Greek Yogurt: Probiotics, which include live bacteria like Lactobacillus acidophilus, can combat Candida albicans. Yogurt qualifies as a probiotic due to its live bacteria content, which promotes a healthy vaginal environment and addresses an overgrowth due to imbalances.
Consuming yogurt has been linked to expanding your gut microbiome, potentially reducing yeast in your body. Opt for plain Greek yogurt for using against yeast infection. Avoid yogurt with added sugar, flavoring, or fruit, which can encourage Candida growth. You can:
- Eat the yogurt
- Apply it around the vulva and vagina
- Insert it vaginally using a clean tampon applicator or fingers
- Boric Acid: Boric acid is a potent antiseptic that some individuals claim can treat stubborn yeast infections. Boric acid vaginal suppositories, used in conjunction with medications, can address vaginal infections. However, excessive boric acid can be toxic, leading to serious health issues. Avoid using it on broken skin and never consume it orally. Pregnant individuals should steer clear of boric acid, and those with sensitive skin might consider alternative remedies.
- Essential Oil of Oregano: Different from the common oregano, essential oil of wild oregano (Origanum vulgare) is suggested for yeast infection relief. Research suggests it can influence the growth of Candida albicans. Dilute three to five drops of essential oil in an ounce of carrier oil (like olive or sweet almond oil) before applying it to the skin via massage or inhalation with a diffuser. Do not apply this oil near the vagina, and never ingest essential oils.
- Probiotic Suppositories and Supplements: Probiotics aid in restoring the balance between bacteria and yeast in the body. Oral probiotics containing Lactobacillus acidophilus strains can have various health benefits, including reestablishing balance in the digestive tract and vaginal flora. Some individuals use probiotic suppositories for quicker results, as oral supplements may take time to show effect. These suppositories might also help with bacterial vaginosis.
- Coconut Oil: Derived from coconut flesh, coconut oil has numerous health advantages, including antifungal properties. Research indicates its effectiveness against Candida albicans. To use coconut oil for vaginal yeast infection, opt for pure, organic coconut oil and apply it directly to the affected area.