How to diagnose a yeast infection
If you’ve never had a yeast infection before, it’s best to make an appointment with a healthcare professional to get a diagnosis.
Your clinician will ask about your health history and perform a pelvic exam, which involves examining your cervix, the walls of your vagina, and the surrounding area for external signs of infection.
They’ll also recommend some treatment options if they diagnose a yeast infection.
If you’ve previously had a yeast infection and suspect you have another one, you can try several home remedies to get relief. Some of these remedies use ingredients you might already have in your home.
Just keep in mind that the effectiveness of these remedies can vary, and evidence for their success remains mostly anecdotal.
Below, we’ll explore 11 home remedies for yeast infections and how they work.
Healthline’s recs for home remedies to treat yeast infections
- Greek yogurt
Probiotics can be effective against C. Albicans — and yogurt can be considered a probiotic because it contains live bacteria, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus. These bacteria help promote a healthy environment in your vagina, and they can help address an overgrowth caused by an imbalance.
When it comes to using yogurt for a yeast infection, opt for plain Greek yogurt. Make sure the yogurt doesn’t contain any added sugar, flavoring, or fruit. Added sugar can fuel the growth of the Candida fungus.
To reap the benefits, try:
eating the yogurt
applying it to your vulva around your vagina
inserting it vaginally using a clean tampon applicator or your fingers
- Boric acid
Boric acid is a powerful antiseptic, and some people claim it can help clear up yeast infections resistant to other remedies.
Boric acid vaginal suppositories may be used in combination with medications to treat vaginal infections.
However, boric acid is toxic in large amounts. It can lead to kidney damage, acute circulatory system failure, or death if you absorb too much. Avoid using boric acid on broken skin, and never take it orally.
If you’re pregnant, don’t use boric acid in any form. You may also want to consider another remedy if you have sensitive skin.
Discontinue use if you notice any discomfort.
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- Essential oil of oregano
Oil of oregano isn’t the same as common oregano, or Origanum marjoram, which you’ll usually find in your grocery store’s spice section.
To ease a yeast infection, search for oregano oil made from wild oregano, or Origanum vulgare.
A 2017 study suggests oregano essential oil may prove effective for altering the growth of C. Albicans.
To use, mix three to five drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil, such as olive or sweet almond oil. Then, apply it to your skin by massaging or inhaling it using a diffuser. Don’t apply this essential oil near your vagina.
Never ingest essential oils. Essential oils are meant to be inhaled as part of aromatherapy, or diluted with massage oil to use during massage. They’re also not meant to be used internally–external use only!
- Probiotic suppositories and supplements
Probiotics can help restore the bacteria-yeast balance throughout your body.
Taking oral probiotics that contain strains of the Lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria can offer a number of health benefits, including helping bring your digestive tract and vaginal flora back into alignment.
Oral supplements can take several days to a few weeks to reach full effect, so some people use probiotics as vaginal suppositories to get results more quickly.
Evidence suggests probiotic suppositories can also help treat bacterial vaginosis (BV).
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil is a fatty oil derived from the flesh of the coconut. The oil has many health benefits, including antifungal properties.
Research suggests coconut oil is effective against C. Albicans, making this home remedy one of the few with supportive evidence behind it.
To treat a vaginal yeast infection using coconut oil, be sure to buy pure, organic coconut oil. You can apply the oil directly to the affected area.
- Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is an essential oil used to help kill fungi, bacteria, and viruses. In fact, research supports tea tree oil’s antifungal properties.
Research from 2016 suggests a combination of probiotics and vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil may help treat vaginal infections.
More recent lab findings continue to support the antimicrobial activities of tea tree oil.
Tea tree oil is an incredibly powerful essential oil. So, you’ll always want to make sure you dilute it with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or coconut oil, if it’s going to touch your skin as it may cause irritation. And just as a reminder, essential oils should never be used internally!
If you can, opt to purchase prepared tea tree vaginal suppositories — this is the safest option.
Only use tea tree oil occasionally, and never swallow it. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll generally want to avoid using tea tree oil. Discontinue use if you experience any discomfort or irritation after using it.
- Apple cider vinegar
One popular yeast infection remedy is an apple cider vinegar bath.
Vinegar has many medicinal uses, some more supported by research than others.
But when you add a half cup of apple cider vinegar to a lukewarm bathtub and soak for 20 minutes, the acidic component of the vinegar may help eliminate any harmful microorganisms, including yeast.
An apple cider vinegar bath is not the same as douching, which aims to flush out all bacteria (good and bad) from your vagina. Douching leaves you more prone to a recurrence of the yeast infection, so avoid douching with apple cider vinegar — or any other substance.
You’ll want to dilute vinegar in water before it touches your skin. In addition, you could also try adding apple cider vinegar to your diet.
Evidence suggests garlic may also help kill Candida, though some strains may prove more effective than others.
While more studies are needed, research from 2019 examined the effect of using a garlic solution on sores of the mouth and found it could effectively help curb the growth of Candida. That said, garlic was less effective than nystatin (Nystop), an antifungal medication.
If you want to try garlic to treat a yeast infection, it’s best to simply add more garlic to your diet.
Some websites recommend inserting garlic into your vagina, but we do not recommend this approach. That’s because the active compounds in garlic can cause burns and pain when applied to your skin or mucosa. Mucosa, or mucous membrane, is the type of moist tissue that lines your mouth, and yes, the walls of your vagina.
- Hydrogen peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is an antiseptic that can kill bacteria and yeast. Lactobacillus bacteria in your vagina produce hydrogen peroxide as part of natural biological activity.
Some people swear by using hydrogen peroxide topically when they get a yeast infection.
Adding it to a bath or diluting in water before applying to your skin may help with yeast growing on the genitals. You can dilute by combining equal amounts of water and hydrogen peroxide.
Just keep in mind that hydrogen peroxide may not work on every species of yeast, and no strong research supports the use of hydrogen peroxide to treat vaginal infections.
Always avoid douching with hydrogen peroxide, never use hydrogen peroxide internally, and avoid using it for an extended period of time.
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- Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an immune system booster that also has a role in skin health. A strong immune system allows your body to bring itself back into balance.
Vitamin C, also called ascorbic acid, has antimicrobial components, so some people add it to their diet to treat Candida overgrowths.
Try increasing your intake of vitamin C to boost your body’s ability to beat the yeast infection. Don’t apply the acidic vitamin C to the sensitive vaginal tissue.
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- Vitamin E
Some doctors recommend vitamin E for certain types of vaginal inflammation. In fact, lab research suggests vitamin E can help reduce inflammation caused by Candida albicans.
Evidence also suggests vitamin E suppositories may help address atrophic vaginitis (aka, vaginal atrophy), which is the thinning of the vaginal walls caused by a lack of estrogen. Atrophic vaginitis causes changes to the vagina’s acidic environment, increasing the risk for bacterial and yeast infections.
You can also purchase vitamin E suppositories intended for vaginal use, or apply vitamin E oil to your vulva or vagina. Vitamin E may help soothe itching, burning, and inflammation.
If vitamin E doesn’t seem to help, a good next step involves asking a healthcare professional for more guidance.