If you’ve ever had a yeast infection, then you know juuuust how annoying they can be. Often, they can leave you itchy, irritated and uncomfortable. Not to mention the inconvenience of it all. Even though yeast is normal–all of us have yeast living on our bodies–if it gets out of balance, it can lead to health issues that need to be treated.
Vaginal yeast infections are actually fungal infections caused by an overabundance of yeast. They can cause burning, itching, irritation, and an abnormal discharge. Since yeast infections are fairly common, most women have experienced or will experience them at least once at some point in their lives.
Some common causes of yeast infections include:
- Birth control pills
- Elevated estrogen levels
- Compromised immune system
- The start of regular sexual intercourse
However, contrary to what you may believe, women aren’t the only ones who get yeast infections. Men can get them as well. In fact, if a woman has been treated and cured of her yeast infection, she will likely get another one if her male partner has one. To completely rid yourself and your partner of yeast infections, make sure that you’re both treated, if necessary.
The good news is, there are several simple and natural ways to help prevent and even treat yeast infections.
Home Remedy for Yeast Infection: Prevention
Believe it or not, the type of clothing you wear can play a part in how prone you are to getting a yeast infection. For instance, if you’re a swim instructor and you wear wet clothing for extended periods of time, you can be more susceptible to yeast infections.
Some good guidelines for clothing include:
- Avoid wearing wet clothing for extended periods of time.
- Wear cotton underwear instead of synthetic fabrics.
- Avoid wearing super close-fitting fabrics for extended periods of time.
- Try to wear breathable materials as much as possible.
Diet and Exercise
Another simple way to reduce your risk of yeast infections is to aim for a healthy lifestyle. Diet and exercise play a key role in your overall health. Get plenty of exercise and make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Plenty of fresh veggies and fruits and limited sugar consumption are ideal for maintaining good health. Also, if you are a person who tolerates dairy, then regularly adding a good natural yogurt to your diet can be beneficial as well. Nutrient-dense foods will help boost your immune system, thereby reducing your risk of yeast infections.
Home Remedy for Yeast Infection: Treatment
Garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy. It’s an incredible immune system booster and because of its strong antibacterial properties, it is considered beneficial for yeast infections as well. In fact, a 2010 study compared the effects of clotrimazole versus a vaginal cream containing garlic and thyme. The study concluded that the cream containing garlic was as effective as the clotrimazole when treating vaginal yeast infections. A great way to utilize the wonderful properties that garlic has to offer is to liberally add it to your diet. Since fresh is best, consider regularly incorporating it into your meals. Please note that if you are on blood thinners, it’s best to check with your doctor before increasing your garlic intake.
Another herb that is commonly used when dealing with yeast infections is echinacea. Although traditionally known for boosting the immune system, echinacea is also used to treat bacterial and fungal infections. In 2010, a study found evidence that suggests echinacea specifically targets fungal cell walls. This information indicates that echinacea does in fact have antifungal abilities, as it has been traditionally believed. Echinacea can be easily be taken in a capsule form, as a tea, or in an extract.
Pau D’arco is yet another herb that has been found to be effective when treating yeast infections. Not only is it beneficial when dealing with infections and inflammation, but it is also anti-yeast as well. In fact, it is considered an effective alternative to prescription fungal medications. It can be taken as an extract, tea, or even in capsule form. Please note that Pau D’arco should not be used if pregnant.
Oregon Grape Root
Oregon grape root is another natural antibiotic that has been traditionally used to treat yeast infections. It contains berberine, which has been found to be effective against yeasts. It also aids in balancing flora and helps fight infection as well. Oregon grape root is best taken as an extract or tea. However, it should not be used if pregnant.
In his book, The Green Pharmacy, Dr. James Duke suggests that cranberry is an effective natural remedy for yeast infections. Naturally anti-inflammatory and high in vitamins and antioxidants, cranberries are beneficial for a number of issues. You can use the fresh berries in your cooking, drink cranberry juice (preferably unsweetened varieties), or even take cranberry in a capsule form.
A high-quality probiotic is always a great idea when dealing with illness or infection. Probiotics help maintain gut health and are comprised of good bacteria that are beneficial in balancing out gut flora. This is especially important when dealing with illness or infection since an imbalance of gut flora can significantly impact your overall health. You can find high-quality probiotics in capsule or powder form, as well as in probiotic-rich foods such as yogurt, quality apple cider vinegar, kombucha, kefir, natural sauerkraut, and more.
Home Remedy for Yeast Infection: Symptom Relief
While you’re treating the yeast infection, there are also some things you can do to help alleviate some of the symptoms.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
A gentle soothing balm can be really beneficial when dealing with itchy, irritated skin. Make your own herbal balm by following this technique. Make sure to choose gentle, skin-soothing herbs such as chamomile, calendula, lavender, rose, or even plantain. Please note that this balm is for external use only. However, with the soothing oils, beeswax, and herbs, it can be really helpful when dealing with some of the unwanted symptoms of a yeast infection.
Soothing Bath Tea
A bath tea comprised of soothing herbs is an easy way to get some relief from a yeast infection. Use herbs like calendula, chamomile, lavender, rose, or plantain. You can choose just one herb or any combination of those listed. Mix up a big batch and then use about a cup of the herb mixture in a reusable tea bag and place it in your bath water for a nice soothing soak.29