The thought of getting a yeast infection (caused by the fungus candida) might give you the jitters but the fact is that all of us have yeast living in our bodies. It’s normally found on our skin, in our digestive system, or vaginal area and doesn’t usually cause problems. But sometimes yeast can multiply out of control and lead to an infection.
Popping broad-spectrum antibiotics may also encourage yeast infections. Incapable of distinguishing between “good” and “bad” bacteria, these antibiotics kill healthy bacteria that normally keep yeast infections in check.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Yeast Infection?
The symptoms of a yeast infection can vary depending on the area that’s affected:1 It can cause white patches on your tongue, cracks at the corner of your mouth, or soreness and redness in and around your mouth. Infections in your nail bed may cause swelling, pus, pain, and a yellow or white nail which separates from the bed. Some infections manifest as a red rash, itching or burning skin, patches of skin that discharge clear fluid and a pimple-like skin infection.
If you have a vaginal yeast infection, an abnormal white or yellow vaginal discharge, red swollen skin around the vagina, pain during sexual intercourse or while urinating, and itching in the genitals can become very evident. In men, yeast infections can cause redness, scaling, and a painful rash on the underside of the penis.
There’s no need to suffer in silence any longer. Let’s take a look at how you can deal with a yeast infection.
Home Remedies For Yeast Infections
Antifungal medications are used to treat yeast infections. Your doctor might advise medicated suppositories or creams (for infections in the vagina or penis), medicated mouthwashes or lozenges (for oral infections), antifungal powders (for skin infections), or oral pills. You can also try natural remedies to get rid of an infection:
1. Have A Cup Of Yogurt Daily
Yogurt contains beneficial bacteria known as Lactobacillus acidophilus which can prevent the overgrowth of candida. One study that looked at women with recurrent yeast infections for a year found that when they ate 8 ounces of yogurt with Lactobacillus acidophilus daily, the number of yeast infections dipped considerably. Consuming yogurt was also found to reduce candidal colonization.2
2. Eat Fresh Garlic Or Use It As A Suppository
A sulfur-containing compound in garlic called allicin has been found to inhibit the growth of candida.3 You can incorporate garlic into your diet by adding some to your salad dressing or dip. Keep in mind that fresh garlic is more effective against yeast than garlic powder. A peeled garlic clove wrapped in gauze can also be inserted as a vaginal suppository and left overnight to deal with vaginal infections.4
3. Use Tea Tree Oil As A Cleanser
Tea tree oil is another remedy that can help if you have a yeast infection. According to research, terpinen-4-ol, a component present in tea tree oil, can control vaginal infections by a particular yeast variety called Candida albicans.5 Clean your vagina with tea tree oil diluted in water. Alternatively, you may soak a tampon in diluted tea tree oil and insert it for treating an infection. 6
4. Apply Clove Oil Topically Or Rinse With It
Cloves have many medicinal benefits and clove oil has been found to exhibit strong antifungal activity against Candida albicans. One animal study found the topical application of clove oil to be an effective treatment for vaginal yeast infection.7 Some experts also suggest that diluting clove oil with some coconut oil and swishing it around your mouth before brushing your teeth can help tackle oral yeast infections.
5. Wash With Goldenseal Or Consume It
Goldenseal is commonly used to clear up yeast infections. It contains a compound called berberine which has been found to be effective against yeast in lab studies. You can mix it with water and use it as a skin wash or mouthwash. You can also take it orally though it’s not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Also, it’s best to run it by your doctor before you consume it if you have high blood pressure, heart disease, or liver disease.8
Tips To Prevent Yeast Infections
Some healthy habits may help you avoid yeast infections:
- If you have diabetes, make sure your sugar levels are under control
- Rinsing your mouth after your meals, brushing with a fluoride toothpaste twice a day, and flossing can help prevent oral infections.
- If you wear dentures, take them off at night and make sure they’re clean.9
- Avoid wearing tight underwear. Also, avoid the use of materials like nylon which don’t allow your skin to breathe to help avoid a vaginal yeast infection.10
- Keeping your skin clean and dry can help prevent an infection.
|↑1||Yeast Infection. University of Rochester Medical Center.|
|↑2||Hilton, Eileen, Henry D. Isenberg, Phyllis Alperstein, Kenneth France, and Michael T. Borenstein. “Ingestion of yogurt containing Lactobacillus acidophilus as prophylaxis for candidal vaginitis.” Annals of Internal Medicine 116, no. 5 (1992): 353-357.|
|↑3||Lemar, Katey M., M. P. Turner, and David Lloyd. “Garlic (Allium sativum) as an anti‐Candida agent: a comparison of the efficacy of fresh garlic and freeze‐dried extracts.” Journal of Applied Microbiology 93, no. 3 (2002): 398-405.|
|↑4||Khalsa, Karta Purkh Singh, and Michael Tierra. The way of ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional ayurvedic herbalism. Lotus Press, 2008.|
|↑5||Mondello, Francesca, Flavia De Bernardis, Antonietta Girolamo, Antonio Cassone, and Giuseppe Salvatore. “In vivo activity of terpinen-4-ol, the main bioactive component of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree) oil against azole-susceptible and-resistant human pathogenic Candida species.” BMC infectious diseases 6, no. 1 (2006): 158.|
|↑6||Pizzorno Jr, Joseph E., and Michael T. Murray. Textbook of natural medicine. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2012.|
|↑7||Ahmad, N., M. K. Alam, A. Shehbaz, A. Khan, A. Mannan, S. Rashid Hakim, D. Bisht, and M. Owais. “Antimicrobial activity of clove oil and its potential in the treatment of vaginal candidiasis.” Journal of drug targeting 13, no. 10 (2005): 555-561.|
|↑8||Goldenseal. University of Maryland.|
|↑9||Oral thrush in adults. National Health Service.|
|↑10||What Do You Know About Vaginal Discharge? National Health Service.|