How to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection: Proven Methods

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Yeast infections are terrible, plain and simple. They’re itchy and uncomfortable, but here’s the thing: you’re not alone. In fact, 75% of women will experience a yeast infection at some point in their lives. So, how to get rid of a yeast infection?

The good news? There are plenty of ways to get rid of a yeast infection and prevent it from coming back.

I’m here to share my top 5 proven methods for getting rid of a yeast infection fast. No more suffering in silence.

Key Takeaways:

  • Prevalence and Symptoms: Yeast infections are common, affecting 75% of women. Symptoms include itching, redness, burning, and cottage cheese-like discharge.
  • Causes: Triggers include antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, weak immune system, and hormonal changes, leading to Candida fungus overgrowth.
  • Natural Remedies: Effective remedies include boric acid, coconut oil, tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and oregano oil, used individually or combined.
  • Medical Treatments: Over-the-counter antifungal creams and prescription oral medications like fluconazole treat infections. Combining these with natural remedies can enhance relief.
  • Prevention: Maintain a healthy diet, wear breathable clothing, practice good hygiene, manage stress, and boost the immune system. Probiotics help maintain a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast.

What is a Yeast Infection?

If you’ve ever had a yeast infection, you know the drill. That telltale itch, redness, and irritation can be unbearable. 

The good news? You’ve got options when it comes to treating vaginal yeast infections at home. But first, let’s break down what exactly a yeast infection is and how to spot the symptoms.

Symptoms of a yeast infection

Picture this: an intense itch, burning when you urinate, and cottage cheese-like discharge. Sound familiar? Those are classic signs of a vaginal yeast infection. 

Other red flags include:

  • Swelling and redness around the vulva
  • Raw, irritated skin
  • Painful sex

Causes of yeast infections

So what’s behind these pesky yeast infections? Blame an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. This normally harmless yeast lives in your vagina. 

But when it multiplies out of control, that’s when the trouble starts. Common culprits that throw off your vaginal balance include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Pregnancy
  • Diabetes
  • Weak immune system
  • Hormonal changes (think: birth control)

When to see a doctor

While home remedies can be tempting, they aren’t always the best yeast infection treatment. If it’s your first rodeo with a yeast infection, check in with your doctor. They can prescribe stronger yeast infection medication if needed. Also, give your GYN a ring if:

  • Your symptoms don’t improve after treatment
  • You get 4+ infections per year
  • You have severe pain, sores, or discharge

These could point to a more serious issue that needs medical attention ASAP. Better safe than sorry.

How To Get Rid of a Yeast Infection: Natural Remedies

If you’re having symptoms, you’ll want to kick that yeast infection to the curb ASAP. The good news? Mother Nature’s got your back with these natural remedies.

Boric acid suppositories

Boric acid is a powerful antifungal that can help zap stubborn yeast infections. Research shows it may work even better than OTC yeast infection treatments. 

The key is using boric acid suppositories, which you can find at most drugstores. While this is not a prescription, it’s best to ask the guidance of your doctor for the right dose for you.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil isn’t just for cooking – it’s a yeast-fighting powerhouse. Studies suggest the antifungal properties in coconut oil can help treat vaginal yeast infections. My advice? Stick with organic, unrefined coconut oil. You can apply it directly to the irritated area a few times a day.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is another natural antifungal that can help treat yeast infections. One study found combining tea tree oil with a carrier oil (like coconut) worked wonders. But a word of caution: tea tree oil is potent stuff, you only need a few drops and always dilute it with a carrier oil to avoid irritation. And never take it orally.

Apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is the Swiss Army knife of natural remedies. Thanks to its antifungal properties, ACV may help kick yeast infections to the curb. Try adding a half cup of ACV to a lukewarm bath and soak for 20 minutes. Just don’t douche with it – that can alter your natural pH balance.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is a disinfectant that can help kill off excess yeast. Mix a 3% solution with equal parts water and apply to the affected area with a cotton ball. Fair warning: This may sting a bit. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.

Oregano oil

Oregano oil contains two powerful antifungal compounds (thymol and carvacrol) that may help treat yeast infections. Look for oil of oregano made from wild oregano (Origanum vulgare) and apply topically by mixing a few drops with a carrier oil. Again, never take oregano oil orally.

Combining natural remedies

The beauty of natural remedies? You can mix and match to find what works for you. For example, try soaking in an apple cider vinegar bath, then apply diluted tea tree oil. Just listen to your body and discontinue any treatment that causes discomfort. When in doubt, always check with your doctor.

Probiotics and Yogurt for Yeast Infections

If you want to keep yeast infections at bay, it’s time to befriend some good bacteria – aka probiotics.

How probiotics help prevent yeast infections

Probiotics are live microorganisms that help restore the natural balance of bacteria and yeast in your body. They’re the superheroes of vaginal health. Research shows certain strains (like Lactobacillus) can help prevent and treat vaginal yeast infections. These good bacteria keep Candida in check and maintain a healthy vaginal flora.

Eating yogurt with live cultures

One tasty way to get your probiotic fix? Yogurt. But not just any yogurt – look for brands with “live and active cultures” on the label. Plain, unsweetened yogurt is best since sugar can feed Candida growth. Aim for at least one serving per day.

Taking probiotic supplements

If yogurt isn’t your jam, probiotic supplements are another option. Look for capsules or sachets containing the Lactobacillus strains rhamnosus and reuteri . Oral probiotics can help promote a healthy balance of bacteria and yeast in your digestive tract and vagina. 

For best results, take them daily according to package directions. The bottom line? Incorporating probiotics into your diet is a simple, natural way to support vaginal health and keep yeast infections at bay.

Medical Treatments for Yeast Infections

When it comes to treating a yeast infection, sometimes you just need to bring out the big guns. And by big guns, I mean antifungal medication prescribed by your doctor.

Over-the-counter antifungal creams and suppositories

If you’re dealing with a mild case of vaginal candidiasis, you might be able to clear it up with an over-the-counter antifungal cream or suppository. These products usually contain miconazole or clotrimazole, which are antifungal medications that stop the growth of the fungus causing the infection. You can find them at your local drugstore, and they’re generally safe and effective. 

But here’s the thing – if your symptoms don’t improve after a few days of treatment, or if you have recurrent infections, it’s time to see your healthcare provider. They can prescribe stronger medication or help figure out if something else is going on.

Prescription oral antifungal medications

For more severe or persistent cases of yeast infection, your doctor might prescribe an oral antifungal medication like fluconazole. This is usually taken as a single dose, and it works by stopping the growth of the Candida albicans fungus that’s causing the infection. Oral antifungals are generally very effective, but they can have some side effects like headaches or nausea. 

And if you have certain health conditions or are taking certain medications, they might not be the best option for you. That’s why it’s always important to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of yeast infection medication.

Combining medical treatments with natural remedies

While antifungal medications are the most effective way to treat a yeast infection, some people like to combine them with natural remedies for an extra boost. 

For example, you might use an antifungal cream along with a probiotic supplement to help restore the natural balance of bacteria in your body. Or you might try using coconut oil as a natural antifungal alongside your prescription medication. 

Just keep in mind that natural remedies alone might not be enough to clear up a severe infection, and they can sometimes interfere with medical treatments. So always check with your healthcare professional before combining remedies.

Preventing Future Yeast Infections

You know what they say – an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And when it comes to yeast infections, there are plenty of things you can do to keep them from coming back.

Maintaining a healthy diet

Eating a balanced diet that’s low in sugar and high in probiotics can help keep your gut and vaginal flora healthy. Some studies suggest that eating probiotic-rich foods like yogurt or taking probiotic supplements can help prevent yeast overgrowth. 

Cutting back on sugary foods and simple carbs might make it harder for yeast to thrive. Of course, diet alone might not be enough to prevent infections, but it’s a good place to start.

Wearing breathable clothing

Yeast loves warm, moist environments, so wearing breathable clothing can help keep things dry and cool. Opt for cotton underwear and loose-fitting pants or skirts, and avoid tight jeans or leggings that can trap moisture. And if you do get sweaty, change out of damp clothes as soon as possible to prevent yeast from growing.

Practicing good hygiene

Good hygiene is key to preventing all kinds of infections, including yeast infections. Make sure to wipe from front to back after using the bathroom, and avoid douching or using scented hygiene products that can disrupt your natural pH balance. And if you’re sexually active, urinate before and after sex to flush out any bacteria that might have been introduced.

Managing stress levels

Believe it or not, stress can make you more susceptible to yeast infections. That’s because stress can weaken your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off infections. 

So try to manage your stress levels through things like exercise, meditation, or talking to a therapist. And make sure to get plenty of sleep and take time for self-care.

Strengthening your immune system

Speaking of your immune system, there are plenty of things you can do to give it a boost. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and staying hydrated are all important for maintaining a strong immune system. 

Some studies also suggest that taking certain supplements like vitamin C or probiotics can help support immune function. Of course, if you have a weakened immune system due to a medical condition or medication, it’s important to talk to your doctor about the best ways to prevent infections.

You Don’t Have To Suffer From Yeast Infections

There you have it—proven methods for how to get rid of a yeast infection and keep them from coming back. From boric acid suppositories to good old-fashioned yogurt, there’s no shortage of ways to kick that pesky yeast to the curb.

Prevention is key. By making a few simple lifestyle changes, like wearing breathable underwear and managing your stress levels, you can significantly reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection in the first place.So don’t let yeast infections control your life. Take charge, try out these methods, and get back to feeling like yourself again. For more information or if you’re ready to speak with a naturopathic physician, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel today!

About The Author:

Picture of Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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