A yeast infection, also known as Candida, is basically caused by a group of microscopic fungi or yeast called Candida albicans. It generally affects the vaginal area but can also develop around dentures, under the breasts, lower abdomen, nail beds, and beneath skin folds.
Factors that can increase the risk of getting a yeast infection are pregnancy, stress, chronic health conditions, diabetes, use of oral contraceptives, steroids and antibiotics. Women can also get yeast infections after menopause due to declining estrogen levels, which thin the vaginal walls. Most men and women suffer from a yeast infection at least once.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for yeast infections.
Lactobacillus acidophilus, a “friendly” strain of bacteria present in yogurt, can control the growth of infection in the body. For treating a yeast infection, only use plain, unsweetened yogurt.
- You can externally apply plain yogurt on the affected skin area and let it sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes, or preferebly overnight. This will help relieve the itching sensation.
- For a vaginal yeast infection, dip a tampon in yogurt and then insert it in the vagina for two hours. Do this twice a day.
- Also include yogurt in your diet plan.
2. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has effective antifungal properties that can kill the fungi responsible for yeast infections.
- Externally apply coconut oil on the affected areas three times a day.
- You can also make a mixture of equal amounts of coconut oil and cinnamon oil. Apply it on the affected skin area to control the growth of the infection.
- In case of oral thrush, swish the oil in your mouth for five to 10 minutes. You can also add a few drops of tea tree oil or cinnamon oil and then use. Do not swallow. Do this at least three times a day.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Both apple cider vinegar and white vinegar contain some distinctive components that can control a yeast infection and get rid of the fungi causing it.
- Mix two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (organic apple cider vinegar should be murky brown in color) in one cup of warm water and drink it twice daily for a few days.
- Prepare a hot bath and add some vinegar. Soak your body in this bath for about an hour. Soon the skin irritation and itching will lessen.
- Alternatively, you can dilute white or apple cider vinegar with plain water and then apply it externally on the affected skin area. Leave it on for half an hour and then rinse it off with water.
Garlic is a very well-known herb that can be used to cure various ailments. The antifungal, antibacterial and natural antibiotic components present in garlic can be highly effective in treating any kind of yeast infection.
- Crush a few garlic cloves and make a paste out of it. Apply the garlic paste directly onto the affected skin area. If you do not have fresh garlic, you can dilute garlic oil with vitamin E oil and a few drops of coconut oil and apply it to the affected skin.
- You can also take a couple of garlic tablets or eat a few fresh garlic cloves daily. Eating fresh cloves can cause bad breath, but it is very effective in treating yeast infections.
Cranberries contain both antibacterial and antifungal properties and can be used to fight the fungi responsible for yeast infections. It can also treat urinary tract or any other kind of bladder infections.
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice several times a day. This will speed up the healing process and produce effective results within a short time.
- If unsweetened cranberry juice is not available, you can take cranberry tablets two or three times a day. Cranberry tablets are readily available at a natural health store.
6. Boric Acid
Boric acid is a chemical substance with mild antiseptic, antifungal and antiviral properties. Boric acid is not recommended for pregnant women.
- Dilute some boric acid with water. Apply the diluted solution over the affected skin area and leave it on for a few minutes. Then rinse the area thoroughly with water. Do this daily for two weeks.
- As a treatment option for vaginal yeast infections, you can take boric acid capsules.
- Because boric acid can be toxic, it should not be taken internally or used for a prolonged period of time.
7. Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has powerful and effective natural antifungal properties that can help with home treatment of yeast infections. Pregnant women should not use this remedy as some of the properties present in tea tree oil can be harmful to the child.
- Dilute organic tea tree oil with water or one teaspoon of olive oil or sweet almond oil. Rub the diluted oil over the affected skin area several times a day.
- For a vaginal yeast infection, place a few drops of tea tree oil on a tampon and insert it into your vagina for two to three hours. Repeat the process twice daily.
8. Oregano Oil
Oregano oil has the goodness of antifungal components and also is very good for boosting your immune system.
- You can apply the oil topically to the affected skin area. As oregano oil can be irritating to the skin, dilute it with olive oil before applying.
- Alternatively, you can take one or two capsules of oregano oil twice a day.
Follow either of these methods for a few weeks to eliminate the yeast infection.
Calendula is a kind of herb that has potent antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that can help treat yeast infections.
- Gently crush two to three calendula leaves. Apply the crushed leaves topically onto the infected area. Do this two or three times a day.
- Tea made from calendula extract is also effective in treating yeast infections. Avoid calendula tea if you are pregnant.
10. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract is very effective in treating yeast infections due to its antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also can restore the good bacteria in your body.
- To make olive leaf extract at home, finely chop some fresh olive leaves and put them into a glass jar with a lid. Pour vodka over the leaves until they are completely covered. Close the lid and store the jar in a dark place for about four weeks.
- Then strain the liquid into another glass jar.
- Apply the solution to the affected skin area.
- Do this three times a day to achieve best results.
These home remedies can help get rid of a yeast infection and the annoying symptoms. If you do not get relief from the symptoms, consult a doctor.
Diet Plan For Yeast Infection
The most effective treatment favours restoring long-term healthy flora balance over short-term symptomatic relief.
Digestive detox with yeast-free foods
Your nutrition habits are an important component of your treatment plan. Yeast feeds on particular foods, so avoiding them will help with long-term relief. These foods should be eliminated for a period of four to twelve weeks. However, if you experience a flare-up of symptoms upon reintroduction of these foods, you should extend your candida diet.
Here is a list of the foods to avoid on the candida diet:
- Sweets: Barley, corn or rice syrup; sugar; honey; maple syrup; dairy products (they contain lactose); any foods containing concentrated sweeteners
- Foods that easily convert into simple sugars: Melons, dried fruits, fruit juices, refined flours and white rice
- Yeasts and fermented foods: Yeast (bakers, nutritional, brewers); moldy cheeses; soy sauce; all types of vinegar; pickled products; smoked meats and smoked fish; miso; tempeh; and malted products
- All alcoholic beverages
Foods that trigger yeast growth:
Limit these higher-carbohydrate foods to one serving maximum per day: sweet potatoes, white potatoes, parsnips, and cooked carrots.
Your diet should focus on the following immune-enhancing, yeast-free foods:
- Healthy proteins: beans, deep-sea fish, organic eggs, chicken or turkey, raw or soaked nuts and seeds (except peanuts and pistachios), goat’s milk and yogurt
- Grains: millet, buckwheat, rye, barley, amaranth, quinoa, any sprouted grain or seed (barley, rice, millet or sunflower sprout), kamut, whole wheat and spelt. Be sure to select all grain products as “yeast free.”
- Non-starchy vegetables: green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, kohlrabi, zucchini, onions, garlic, sea vegetables (nori, dulse, etc.), and alfalfa sprouts
- Sweeteners: Stevia is a herbal sweetener. It is the only sweetener that Candida does not feed on, and therefore can be used freely.
- Condiments and oils: Braggs amino acids (non-fermented wheat-free soy sauce), hummus, tahini and raw nut butters, garlic, lemon, onion, dulse (as a salt alternative), any dried herb or fresh herb, ghee (clarified butter), and extra-virgin olive oil.