Vaginal yeast infections are often treated using antifungal medicines. But if you keep getting yeast infections, you may want to try a natural remedy.
Thrush is a very common yeast infection caused by a specific yeast known as Candida albicans.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some fungal infections such as invasive Candida infections become resistant to the medications that were designed to cure them.
This means that every time you use an azole medication such as fluconazole to treat your thrush you may be building up resistance to the anti-thrush medicine.
If you have had recurrent thrush, the medicine will also only treat the infection and not the cause, so it will not prevent you from having future infections.
A great option is to turn to a yeast infection home treatment.
However, you should still visit your doctor for an examination and swab just in case your infection isn’t caused by candida.
Other infections can cause similar symptoms yet require different treatments, so you should always have a diagnosis before you use a natural remedy.
Common symptoms of thrush include vaginal discharge, itching and pain which may occur during sex or when urinating.
Reasons for susceptibility to thrush include:
- Use of antibiotics
- Use of high dose steroids
- Cancer and chemotherapy
- Excessive use of personal hygiene products on the vagina can also cause thrush to become overgrown. This is because the vagina contains mucus with friendly bacteria that kill off candida and if you wash away this protective mucus you are more likely to get a thrush infection.
- A weakened immune system: Normally candida is in the vagina and intestinal tract without harm but if it becomes overgrown and the immune system fails to keep it in check, infection can occur.
- Sex: Candida isn’t a sexually transmitted infection but sexual activity can sometimes provoke an infection. Minor damage to the vagina caused by friction may cause candida to thrive.
- Diet: Food and drink can affect the pH of the vagina. If there is not enough acid, candida is more likely to grow.
Although many natural remedies are not proven to cure thrush, you may find that these natural remedies can relieve your symptoms or reduce the recurrence of thrush.
First, cut out refined sugar from your diet.
Candida is a yeast infection, and yeast feeds on sugar so it’s best to avoid processed sugary foods, alcoholic drinks containing sugar (such as beer), and bread made with yeast. Also stay away from yeast extract spreads, mushrooms, dried fruits and trans-fatty acids.
You should eat a whole-food diet. Suggestions include vegetables, whole grains, fish, and lean meat. Fresh fruit is alright in small amounts, as too much fruit sugar could encourage thrush.
Add garlic to your dishes as this has antifungal properties.
Eating a portion of live natural yogurt every day can also strengthen your mucosal immune system by increasing the amount of good bacteria in your gut. These can kill candida and other infections.
In addition to eating natural yogurt every day, you could take a probiotic supplement such as acidophilus, which has a higher amount of good bacteria than yogurt.
Vaginal pH remedies
The normal pH for the vagina is between 3.5 and 4.5 which is acidic. The acid level helps prevent infections, so if it’s too low, this can cause problems.
You can find out if your pH is abnormal by taking a vaginal swab. Test kits are available online, or you can ask your doctor to test your pH.
To increase acidity, you can add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar per pint of water to your bath and soak for five to 15 minutes.
Everyday Health reports that boric acid suppository capsules may be very effective against yeast infections, and may actually be more effective than azole medications for fighting certain infections in women with diabetes.
However, boric acid may cause irritation to sensitive vaginal skin. It is also toxic if eaten, so be sure to follow directions closely.
If you don’t want to make your own home remedy, you can buy ready-made vaginal pH balancing products from the pharmacy or online.
Consider carefully before trying any home remedy that is inserted into the vagina.
While some sources suggest douching with vinegar or applying yogurt inside or on the surface of the vagina, these may cause irritation or make the vagina more susceptible to further infections or treatment-resistant infections.
Use a lubricant during sexual intercourse. This may reduce friction damage and candida overgrowth.
See your doctor if you are suffering from dryness and soreness during sex. It may be caused by a hormone problem or vulval pain syndrome.
Avoid Too Much Soap
Overuse of cleansing products can alter vaginal pH and cause thrush. Don’t use bubble bath, scented bath products, sprays or shampoo near the vagina.
Your vagina does not need to be cleaned with soap. Warm water is good enough. Don’t douche. Your vagina is a living ecosystem, and douching disrupts that.
If you have questions about thrush or your vaginal health, talk to your health care provider.
Originally written February 21, 2012
Updated August 16, 2016 by Denise Dewitt
Reviewed August 17, 2016 by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith
Antifungal Resistance. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
Vaginal thrush: Symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Boots WebMD. Web. Retrieved August 16, 2016.
Home Remedies for Yeast Infections. Everyday Health. Joseph Bennington-Castro. Web. Retreived August 16, 2016.
Formation of Azole-Resistant Candida albicans by Mutation of Sterol 14-Demethylase P450, Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 1999 May; 43(5): 1163–1169. Full Text:
Recurring Vaginal Thrush, Patient UK. Web. 21 February 2012.
Your pH, Rephreshgel. Web. 21 February 2012.