You will see suggestions to use a variety of non-pharmacologic remedies. There are a couple that are supported by research. You should never take boric acid by mouth or use it on open wounds. It is not safe to use while pregnant. Even when used as recommended, you may have some skin irritation. The health of the vagina relies on beneficial probiotic bacteria lactobacilli, including L. Studies are ongoing in the use of a slow-release vaginal product that has specific lactobacilli.
However, it should be noted that people with a suppressed immune system or recent abdominal surgery should avoid probiotic supplements. Supplements aren't regulated by the FDA. However, enjoying yogurt or kefir as part of a balanced diet poses little risk. Clinical studies are needed to show that they are safe and effective in humans, especially pregnant women.
These either haven't been done or have shown that these options are not effective in the case of garlic. A wide variety of plant oils and extracts have antifungal effects in the test tube, but many can be irritating or toxic to the body. While the appeal of an alternative treatment is strong for some when feeling the itching and burning of a yeast infection, most women want to turn to something they can be assured will give relief quickly.
Sign up for our Health Tip of the Day newsletter, and receive daily tips that will help you live your healthiest life. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you, , for signing up. Yeast Infection. Overview Symptoms Causes Diagnosis Treatment. Over-the-Counter Therapies. Home Remedies and Lifestyle.
Complementary Medicine CAM. View All. Advice for Relieving Yeast Infection Symptoms Sit in a warm bath but don't add perfumed bath products Avoid soap and just use plain water Don't douche, and don't use feminine hygiene sprays or powders Wear cotton underwear Avoid tight-fitting clothing, like pantyhose or skinny jeans. Boric Acid Suppository. Probiotics and Active-Culture Yogurt. More Research Needed. Was this page helpful? Thanks for your feedback! Email Address Sign Up There was an error. What are your concerns?
Article Sources. Vaginal Yeast Infections. Office on Women's Health, U. Department of Health and Human Services. Vulvovaginal candidiasis: Epidemiology, microbiology and risk factors. Mendling W. Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. If you are pregnant, don't use medicine for a yeast infection without talking to your doctor first. If you use a cream or suppository to treat the infection, don't depend on a condom or diaphragm for birth control. The oil in some medicines weakens latex, the material often used to make these devices.
Many women have infections that come back. If you have more than four yeast infections in a year, see your doctor. He or she may do some tests to see if your yeast infections are being caused by another health problem, such as diabetes. A vaginal yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast organisms that normally live in small numbers in the vagina.
Things that may encourage an excess growth of vaginal yeast include:. Most yeast infections involve Candida albicans C. Recurrent vaginal yeast infections tend to involve non— C. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection are more likely to occur during the week before a menstrual period. There are other conditions with similar symptoms, such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection STI. Itching and redness of the vulva can also be caused by a reaction to vaginal products such as soap, bath oils, spermicidal jelly, or douches.
If you are unfamiliar with your symptoms, see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.
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Vaginal yeast infections often clear up on their own without treatment, usually when menstruation begins. Menstrual blood raises the vaginal pH , causing the number of yeast cells to decrease because they can't grow in the pH present during menstruation. There are significant differences between occasional, easily treatable yeast infections and recurrent infections that seriously affect a woman's life.
Recurring vaginal yeast infections can be difficult to prevent or cure. Women who have recurring yeast infections should be evaluated for other causes such as diabetes, hormone therapy, or treatment-resistant strains of yeast so that the cause can be treated or reversed. Your risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection can be increased by a number of medical and lifestyle factors. Vaginal yeast infections are not sexually transmitted. After having unprotected sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, you may have more than the normal amount of yeast in your vagina.
But if after having sex you develop a yeast infection that causes symptoms, it is most likely because other things are also involved. If you are sure your symptoms are caused by a vaginal yeast infection, waiting several days to see if the symptoms clear up on their own is not harmful, especially if you expect your menstrual period within that time.
Sometimes a menstrual period will relieve the symptoms of a mild yeast infection. If your symptoms continue, you can use nonprescription medicine. If symptoms continue after treatment, see your doctor. Your doctor may be able to diagnose your vaginal symptoms based on your medical history and a vaginal exam. If your vaginal symptoms are not typical of a vaginal yeast infection, your doctor can look for signs of yeast or other organisms using a wet mount test of vaginal discharge.
You may have other tests if you have vaginal yeast infections that are severe or that keep coming back recur , such as:. Although a yeast infection can be detected during a routine Pap test , this type of test is not typically done to diagnose vaginal infections. You have a number of treatment options for a vaginal yeast infection, including nonprescription vaginal medicine, prescription oral or vaginal medicine, or nonprescription vaginal boric acid capsules.
Only use nonprescription vaginal yeast infection treatment without a doctor's diagnosis and advice if you:. The risk of self-treatment is that your symptoms may be caused by another vaginal infection, such as a sexually transmitted infection STI , that requires different treatment. If you may have been exposed to an STI, it is best to discuss your symptoms with your doctor before using a nonprescription medicine.
Your doctor may recommend testing for STI if you have risk factors for these infections. Vaginal yeast infections are common during pregnancy , likely caused by elevated estrogen levels. If you are pregnant, don't assume you have a yeast infection until it is diagnosed, and don't use nonprescription medicines without discussing your symptoms with your doctor. Vaginal medicine is the recommended treatment for vaginal yeast infections during pregnancy. For a vaginal yeast infection that recurs within 2 months of treatment, or four times in 1 year recurrent vaginal yeast infection , see your doctor.
Further testing or a different treatment may be needed.
If you have been using a nonprescription medicine for your vaginal symptoms, be sure to tell your doctor. This information could affect what treatment is recommended. Recurrent vaginal yeast infection can be treated with prescription oral medicine, nonprescription vaginal medicine, or vaginal boric acid capsules , followed by less frequent medicine over 6 months to 1 year to prevent reinfection. A vaginal yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection STI. But if after having sex you develop a yeast infection that causes symptoms, it is most likely because other factors are also involved.
Vaginal infections caused by types of yeast other than Candida albicans may be more difficult to cure with standard antifungal medicine. For treatment-resistant infections, a culture of vaginal discharge is done to identify the type of yeast causing the infection. Boric acid is usually effective for treating Candida albicans C. When using a nonprescription vaginal medicine for a vaginal yeast infection, follow the directions on the package insert, as well as these guidelines:.
The risk of self-treatment is that your symptoms may be caused by a type of vaginal infection other than a yeast infection, such as bacterial vaginosis or a sexually transmitted infection STI. If you have pelvic pain or fever, get an evaluation by a doctor. If you are pregnant, it is important to be evaluated for vaginal symptoms. Some vaginal infections, such as bacterial vaginosis, gonorrhea , or chlamydia , may increase your risk of complications during pregnancy.
If you have risk factors for an STI , discuss your symptoms with your doctor before using a nonprescription medicine. Risk factors for an STI include having sex without a condom or having more than one sex partner. Talk to your doctor before you try unproven home treatment methods, such as applying tea tree oil in the vagina or taking garlic supplements. These treatments have not been well studied. They may even cause other problems, such as allergic reactions, in some women.
Antifungal medicines are the standard treatment for a vaginal yeast infection. You can insert a cream or suppository antifungal cream into your vagina or take a pill by mouth. Vaginal boric acid capsules are sometimes used. Antifungal medicines that you take as a pill by mouth affect the entire body so it can also treat any yeast infection elsewhere in the body. Vaginal medicine only affects the area in which it is applied.
Antifungal creams and suppositories that you put into your vagina have fewer side effects than antifungal pills you take by mouth. This is because vaginal medicine isn't absorbed into your body and only affects the genital area. Antifungal pills that are taken by mouth affect your entire body.
Side effects from these pills are rare with one treatment dose. Side effects can include nausea, headaches, and belly pain. But taking a pill is convenient and is not messy. Medicine put into the vagina can be uncomfortable.
Fact or Fiction?: A Clove of Garlic Can Stop a Vaginal Yeast Infection
And it may seem like more of a hassle than taking a pill. The oil in antifungal creams or suppositories can weaken latex. This means condoms and diaphragms may break, and you may not be protected from STI or pregnancy. If you are taking the anticoagulant medicine warfarin and you use a nonprescription vaginal yeast-fighting medicine, you may have increased bruising and abnormal bleeding.
Talk with your doctor before using an antifungal medicine along with warfarin. You are more likely to use a treatment correctly and complete the treatment if you get to choose the type you prefer. Talk with your doctor about the advantages and disadvantages of vaginal and oral medicines, including:.
Check with your doctor or pharmacist to see whether you can get a generic form of a prescription medicine. Many generic medicines are now available to treat vaginal yeast infections. They are often less expensive than brand-name medicines.
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Some experts may recommend vaginal boric acid capsules as a treatment option for vaginal yeast infection, particularly infections that can't be cured by prescription or nonprescription antifungal yeast infection medicines. It is used in various pharmaceutical products and is also available without a prescription. Author: Healthwise Staff. This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated, disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.
Yeast infection (vaginal) - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated. Top of the page. Topic Overview What is a vaginal yeast infection? What causes a vaginal yeast infection? Most yeast infections are caused by a type of yeast called Candida albicans.
What are the symptoms? These symptoms are more likely to occur during the week before your menstrual period. How is a vaginal yeast infection diagnosed? How is it treated? If your symptoms are mild, you may want to wait to see if they clear up on their own. Can vaginal yeast infections be prevented?
If you practice good genital hygiene, you can help prevent infection. Keep your vaginal area clean. Use mild, unscented soap and water. Rinse well. After using the toilet, wipe from front to back to avoid spreading yeast or bacteria from your anus to the vagina or urinary tract. Wear underwear that helps keep your genital area dry and doesn't hold in warmth and moisture. One good choice is cotton underwear. Avoid tight-fitting clothing, such as panty hose, and tight-fitting jeans.
These may increase body heat and moisture in your genital area. Change out of a wet swimsuit right away. Wearing a wet swimsuit for many hours may keep your genital area warm and moist. Change pads or tampons often. Don't douche or use deodorant tampons or feminine sprays, powders, or perfumes. These items can change the normal balance of organisms in your vagina. Health Tools Health Tools help you make wise health decisions or take action to improve your health.
Decision Points focus on key medical care decisions that are important to many health problems. Cause A vaginal yeast infection is caused by an overgrowth of yeast organisms that normally live in small numbers in the vagina.
Home Remedies for Vaginal Yeast Infections
Things that may encourage an excess growth of vaginal yeast include: Using antibiotics. Having high estrogen levels hyperestrogenemia , such as during pregnancy, hormone therapy HT or ET use, high-dose birth control pill use, and the menstrual cycle. Having diabetes, especially if your blood sugars are not well controlled and tend to be high.
Having an impaired immune system. Using corticosteroids, such as prednisone. Being overweight. Symptoms The symptoms of vaginal yeast infection include: Vaginal itching that is often severe.