A yeast or fungal infection can cause pain, itching, and discharge in the genital area. Home remedies, like natural yogurt and probiotic supplements, may help manage symptoms. However, over-the-counter or prescription treatment may also be necessary.

Women are more prone to genital yeast infections, with 75 percent experiencing at least one in their lives. However, men can also get a genital yeast infection.

A yeast called candida albicans is the most common cause of these infections. However, other types of yeasts can also be responsible.

A range of treatments is available for yeast infections, including many self-administered home remedies. This article explores eight home remedies for a yeast infection to help people find what works best for them.

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In many cases, yeast infections can be easily and successfully treated at home. This is done with either over-the-counter products or alternative therapies.

Anecdotal reports suggest that many women experience relief from such home treatments.

However, scientific evidence varies for the effectiveness of these alternative therapies.

1. Over-the-counter treatments

Antifungal treatments in the form of creams or pessaries can be purchased over the counter, without a prescription, to treat yeast infections.

Depending on the product, the treatment may be for external or internal use and treat the infection with:

  • a single application
  • a 3-day application
  • a weeklong application

A 2020 study found that internal and oral antifungal medications are similarly effective in treating vaginal yeast infections. These contain powerful antifungals called azoles.

2. Boric acid

Vaginal boric acid capsules can work for women with a yeast infection. These may be especially useful for women with recurrent infections.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests a dosage of 600 mg of boric acid in a capsule inserted vaginally once a day for 3 weeks. This is known as suppression therapy. Before purchasing any suppositories, consult with a doctor.

A 2022 study found that 5% boric acid gel significantly reduced the symptoms of candida albicans in mice. It inhibited its growth, prevented vaginal lesions, and encouraged the production of certain immune system signals (Th1 and Th17 cytokines) that are helpful in fighting the infection.

3. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil has long been prized for its antifungal properties. Indeed, recent research confirmed its ability to kill a range of yeasts and fungi including candida albicans.

Vaginal suppositories containing tea tree oil have been shown to treat vaginal fungal infections. Some women report relief from adding diluted tea tree oil to a tampon and inserting this into the vagina overnight.

Tea tree is an essential oil and, as such, needs to be mixed with a carrier oil. People can use 3-5 drops of tea tree oil in 1 ounce of warmed coconut oil to soak a tampon. It is important to change the tampon regularly.

People can be allergic to tea tree oil. Test the diluted oil on an area the size of a dime on the forearm, and if there is no reaction in 12 to 24 hours, it may be safe to use on the more sensitive genital area. However, a person should exercise extreme caution as the vaginal walls are particularly sensitive.

4. Probiotic supplements

Some probiotic supplements may offer a natural solution to yeast infection.

Some brands of probiotic supplements sell specially formulated products for female reproductive health. These aim to restore the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina. The supplements are taken orally or inserted vaginally.

In a 2012 study, women with chronic yeast infections inserted a specially formulated probiotic pill into the vagina. Nearly 87 percent reported an improvement in their symptoms. The treatment also had a long-term effect on the yeast responsible for the infection.

In the study, the women used one pill a night for a week. They then inserted one every third night for 3 weeks. After this, they used the treatment just once a week on an ongoing basis as a preventive measure.

A more recent review agreed that probiotic yeasts could be a promising, effective alternative or combination therapy for candida infections.

5. Natural yogurt

Natural, unsweetened, non-flavored yogurt contains beneficial bacteria called probiotics. These contribute to health and help restore the balance of bacteria and yeast in the body.

A 2006 review of research found that certain types of probiotics may combat some of the yeasts that cause vaginal yeast infection. While the reviewers flagged issues with several of the studies they cited, many people report relief from:

  • eating yogurt
  • applying to the vulva around the vagina
  • inserting it vaginally

6. Coconut oil

Coconut oil has antifungal properties and has been shown to combat the candida albicans yeast.

Raw organic coconut oil can be applied internally or externally to ease symptoms.

Warmed coconut oil can also be used as a carrier oil for more powerful antifungal essential oils, including tea tree oil or oil of oregano.

7. Garlic

Garlic is a known antifungal and antibiotic.

A recent study found that pure garlic, when compared to onion and lemon juice extracts, showed a highly significant antifungal efficacy against candida albicans.

Also, a vaginal cream containing garlic and thyme was found to be as effective as clotrimazole vaginal cream in the treatment of yeast infection.

8. Oil of oregano

Oil of oregano made from the wild oregano, origanum vulgare, contains two potent antifungals: thymol and carvacrol.

Some research has found that wild oregano halts or inhibits the growth of candida albicans more effectively than any other essential oils derived from Lamiaceae plants.

Capsules containing oil of oregano may be inserted into the vagina at night. Alternatively, it can be applied to a tampon before insertion.

It is a good idea to test for allergies to oil of oregano on the forearm before use. Comparing different products is also recommended.

Essential oils should be mixed with carrier oils before use and never applied directly to the skin. People can mix 3-5 drops of oil of oregano essential oil in 1 ounce of warmed coconut oil or olive oil.

A tampon should be soaked in this mixture for a few minutes, then inserted and changed every 2-4 hours during the day. People should not leave a medicated tampon in for more than 6 hours.

When to avoid home remedies

Many home remedies are safe for most people with yeast infections. However, the following people should not try to treat themselves:

  • pregnant women
  • anyone who has been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection
  • people with a recurrent yeast infection
  • people who are unsure if their symptoms are caused by a yeast infection

While home remedies can resolve many cases of yeast infection, they are not effective in all situations.

It is important that people seek medical treatment if:

  • they are pregnant
  • this is their first yeast infection, as a medical diagnosis is necessary
  • the yeast infection is severe, or there are fissures or sores
  • infections are recurrent, appearing four or more times a year
  • symptoms do not improve within a few days of self-administered treatment
  • there are underlying medical conditions, such as diabetes or a compromised immune system

Below are some commonly asked questions about how to get rid of a yeast infection.

Can a yeast infection go away on its own?

A mild yeast infection may go away on its own. However, this is rare.

It is always a good idea to treat a yeast infection, even if it is mild. Left untreated, a yeast infection carries the risk of leading to a systemic infection in which other organs can become involved.

Does cranberry juice help yeast infections?

Despite being a commonly held belief, there is no evidence that cranberry juice helps yeast infections.

However, it does appear to help lower the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs), which can cause symptoms such as pain, itching, and burning in the vaginal area.

Can drinking water flush out a yeast infection?

While hydration does help with managing overall vaginal flora and can cause a shift in pH levels, making it easier to decrease or eliminate yeast, drinking water alone does not usually flush out yeast.

There are a wide range of home remedies that can potentially treat a yeast infection.

However, the effectiveness of these alternative therapies varies.

Nonetheless, some people may find them helpful.

A person should always talk with a doctor before using natural remedies for a yeast infection. Likewise, they should speak with a doctor about minor yeast infections that do not respond to primary care or continue to get worse.

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