Plain yogurt contains Lactobacillus, a bacterium that may support medical treatment in fighting vaginal yeast infections. A person may apply plain yogurt to the area with a clean finger or use a yogurt suppository.

Several types of yeast and bacteria can build up in the vagina. A yeast infection develops when a type of fungus called Candida multiplies too much.

In this article, we explore the science behind yogurt as a treatment for a vaginal yeast infection. We also describe the most effective ways to use it.

Anyone interested in this home remedy should be sure to use plain, natural yogurt that contains Lactobacillus bacteria.

It is important that the yogurt contains no natural sweeteners. This is because sugar causes the yeast to multiply, so using a sweet yogurt may make the infection worse.

Getting the yogurt inside the vagina may be difficult, but the following strategies can help:

  • Use a finger to insert one or more scoops of yogurt.
  • Fill an unused tampon applicator with yogurt and insert it.
  • For cooling relief, freeze an unused, yogurt-filled tampon applicator before inserting it.

Some people prefer natural remedies for a yeast infection because:

  • They are concerned about the possible side effects of antifungal treatments.
  • There are concerns about developing resistance to antifungal treatments.
  • A home remedy is often more convenient and less expensive than a medical treatment.

Yogurt may be an effective remedy because it contains Lactobacillus bacteria. This healthful bacteria lives in the gut, urinary tract, and vagina without irritating these areas.

Using yogurt that contains helpful bacteria may restore a healthy balance of yeast and bacteria in the vagina. Lactobacillus releases hydrogen peroxide, which kills Candida, helping to combat a yeast infection.

Also, if the yogurt is cold, it may soothe itchiness or burning sensations.

A combination of yogurt and honey worked well as an alternative to antifungal treatment in pregnant study participants with vaginal yeast infections, according to research from 2012.

A 2015 study suggested that the therapeutic effects of yogurt may be more effective than clotrimazole (Canesten), an antifungal cream.

Meanwhile, the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that making a suppository out of yogurt containing Lactobacillus may help improve yeast infection symptoms if a person also uses conventional treatment. The institution highlights, however, that eating the yogurt or the bacteria in a supplement does not prevent these infections.

Plain yogurt that contains Lactobacillus and no natural sweeteners might help treat the infection and ease the symptoms.

But be sure to only use plain yogurt. Yogurt that contains added sugar will likely make the infection and its symptoms worse because sugar causes the yeast to multiply.

Also, while yogurt may be effective, it may not provide relief as quickly as traditional antifungal treatments.

Antifungal tablets, creams, and suppositories are available to treat yeast infections.

The vagina has a balanced environment of bacteria and yeast. When this balance is disrupted, Candida yeast can multiply extensively, causing an infection.

The following factors can disrupt this natural balance:

  • experiencing hormonal changes
  • using antibiotics
  • having sex
  • using perfumed body or intimate washes
  • changing tampons too infrequently
  • wearing underwear that is too tight

While sex can sometimes lead to an overgrowth of Candida, a yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include:

  • itchiness in the vagina
  • a burning sensation in the vagina
  • thick, white, clumpy discharge

Vaginal yeast infections are common, treatable, and not usually a cause for concern.

It can be difficult to identify this infection, especially when experiencing it for the first time. This is why it is essential to receive a professional diagnosis. Also, a doctor can recommend different treatments if yeast infections develop often or do not improve with over-the-counter treatment.

Anyone who has ongoing pain or other vaginal symptoms should consult a healthcare professional. And it is a good idea for all sexually active people to receive regular STI screenings.