1. Yogurt If you’re looking for an alternative to the usual drugstore options, plain yogurt should be at the top of your list, says Sherry Ross, MD, OB/GYN and women’s health expert at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. “The lactobacillus acidophilus cultures in yogurt are thought to be an effective way of removing excessive yeast build-up in the vagina,” she says. Even so, findings only suggest that the good bacteria could keep new yeast infections from forming—not cure existing ones. When participants with chronic yeast infections placed probiotic tablets in their vagina for a month, their rates of infection fell by nearly 90%, found one Italian study.
2. Garlic The stinky cloves contain allicin, a compound thought to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. And at least one small study suggests that it could help with yeast infections: Women who applied a vaginal cream made with garlic and thyme daily for a week experienced similar relief in symptoms compared to those who used a standard OTC antifungal cream. Problem is, the study didn’t specify how to make the cream or how much garlic to use. Anecdotally, most women who’ve had success with garlic insert the cloves directly into their vagina, and both Yamaguchi and Ross agree that it’s certainly worth a try.
3. Coconut oil You slather it everywhere else, so why not down there? Findings from Tufts University suggest that coconut oil’s antibacterial properties could be effective in fighting off the candida, the fungus that can cause yeast infections. But the study was conducted on mice who were fed coconut oil, so there’s no telling for sure how effectively coconut oil applied to the skin would fight candida in people. Still, even if it doesn’t help your yeast infection, it probably won’t hurt, say Ross and Yamaguchi.
4. Apple cider vinegar Apparently, this stuff is good for everything. Like coconut oil, apple cider vinegar boasts antibacterial properties that have been shown to kill candida. So in theory, applying it to the outside of the vagina or soaking in a bath with apple cider vinegar could help ease symptoms like burning, itching, and swelling, Ross says. But since there haven’t been any studies on ACV’s effectiveness with specific regards to yeast infections, experts can’t say for sure.
5. Baking soda Yeast infections cause your vagina’s pH to become more acidic than normal. The thinking goes, then, that something alkaline—like baking soda—could potentially help bring the pH closer to where it should be and make it harder for infection-causing yeast to thrive. “Some women soak in a baking soda bath,” says Ross. “But medical studies haven’t shown that baking soda is a reliable or consistent treatment remedy.” The bottom line? Any of these might help you find some much-needed relief. But experts haven’t studied them extensively enough to learn about any potentially negative side effects, and none of the remedies seem to be a sure fix. So if your symptoms don’t improve—or they get worse—stop using them and call your doctor. Source: prevention.com
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