5 Yeast Infection Home Remedies

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3 Yeast Infection Myths. (#1: Men Don’t Get Them.)

Tablespoon of yogurt

Sure, you can eat yogurt for a yeast infection. But for a more direct approach, you can insert a tablespoon where it really counts.

by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

Since this is National Women’s Health Week, I tried to think of common ailments that I see women for more than men. Things that would be frequent problems in a disaster.

The first ailment that came to mind was yeast infections. (It’s estimated that up to ninety percent of women will have one at some time.) But, men, this affects you too. Much more than may you think. Fortunately, for yeast infections, there are plenty of home remedies.

The Basics

Everyone has yeast on and in their bodies. It loves moisture, so it grows best in our mouths and intestines, in sweaty skin folds, in the vagina, and—men, listen up—under the foreskin.

The Problem

When yeast overgrows, it can cause extreme itching. Factors in addition to moisture that lead to overgrowth are:

  • Antibiotics. They don’t just kill the bad bacteria, they kill off the good also. This gives yeast free range to grow without competition.
  • A compromised immune system, such as from HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, stress, or diabetes. You’re not going to get the yeast under control if your sugar isn’t.

Myth 2: If there’s vaginal itching, it’s a yeast infection.

Many of you women have had yeast infections before. You take an antibiotic and, even if you gobble down cartons of yogurt, you know the itching’s coming. You take one of the over-the-counter suppositories and it’s gone.

The women I see in the office have tried this too. It didn’t work. Sometimes, that’s because they have a persistent yeast infection. But often it’s something else.

You must remember that other things can cause itching. Trichomoniasis is a biggie. This is a very common sexually transmitted parasitic infection that can stay unnoticed for years and then show up as extreme itching and a bad-smelling discharge. Only antibiotics (metronidazole) will clear this up.

Signs of a Yeast Infection

Yeast infections cause a cottage-cheese looking discharge with a minimal smell. The vaginal area is usually raw and red. Infected, uncircumcised men can have this same discharge under the foreskin, or the foreskin can just be red, raw, and swollen. Circumcised men have redness and itching around the urethral opening (where the pee comes out).

5 Yeast Infection Home Remedies

So, you’ve been to the doctor, and now you’ve just got to go to the store and get your medicine, right?

But what if you’re in the middle of a disaster? You’ve been wet or sweaty all day, unable to change clothes, stressed to the hilt, so you’re at increased risk, and you start feeling that itch. You can’t possibly get to a doctor, or even a store.

Fortunately, there are boatloads of yeast infection home remedies. Here are just a few. Men, just coat them externally.

  1. Yogurt. A tablespoon of plain yogurt in the vagina or on the penis will do. Leave on or in for a few hours. Do this daily until the symptoms are gone. Warning: It’s messy!
  2. Boric-acid vaginal capsules. If you have some boric-acid powder and some 00 size gelatin capsules, open up the capsule, and fill both sides about half full with the powder. Close the capsule, and insert vaginally. Do this daily for two weeks. Many doctors recommend this for infections that don’t respond well to the usual medications. Warning: never take orally, and don’t use or if you might be pregnant. Don’t put on open sores or wounds. Added benefit: Boric acid is good for killing roaches, too. ☺
  3. Gentian violet. You’d have to keep some on hand. You can get it at your local pharmacy. Soak a long, large cotton swab with gentian violet, insert, and coat the vaginal walls. Do this daily until the symptoms are gone. Doctors used to use this before the current medications were available. Warning: Messy. Will discolor clothing.
  4. Tea tree oil douche. Mix a tablespoon of tea tree oil in a cup of warm water. Douche once or twice a day until the symptoms are gone. Warning: Can cause irritation. Stop if it does.
  5. Garlic. And then there’s our old friend garlic. Peel a clove, cut some shallow slits into it, sew a string into it, and shove it in if you dare. It’s supposed to work, but it can also cause quite a bit of burning. Since you’re already dealing with a sensitive place, I’d probably eat one a day instead.

Eating yogurt or your favorite probiotic may help also. Avoid sugar and alcohol, and get that diabetes under control. No sex. It irritates the area and will flair up the infection.

Myth 3: Since a yeast infection isn’t an STD, your partner won’t get it.

Although a yeast infection is not an STD, you can pass it back and forth with your sexual partner in about twenty percent of cases. So it’s best to treat both of you, especially if it comes back after initial treatment.

How to Prevent Yeast Infections

  1. Wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton undies.
  2. Keep dry down there.
  3. Don’t douche unless it’s for treatment. Douching disrupts the normal bacteria.
  4. Avoid sugar and alcohol.

Please share your experiences in the comments.

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  • Loren

    Firstly I’d do is see your GYN. Make sure that there isn’t a serious issue there first. If everything checks out, I’d look into some natural ways of dealing with this problem.

    For me I started looking into fruits and vegetables that help. Grapefruit and pineapples help a lot. There are also vitamins that help but none really showed any type of change for me.

    Then after spending a few hours on the net I came across this natural supplement for women’s needs and care on amazon called balance complex for women.

    I’ve been let down before by supplements promising the world. This type of issue is especially embarrassing and I’m just thrilled this has been working so far.

    Would tell any lady to not hesitate and give this a try, will change your life.

  • Anna

    Does it matter if you use Greek yogurt to regular yogurt?

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Not that I know of.

  • Grace

    I am almost fifteen, I had a yeast infection and my mom bought me medicine for it, it happened right after my period so I’m sure it’s from hormones. I used the medicine and it helped a lot. But I still have the creamy white discharge that comes out constantly. All the other symptoms are gone. And I don’t want to ask my mother for more medicine.

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      If you insert medicine vaginally not long ago, it could be some medicine coming out. If you continues, you really should tell your mother what’s going on.

  • Marissa

    OK, so it sucks that I only read this post today. I’ve been suffering from extreme itch for 4 months now. I cant help not scratching because it’s itchy as hell. I have no discharges, no smell and redness, just pure unholy itching that keeps me awake all the time. Been to 2 obgyns and only thing they did was look at may vaj and prescribe stuff, none of which worked. I took Diflucan once and the itch went away for 2 weeks then came back with a vengeance. Daktacort and Canisten creams and a generic Fluconazole by Novistat didn’t help either. I changed all my underwear to cotton fabric, had myself checked for diabetes which came back as negative. Now i’m into this yogurt thing for 2 days by applying it directly down there with my hands as i’ve never used a tampon in my life. But i still feel no relief. :( How long does it usually take for the itch to go away with yogurt? And if i am going to an obgyn (prolly going to be my third one already), what procedure do i need to ask her to do aside from just looking at it?? Just to really know if this is yeast or whatever. :(

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Be sure to tell the gynecologist about your different treatments. Perhaps they should do a culture and a wet prep to rule out other causes of vaginal itching. If the itching is only on the outside, it could be a dermatitis. Be sure use mild, unscented soap, like Ivory, and wash it off well. No sprays, fresheners, etc. If they’re sure it’s yeast, perhaps ask what they think about using gentian violet or several days of Nizoral, or something else. Also, has your sexual partner been treated?

      • Marissa

        hi doc thank you for the reply.. :’) when the gyne checked me, she said everything LOOKS normal. she didn’t do anything like get a swab sample or whatnot. Isn’t dermatitis supposed to be reddish and swollen? As far as i know, my partner has never had any infection down there ever. and currently doesn’t feel any itch, either. :(

        • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

          Most dermatitis is red and itchy, yes. Since many times a doctor can get a good clue that it’s a yeast infection by how it looks. If she said it looks normal, then that’s a clue it could be something else. Even if she said it looks like a yeast infection, there could be something secondary going on also. If you get treated for a yeast infection again, I’d have your partner, at least, use some otc external cream, just to make absolutely sure.

  • Desiree

    I have had a yeast infection once a month for the last two months. The first one was due to changing soap but it got so bad that it caused a bump that never had a head to come up from under the skin form a head and pop(with thick dark pus)after everything was swollen even more I did all the home remedies an it went away now this month its back its not as bad. Now my period came on the last time a day or two after the infection went away if my period comes on again after should I get checked

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Yes, get checked. Sometimes yeast infections can be triggered by hormone changes, such as the changes around menstrual periods.

  • cyn

    i only realised it was yeast infection after my boyfriend told me he saw his doctor. his doctor asked him to get me checked too. i mostly get the itching on my lap, discharge and all that. mostly after sex. And i transfer that to him. its frustrating as i see him struggling with it. He is beginning to avoid sex because of this.

    i am trying the yogurt and drinking cranberry juice daily. i use Biocare Cervagyn 50g but not sure this cream helps. am looking to get Monista on amazon sometime this week.

    is this yeast infection ever gonna go away?

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Cyn, it’s time you saw a doctor and got checked to make sure that’s what it is and to get on the most effective medicine.

  • ihateyeast

    I was on antibiotics for a month in august and evervsince then I have had yeast infection. I tried yogurt and garlic but niether have worked for me.. any other suggestions im desperate !

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      There are plenty of good over-the-counter meds. If they don’t work, you could see a doctor to: 1. Make sure that’s what it is. 2. Get prescription meds.

  • dood

    I had an infection with my foreskin.. (don’t know the name of it) it was from having sex with my gf who didn’t realize she had a yeast infection.. so it got pretty swollen so i read this article and resulted in stuffing my mushroom head with minced garlic from the big jar from costco. removed it after 4 hrs or so, showered, stuffed it again and 4 hours again i removed it and showered. the signs of healing were very rapid and within 24 hrs of first application swelling was gone and today I’ve shed a layer of skin and its just a little red/slightly itchy (healing) and all is functionally well. (no oral or penetrative sex for a week to be safe i guess) .. Thanks so much for suggesting garlic and to be honest I wouldn’t second guess garlic ever again (but keep a closetful watch so you can be safe)

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Thanks for sharing, dood.

  • Katie

    I’m just asking out of curiosity, can yeast infections spread to other parts of your body? Could dizziness, headaches and irregular periods contribute to yeast infections? I had shingles last December so it could be a weak immune system for me. Plus have a busy life, work every second tuesday in one job. Wed, Thurs and Fri am at college and Fri afternoon/eve, Sat and Sun I work in my other job in a supermarket at checkouts which is a prime place for germs and catching colds etc from people. Even though I always wash my hands after work and use antibacterial gel before eating at breaks could I still catch germs etc from customers?? Sorry for the long list of questions.

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      Yeast infections can definitely occur in the mouth and in other moist areas (under breasts or folds in the skin). Stress can definitely weaken your immune system. Proper sleep and good nutrition help a lot. And here’s a post on proven remedies that can help prevent colds http://www.thesurvivaldoctor.com/2012/08/02/treat-a-cold/

      • Katie

        Thanks for replying. Got another question. I had breast pain before my period for about 2 weeks, they were sore even when I was walking about. This month I had a little breast pain for less than 2 weeks but instead I have an itchy red rash on my vagina. It’s gotten better since yesterday. I was wondering if this could be a period related situation? It’s due in about 2 weeks.

        • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

          That’s certainly a possibility. Sounds like you need a good checkup, with an exam (breast, pelvic) and lab (Thyroid, CBC, and Glucose, etc.)

          • Katie

            What’s CBC?

          • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

            Complete Blood Count. It checks for things like anemia or signs of infection.

          • Katie

            Have booked appointment with GP in two weeks, also googled chronic tiredness and have the symptoms of CFS, going to mention that to GP too, and try and get a referral to the hosp for some tests. Thanks for the info. :)

  • Jeff

    I am a 37yr old man with two daughter, 2 weeks ago while at work i noticed a tare on the foreskin of my penis, this is normal as it happens on a regular basis when i am away at work and not having intercourse, my foreskin always becomes tight and when in the mood i masturbate which causes tares, but the 2 weeks ago while urinating i noticed a tare which quickly spread and my whole foreskin no has tares right around it, it is not very painful but i cannot pull my foreskin back, that is just impossible, what could have caused this to happen, is this a yeast infection and can i try anything at home as i am too embarrassed to visit a doctor.

    • http://thesurvivaldoctor.com/ James Hubbard, MD, MPH

      A yeast infection can cause much irritation and swelling and the medications (over the counter or otherwise are the same for men and women.) Tears, no so much. Please know that doctors see this sort of think all the time and, although it would be embarrassing to you, the doctor would think nothing of it.