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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  • kassko

    I have some itching (mostly when I rub against the area/wipe) but no other symptoms… is this an infection?

  • I am 13 and I masterbate

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

      First, don’t do anything to further irritate or scratch the area and, if this is not getting better, then you need to talk to your mom about seeing a doctor. It sounds to me like the scratches and cuts are enough to give you a lot of the symptoms. Keep the outside area clean with soap and water and be sure to thoroughly rinse off the soap. No one likes to go to a doctor for that sort of thing, but sometimes, you just have to to get better. If these areas get infected, that could become a serious problem. Meantime you could ask your mom about getting some over-the-counter yeast infection medicine.

  • Mary

    (Post continued – phone issues) -later than I should have, and now it’s awful! I’m not usually so negligent, but it’s been a stressful couple of weeks, and it was the perfect storm to mess up. I danced all weekend too in the heat and humidity which doesn’t help either! Ugh! Well I’m annoyed at myself and don’t want to bug the nurse for a third script, and I want to see my boyfriend this weekend, so I’m going to give the yogurt a try. (I’d use Monistat, but it would obviously cause a problem with the condom.) Does it matter if it’s Greek or regular? All I have is Greek now, which has additional strains of bacteria, but I know more doesn’t necessarily equal better. Trying to keep things super dry and hoping this clears up before the weekend.

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

      Mary, good luck.

  • Mary

    I just wanted to say thanks for the boric acid advice. I’ve been having trouble with recurrent infections this year, and I saw that treatment in a Cochrane Review about treatment of recurrent yeast infections including candida glarbata (I may be getting the name wrong.) The last time I went to the doc, I had extremely mild symptoms, and it turned out that I had no infections (yeast, trich, and whatever strains they test for BV were negative). I just want to point that out in case anyone else has something similar. May have been vulvar eczema. (I’m atopic.) The nurse said it was okay to treat with cortisone, but I was nervous that it would thin my skin or reduce my immunity and actually bring on an infection. I used it sparingly, and it was fine.

    I have an infection now with lots of discharge and the same symptoms as usuaI don’t want to go to the doctor or have the nurse call in a script because I didn’t really take the last one properly, hence the infection returning. Just a reminder for people, don’t accidentally leave your second dose in the car if you’re someone who needs one, or it won’t work. Refilled the script after it started to come back but took the second dose

  • 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.