A vaginal yeast infection is caused by the excessive growth of a fungus called Candida albicans that naturally lives in your vagina. This overgrowth is incredibly common and is experienced by most women at some point in their life. Unfortunately, it is also uncomfortable and triggers irritation, inflammation, itching, and painful discharge in the vaginal area.
If this is a repeat infection, it is usually safe to follow at-home remedies; however, always prioritize any recommendations from a healthcare provider. If you’ve never had a yeast infection and are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist and rule out any other health complications. Vaginal yeast infections may look very similar to sexually transmitted infections, so a professional diagnosis is critical.
- Burning, redness, and swelling of the vagina and the vulva
- Pain or burning when you pee
- Pain during sex
- A thick, white, odorless discharge, similar to cottage cheese
Though many women turn to prescription or over the counter remedies for yeast infection, there are several natural solutions that could prove incredibly beneficial.
Why do women get yeast infections?
Vaginal yeast infections can be caused by many things, but a bacteria imbalance is the primary reason these infections develop. You may be more at risk of a yeast infection for any of the following reasons.
- Antibiotics, which decrease the amount of Lactobacillus (“good bacteria”) in the vagina
- You use vaginal sprays or other cleaners
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Weak immune system
- Poor eating habits, including a lot of sugary foods
- Hormonal imbalance near your menstrual cycle
- Lack of sleep
- Birth control with high estrogen levels
Ways to prevent a yeast infection
Though it is common and very treatable, a yeast infection is far from pleasant. Though it is difficult to avoid a yeast infection entirely, there are a few ways you can slash your risk and keep your vaginal area well balanced.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables and avoid processed foods
- Wash underwear in hot water
- Avoid douching
- Don’t sit around in wet clothing such as a bathing suit
- Frequently replace feminine hygiene products during menstruation
- Stick to natural fibers such as cotton, silk, and linen
- Eat full-fat Greek yogurt for breakfast
Coconut oil for yeast infection
Coconut oil is often called a miracle oil and has taken the public by storm due to its astonishing health benefits. Unlike many other health “fads” and remedies, coconut oil isn’t going anywhere, and extensive research only serves to support its superstar reputation. Health enthusiasts and those searching for natural remedies use this tropical treasure for everything from a moisturizer, to healthy cooking oil. But did you know that it may also be beneficial for alleviating a yeast infection?
This oil is a known antifungal and antibacterial agent which makes it a natural choice when searching for ways to rid your body of a yeast infection. Numerous studies show that concentrated coconut oil is highly effective for fungal infections, especially the Candida albicans strain that is responsible for yeast infections.
How to use it
Always purchase pure, unrefined organic coconut oil and rub a small amount directly onto the affected area. Be sure to target any skinfold where the infection may be hiding and wash your hands before and after application. Keep a separate dish or jar of coconut oil to use specifically for this purpose to avoid any cross-contamination. Tea tree oil is also a well-known antifungal agent and can be combined with coconut oil for an even more potent remedy. Add a few drops to your coconut oil before using.
Some experts recommend coating a tampon in coconut oil and inserting it into the vagina to allow the coconut oil to have contact with the affected area. This method may be an effective delivery tool but do not leave the tampon in for more than 6 hours.
Using coconut oil for a yeast infection is totally safe and doesn’t have any known side effects. Of course, avoid using this remedy if you are allergic to coconut oil.
Other natural remedies for yeast infection:
- Eat more garlic
- Add more vitamin C-rich foods to your diet
- Add ½ apple cider vinegar to a warm bath and soak for 20 minutes
- Diluted tea tree essential oil (tee tree vaginal suppositories work well)
- Oral probiotics