Ways to treat yeast infection at home

When you have a yeast infection, your first thought is probably, “Ah, the itch!” Your second? “How do I get rid of this as fast as humanly possible?”

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A quick internet search calls up a treasure trove of trendy home remedies for yeast infections, from apple cider vinegar (“ACV” to those in the know) to essential oils. But are these treatments actually effective — or even safe?

Ob/Gyn Kathryn Goebel, MD, shares her advice for keeping the yeasty beasties at bay.

Effective ways to treat a yeast infection

Right off the bat, Dr. Goebel spots a problem with treating yeast infections at home. “The biggest issue is that self-diagnosis of yeast infections is not very accurate, especially if you haven’t had one before,” she says.

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Bacterial infections, allergic reactions and some skin conditions can cause similar symptoms, so it’s important to have a doctor confirm your diagnosis.

What if you’ve had yeast infections before, and there’s no doubt what you’re dealing with? Dr. Goebel says your best bet is actual yeast infection medication:

  • Fluconazole is a prescription pill that can treat most yeast infections with a single dose, though it might take a few days for symptoms to clear up.
  • Miconazole is an over-the-counter topical cream. It comes in a variety of formulations, including one-day, three-day and seven-day options. The cream can be a little messy, but it can also bring faster itch relief than oral fluconazole does, she says.

DIY yeast infection prevention

Some unlucky women get recurrent yeast infections, meaning they get to deal with the symptoms four or more times a year. If that’s you, the idea of sitting in an apple cider vinegar bath might not sound so wacky.

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What works, and what should you avoid? Dr. Goebel shares her do’s and don’ts for treating and preventing yeast infections.

  1. DO practice good hygiene. “Shower after exercise, avoid super tight clothing, don’t sit around in a wet bathing suit, and don’t wear a pantiliner every day since it can trap moisture,” she says.
  2. DO pamper your skin. If you have external irritation on the vulva, applying thick ointments like Vaseline® and Aquaphor® can provide a barrier against yeast and reduce itching.
  3. MAYBE consider probiotics. Probiotics contain healthy bacteria, which might help keep yeast levels in balance. Unfortunately, Dr. Goebel says, there’s no great data on whether eating foods or supplements with probiotics makes a big difference for yeast infections. But for most people, there’s no harm in giving them a try. Look for lactobacillus, the bacteria found in healthy vaginal flora. You’ll find it in yogurt and kefir with live active cultures, or in tablet or pill form.
  4. DON’T put yogurt anywhere but your mouth. Some women insert yogurt (it is made with lactobacillus) vaginally, but Dr. Goebel recommends against it. Even unsweetened yogurt has natural sugars, which can fuel yeast growth and might make matters worse.
  5. DON’T rely on vinegar. The idea is that adding vinegar to your bath can reduce the vaginal pH, making yeast less likely to grow. But there’s little evidence that it works, and it can cause burning or irritation. And definitely skip a more, ahem, direct application. “Old-fashioned vinegar douches disrupt natural healthy bacteria and increase the risk of infections,” Dr. Goebel says.
  6. DON’T confuse your vagina with a medicine cabinet — or a kitchen cabinet. The internet might tell you that introducing things like tea tree oil suppositories, coconut oil or garlic into the vagina can help clear up an overgrowth of yeast. But there’s no solid evidence for those DIY treatments, Dr. Goebel notes — and there’s a decent chance you’ll cause burning and irritation (not to mention lost bits of garlic). “Most of it doesn’t work, and a lot of it will cause problems,” she adds.

If you’re dying to hop on the latest trend, buy some new boots or dye your hair pink. When it comes to treating yeast infections, tried-and-true is your better bet.

Some home remedies, like chamomiles sitz baths,  contain antifungal properties can help with the treat of a yeast infection. A yeast infection, or candidiasis, is a fungal infection characterized by the overgrowth of Candida albicans fungas that can affect the genitals, skin, mouth or intestines. 

Garlic, tea tree oil and coconut oil can also help to fight yeast infections, as they contain antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Another way to treat yeast infections is to consume food with natural probiotics (like yogurt or kefir), natural prebiotics (like whole grains) and natural anti-inflammatories (like fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy fats). These goods help to maintain intestinal flora balance and strengthen the immune system. 

1. Yogurt and honey

A literature review completed in 2019 concluded that yogurt and honey can be used to complement prescribed treatment for vaginal yeast infections. When eaten or applied externally, it was found that vaginal itchiness and redness caused by fungal cells was significantly reduced.

The study highlighted the importance of using this method solely as a complement to the guidelines given to you by your doctor. 

2. Boric acid

For decades, boric acid has been used for effectively treating vaginal yeast infections. They can be purchased over-the-counter at pharmacies in the form of vaginal suppositories. You should use them as indicated on the package instructions.

A commonly referenced study showed that boric acid vaginal suppositories had a 92% effectiveness rate of treating yeast infections after 7 to 10 days. Women from this study reported satisfaction with how easy and mess-free this treatment can be. 

3. Stryphnodendron adstringens gargle 

Stryphnodendron adstringens is a medicinal plant with antifungal and antibacterial action. Its bark can be used in a gargle to help fight oral thrush. 


  • 1 tablespoon (3g) of Stryphnodendron adstringens bark 
  • 150 ml of water

How to prepare:

Boil the water with the Stryphnodendron adstringens bark for 10 to 15 minutes. Then remove from heat and cover until it has cooled. Strain the infusion and gargle 2 to 3 times per day. 

Considerations for use: The safe use of Stryphnodendron adstringens in pregnant or breastfeeding women has not yet been studied, therefore this gargles is not recommended for these populations. 

4. Coconut oil and tea tree oil ointment 

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid and caprylic, which contain antifungal and antimicrobial action, making it a great way to treat genital yeast infections. Tea trees are a medicinal plant with potent antibacterial and antifungal action and using its essential oil to treat a yeast infection can help to decrease fungal growth. 


  • 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, solid
  • 2 drops of tea tree oil 

How to prepare:

Wash you hands well. In a bowl, mix the coconut oil and tea tree oil with a spoon until well-combined. Apply to the genitals once per day for up to 5 days.

5. Sitz bath with chamomile tea 

Chamomile has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties, which can help to treat and reduce symptoms associated with genital yeast infections, like itching and burning.  Learn more about the benefits of chamomile tea. 


  • 3 tablespoons of dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 L (33 oz) of water 

How to prepare:

Boil the water, then remove from heat and add the dried chamomile flowers. Cover and allow to soak for 10 minutes. Then strain and pour into your sitz basin, along with more water to fill it up. After performing adequate genital hygiene, sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes, once per day. You can also soak a gauze in this tea and pat the genital areas with it once per day. 

6. Propolis

Propolis is a resin that is rich in antioxidants that contain bactericide and antifungal properties. It can help to strengthen the immune system to fight yeast infections. 


  • 20 drops of propils extract 
  • 1 tablespoon of honey 

How to prepare:

Stir the propolis extract in the honey and take this once per day for 20 to 30 days to strengthen the immune system and fight a yeast infection..

Considerations for use: Propolis extract is not infeicated for people with bee allergies or for people who have allergies to any components of the propolis formula. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should only use propolis as instructed by their doctor. 

7. Sitz bath with apple cider vinegar 

This vinegar is rich in gallic, lactic and citric acid, which are compounds rich in antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. These can play a role in treating a genital yeast infection. 


  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 
  • 1 L (33 oz) of warm water 

How to prepare:

Stir the apple cider vinegar into the warm water and transfer the mixture into a sitz basin. After performing genital hygiene, sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes, once per day.

Considerations for use: The apple cider vinegar should always be diluted in water before coming into contact with the skin, as it can cause irritation. Pregnant women should not perform this sitz bath. 

8. Sitz bath with sodium bicarbonate 

Sodium bicarbonate is a chemiical substance with a naturally alkaline pH level. It can be used in sitz baths to decrease vaginal acidity, which interferes with the growth and spread of Candida sp. fungas. It may help to relieve symptoms like itching and irritation. associated with yeast infections.


  • 6 tablespoons of sodium bicarbonate 
  • 3 L (100 oz) of warm water

How to prepare:

Stir the sodium bicarbonate into the warm water and transfer to a sitz basin. After performing genital hygiene, sit in the sitz bath for 20 minutes, twice per day to relieve symptoms. 

9. Oregano essential oil 

Oregano essential oil has potent antimicrobial and fungicide action, making it a great option to treat skin yeast infections. It can inhibit the growth of Candida albicans fungus. 


  • 2 drops of oregano essential oil 
  • 1 tablespoon of any vegetable or plant-based oil (e.g. coconut, olive or almond oil)

How to prepare:

In a bowl, stir the essential oil and vegetable oil in a bowl until well-combined. Perform hand hygiene and apply the mixture to the skin, massaging it into affected areas.

Considerations for use: Oregano essential oil is contraindicated for people with allergies to thyme, basil, mint or salvia, as these are plants from the same family as oregano. In addition, oregano should be used by children or women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. 

10. Sitz bath with Stryphnodendron adstringens 

A very effective and cost-effective home remedy with no side-effects is a sitz bath with Stryphnodendron adstringens. This plant is rich in flavonoids, terpenes and tanins with antibacterial, antifungal and astringent properties. To prepare the sitz bath, you just need to use the bark of this tree.


  • 20 g of Stryphnodendron adstringens bark 
  • 1 L of water  

How to prepare:

Boil the water with the bark for 10 to 15 minutes. Then cover and allow to soak until cool. Strain and mix with enough water to fill a sitz basin. After performing hygiene as usually, sit in the basin for 20 minutes, once per day. 

Considerations for use: The safety of this sitz bath in pregnant or breastfeeding women has not be studied, therefore it should be avoided in these populations. 

Can I treat a yeast infection on my own?

You can treat most vaginal yeast infections with an over-the-counter vaginal cream or suppository. Most large drugstores and supermarkets sell them. Many yeast infection treatments come in 1-day, 3-day, and 7-day strengths.

What's the easiest way to get rid of a yeast infection?

Taking an antifungal medication for three to seven days will usually clear a yeast infection. Antifungal medications — which are available as creams, ointments, tablets and suppositories — include miconazole (Monistat 3) and terconazole.