Yeast Infection Home Remedies: 13 Best Options

By Robynn Lowe
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
October 14, 2022

When it comes to vaginal health, anything that seems different can cause alarm. If you experience an itchy, irritated, and sore vagina and have thick white discharge, take a deep breath. You likely have a vaginal yeast infection.

You’re not alone. Vaginal yeast infections are a widespread women’s health issue. After bacterial infections (also called bacterial vaginosis), they are the most common vaginal infection in the United States. Nearly 1.4 million American women seek medical advice for a yeast infection every year. 

While in some cases you need to see a doctor for help, if your symptoms are mild, a range of natural remedies, over-the-counter (OTC) treatments, and other medications may help you find relief. Read on to learn more about how to treat your symptoms safely and quickly to keep your vagina balanced and comfortable over the long term.

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Home Remedies for Yeast Infection

Mild yeast infections often clear up in a few days. More severe or recurrent yeast infections can take up to two weeks to heal completely. If you are experiencing yeast infection symptoms for more than three days, talk to a healthcare provider. Also see a doctor if you are pregnant, have chronic yeast infections, have symptoms related to an STD, or are unsure if you have a yeast infection.

On the other hand, if you have mild symptoms and want some relief, certain home remedies may help. Here’s a breakdown of what may help and what doesn’t seem to work.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil is known to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties. In one cell study, it appeared to kill candida albicans when taken orally. More research is necessary to confirm this benefit, so talk to a doctor before you try using coconut oil. 

Boric acid

Boric acid has antifungal and antiviral properties and can be used to make homemade vaginal suppositories. It seems to help, particularly in cases when other traditional treatments have failed. One word of caution: Boric acid is toxic to a fetus, so pregnant women should avoid it.

Apple cider vinegar

Researchers do not consider apple cider vinegar a reliable treatment for a yeast infection. You should never douche with any vinegar. This can irritate the skin and can aggravate symptoms. There’s also no evidence that adding a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bath will help rebalance vaginal pH.

Probiotics

Early research suggests that taking a probiotic supplement may re-introduce helpful bacteria like lactobacillus acidophilus into your body. And some women’s health experts believe these supplements help re-establish a more balanced vaginal pH. The science is inconclusive, though, so if you want relief quickly, seek a proven treatment instead.

Yogurt

Eating yogurt with live cultures may support immune health. However, it’s unclear if this means that consuming yogurt can fight or treat yeast infections. Either way, never smear yogurt on your vagina. Most yogurts contain sugar, which feeds fungi and can make yeast infection symptoms worse.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil that has antibacterial and antifungal properties. People have used it to treat wounds and other ailments for centuries. Some studies have shown that it may be an effective topical treatment against yeast infections—when used in tandem with traditional OTC medications like fluconazole. Another essential oil, oregano oil (origanum oil), has been found in cell studies to have antimicrobial properties

However, both of these oils require more study before researchers can recommend them as an effective treatment. If you try it anyway, never drink tea tree oil. It can be toxic when ingested orally.

Garlic

Garlic can be taken orally as a homeopathic yeast infection treatment. Always consult with your doctor to understand exactly how much garlic to take. 

Although some tout garlic as a cure for all kinds of medical conditions, do not use cloves as vaginal suppositories to treat a yeast infection. There is little evidence that the practice does anything beneficial, and you may end up burning your vagina or making your condition worse.

Baking soda

Adding 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon of baking soda to bathwater may help relieve some of the symptoms of an active yeast infection. Baking soda is known anecdotally to help to calm itch and soothe other ailments like athlete’s foot, poison ivy, and hives. One study showed that it may kill candida albicans too, but that’s not enough evidence to confirm it helps. Be sure to follow up with your doctor before using baking soda as a treatment.

Hydrogen peroxide

Douching with hydrogen peroxide might seem like a good idea—after all, it is famously antiseptic and used to clean open wounds of invasive microbes all of the time. Unfortunately, treating your vagina with hydrogen peroxide can throw off its pH balance even further, exacerbating a yeast infection. 

Salt water 

People often use salt water to treat fungal infections like athlete’s foot and oral thrush. Some suggest adding salt to bathwater as a gentle way to kill candida albicans, but more research is necessary to show this works.

Oil of Oregano

Oil of oregano can be used to treat a yeast infection at home. It’s easy to obtain from most health food stores or grocery stores. The best way to use this as a treatment is in capsule form, inserting at night. 

If capsules aren’t an option, oil will do just as well. Apply 2-4 drops to the inside of the genital area. This oil can also be applied to a tampon, with or without coconut oil, to achieve the same medicinal effects.

Lemongrass

Lemongrass is an effective at home remedy for a yeast infection. Studies have found that lemongrass interacted with Candida biofilm formation in a way that would remedy a yeast infection

This essential oil can be applied topically or as a capsule. When using it topically, it’s a good idea to use a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) when applying to the affected area. 

Vitamins C and E

Both vitamins C and E can be beneficial in treating yeast infections. Because vitamin C increases the immune system and vitamin E is soothing on the skin, these vitamins are a great duo. 

While the vitamin C is giving a boost to your body to fight off the infection, the vitamin E boasts anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce the itchiness that often accompanies a yeast infection. 

Other Treatment Options

If you have a vaginal yeast infection and want to get rid of your symptoms quickly, an OTC antifungal medication or prescription treatment may be the best option for you. 

  • Over-the-counter medications: A wide range of OTC antifungal vaginal suppositories and lotions use tioconazole to treat yeast infections over one-, three-, and seven-day regimens. Patients insert the suppositories at bedtime and use a cream throughout the day to alleviate irritation and itch.
  • Prescription lotions: Two topical creams are available by prescription to fight yeast infections in people with severe symptoms. Butoconazole is a single-dose treatment, while patients use terconazole over a three- or seven-day period.
  • Prescription oral medication: Fluconazole (Diflucan) is a prescription oral tablet that effectively treats yeast infection. It may be taken only once or once a day for a few days. It comes with a risk of more side effects than creams and suppositories, but these effects are generally mild: headache, stomach ache, and rash.

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Preventing Yeast Infections

There are ways you can prevent a yeast infection or lessen the chances that you’ll get one. Hygiene and diet both play a role in prevention. A few of these practices are: 

  • Wearing breathable underwear, usually made of cotton 
  • Avoiding frequent trips to a hot tub or bubble bath
  • Changing out of wet clothes as soon as possible 
  • If on your period, changing tampon regularly 
  • Eating yogurt as its active cultures help regulate yeast levels
  • Eating a low-sugar diet
  • Avoiding heavy amounts of beer
  • Drinking plenty of cranberry juice or taking a cranberry supplement 

Note: Even when taking precautions to prevent a yeast infection, they can still occur.

When to See a Medical Provider

Yeast infections are not the only ailment that can affect your vaginal health. If you’ve never experienced a yeast infection before, are pregnant, or your symptoms are severe or prolonged, make an appointment with a gynecologist for medical advice and a proper diagnosis. It’s important to rule out other bacterial or sexually transmitted infections (STDs) that may be causing your symptoms.

Can I Treat a Yeast Infection Online?

Did you know that you can get yeast infection treatment online through K Health?

We have clinicians available 24/7 to get you the care or medication that you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you cure a yeast infection at home fast?
If your symptoms are mild, over-the-counter (OTC) vaginal suppositories and other medications as well as some home remedies may help treat a vaginal yeast infection or at least provide relief until you can see a doctor.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a yeast infection?
Home remedies and OTC treatments can cure a mild yeast infection. If you have a severe infection or your symptoms last more than three days, talk to a doctor about whether a prescription-strength medication may be right for you.
Can yeast infections go away on their own?
Mild yeast infections can go away on their own, but most do not. If you have a yeast infection, seeking treatment is the only sure-fire way to get relief.
Can a yeast infection go away in one day?
Some OTC and prescription medications have single-dose strengths available. If you are concerned about treating your yeast infection quickly, talk to your doctor about your options.

K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

K Health has strict sourcing guidelines and relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We avoid using tertiary references.

Robynn Lowe

Robynn Lowe is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years in the medical field. Robynn received her Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Florida Atlantic University and has been practicing in rural family medicine since. Robynn is married to her college sweetheart, Raymond and they have three awesome children. When Robynn isn't with patients you can find her shopping, coaching her kids sports teams, or spending time on the water.