The most common home remedy for vaginal yeast infections is non-sweetened yogurt that contains active bacteria.
Many commercial brands do not contain live acidophilus, the friendly bacteria that helps keep yeast in check –so be sure to read the label.
Men with male yeast infections can also try eating yogurt to see if it will correct their bacteria-yeast balance. If the infection is mild enough, the infection may go away in a day or two.
Nancy’s website has a lot of interesting information about the cultures contained in their yogurt. If you don’t live in an area that sells this particular brand, check the labels on the yogurt available at your local supermarket – “live cultures” should be prominently noted.
If you add sugar to the yogurt you will cancel out its benefits by feeding your yeast – if you really can’t bear the idea of eating unsweetened yogurt, add a small amount of honey instead of sugar. Honey has been proven to increase the numbers of beneficial bacteria in your gut, while sugar inhibits bacteria and feeds yeast. If you have to choose between sweeteners, always choose honey. Brown sugar, raw sugar, and other forms of sugar are just sugar – they aren’t any better for you, and they should be avoided like the plague if you have a yeast infection, because yeast likes eating sugar just as much as you do.
Different methods of using yogurt for yeast infections
- The most obvious way to use yogurt when you have a yeast infection, or to prevent future infections, is to eat some every day. This will help keep a nice, healthy population of friendly bacteria inside your body, where the bacteria can act as your first line of defense against a yeast infection. Many yeast and bacteria species are natural enemies, because they compete for the same resources – in fact, many forms of fungi are the basis of our most potent anti-bacterial drugs. When we eat yogurt, we’re taking advantage of this ancient animosity between these two life forms.
- Some people put yogurt in the vagina instead of eating it, in order to get the acidophilus down where it’s needed more quickly. You can insert the yogurt directly into the vagina by dipping a tampon (the kind without an applicator, like the OB brand) into unsweetened yogurt and then inserting it into the vagina. Remove the tampon after an hour or so. Do not forget it’s there.
- You can also freeze yogurt in the fingers of a sterile plastic glove, and then insert the frozen yogurt popsicle in the vagina like a tampon. This can be a bit messy, so you may want to use a sanitary pad for a few hours. Believe it or not, the icy yogurt will feel good against your inflamed vaginal walls.
- You can also find suppositories containing live bacterial cultures at the natural food store and online. These products deliver the beneficial probiotics directly to the affected area. Make sure you select a capsule that contains only live bacterial cultures, and which does not contain herbal remedies such as Pau D’ Arco bark extract or black walnut that may kill the beneficial bacteria, too. If you use an antibacterial product of any kind, it will eliminate the friendly acidophilus along with any yeast.
If you use one of these products or put yogurt in the vagina, you should also eat a cup of unsweetened yogurt every day as well. You need a strong population of acidophilus in your intestinal tract to help build up your natural defenses and keep your infection from coming back.
Yogurt may be the safest treatment for mild yeast infections
Since yogurt is not an antifungal treatment, there is no risk that it will cause your yeast population to mutate and become drug resistant. Even if you are lactose-intolerant, you may be able to tolerate yogurt, but if not, try one of the acidophilus capsules sold at the natural food store, instead –but be sure to read that label!
Although thousands of women swear by this treatment for yeast infections, some researchers are not so sure since acidophilus is naturally present in the vagina already. This may explain why many health practitioners suggest that you eat the yogurt, instead of inserting it in the vagina – by eating the yogurt you improve the yeast/bacterial balance in your colon, which improves your digestive function, and this may improve your overall health enough to cause your vaginal yeast to calm down.
If you want to use yogurt as a treatment for your yeast infection, go ahead and experiment to see what actually works for you. You may decide to cover all your bases, and use yogurt both as a topical treatment in the vagina or on your genital area, while also including it in your diet. If your infection doesn’t go away quickly, be sure to make an appointment with your doctor.