At-home symptom relief for vaginal yeast infections (thrush)

It’s important to understand that a yeast infection in your vagina is almost always a sign of a yeast bloom in the gut. This needs addressing as well as your vagina if you want to truly clear up a yeast infection. You aren’t aiming to eliminate yeasts – they always exist in our bodies – but to keep them within normal ranges.

Food to skip when you have a vaginal yeast infection

While you are treating your yeast infection, stop eating all white carbs (white bread, pasta, rice, potato), and all sugary drinks and foods. They feed the yeast. You’ll be surprised that even just removing these foods – without any douching necessary – will get rid of many yeast infections by itself. Don’t underestimate how much your diet affects what blooms in your belly.

Add to that fermented foods and probiotics, and your simple yeast infection will typically resolve by itself, and within a day. A bloom relies on a food source, so if you remove the food source, the bloom disappears. Without the bloom in your gut, your vagina doesn’t have any yeast problems most of the time – one thing leads to the other. Adding yeast-fighting bacteria uses a two-pronged approach to fighting yeast – starve it and kill it.

While it’s also important to consider your intestines when treating vaginal yeast infections, vaginal treatments can reduce symptoms while you attend to your gut flora.

Milk kefir orally and vaginally

You want fresh grains only, which you will need to buy online for about $10 and have delivered. This can take too long to arrive if you need symptom relief immediately, but if you are prone to yeast infections, having some milk kefir grains fermenting can make a difference.

Make a thick, sour ferment of milk kefir, and insert a soaked tampon vaginally, use a douche to squirt some deep into your vagina, or use milk kefir suppositories that you freeze. Up to you.

Probiotics to choose when treating a vaginal yeast infection at home

You want yeast-fighting bacteria and beneficial yeasts. Find a probiotic with Saccharomyces boulardii in it – a known yeast fighter. If you can’t find that, then ask at your local pharmacy for the best probiotic they have for yeast infections. Make sure they are refrigerated probiotics.

Boric acid for vaginal yeast infections

Boric acid, 600mg nightly inserted deep into your vagina, can be a good symptom-relief treatment for yeast infections. Read more about boric acid in our fact sheet and then about where to find boric acid.

Potassium sorbate vaginally

It’s not commonly used much anymore, but at one point potassium sorbate – a yeast-defying food preservative – was used vaginally for yeast infections. Read more about how to use potassium sorbate for vaginal yeast infections.

Loose leaf herbs in the bath for vaginal yeast infection symptom relief

You can use chamomile or calendula leaves in the bath by making up a strong batch of tea with the leaves – steep for 20-30 minutes, then have a sitz bath or a regular bath to calm your raw, itchy vulva.

Douche to clean out the itchy, irritating thick white discharge of vaginal yeast infections

A douche can immediately clear out the itch-inducing liquids and cottage cheese-like substances that can contribute to yeast infections being unbearable. Try a lavender essential oil douche or you can also use Australian or New Zealand tea tree oil in a douche. Add a few drops of tea tree oil to warm water (if you can get water-soluble tea tree, do so). Using a syringe canister or douche, apply deep into the vagina and around the vulva, and let run out.

Don’t over-douche – you need your good bacteria! Just once should be fine, or as needed, but use sparingly. Douching is NOT generally a solution for a yeast infection, but can help soothe your vagina and vulva, and may solve the problem in some people.

Some (diluted!) essential oils that work well for calming the external feelings of a yeast infections include:

  • German chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Myrrh
  • Petit grain
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme

Sitz bath for minor symptom relief of vaginal yeast infections

Dose: 2-3 drops of essential oil in a large bowl of warm water, and sit your vulva in it – used twice daily until symptoms resolve. A sitz bath is a ‘bath’ where your bottom and vagina are sitting in the water and nothing else, though you can have a regular bath – just make sure to add more essential oils to account for the new ratio.

Itching or soreness – soothing yoghurt and oil douche for vaginal yeast infections

Dose: Make a douche using 100ml of fresh live probiotic (unflavoured) yoghurt or milk kefir, plus 5 drops each of German chamomile, lavender and tea tree oil. Apply the mixed liquid using a syringe canister, turkey baster, or silicone douche. You can dilute the yoghurt with warm water until it is thinner, if you prefer.

This way it will come out of your vagina faster than the yoghurt may. Do the douche twice daily. Make sure the yoghurt is completely plain, has live probiotics in it, and no added sugar, flavours, or preservatives.

Using gentian violet for vaginal yeast infections

An interesting and effective treatment for vaginal yeast infections, used topically only (in the vagina), is gentian violet. It’s inexpensive, but messy – it will stain you purple, but depending on how bad your infection is, you could even do just one treatment and see what happens. Instructions on how to use gentian violet vaginally. 

 

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica Lloyd - Naturopathic Practitioner, BHSc(N)

Jessica is a degree-qualified naturopath (BHSc) specialising in vulvovaginal health and disease, based in Melbourne, Australia.

Jessica is the owner and lead naturopath of My Vagina, and is a member of the:

  • International Society for the Study of Vulvovaginal Disease (ISSVD)
  • International Society for the Study of Women's Sexual Health (ISSWSH)
  • National Vulvodynia Association (NVA) Australia
  • New Zealand Vulvovaginal Society (ANZVS)
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS)
Read more about Jessica and My Vagina's origin story.