Povidone-iodine, also well-known as brand-name Betadine, can in some cases cure a vaginal yeast infection when used properly. Povidone-iodine douches or suppositories (pessaries) may be used to treat vulvovaginal yeast infections (thrush).
Evidence that povidone-iodine kills or inhibits yeast
A 1997 study into women with abnormal vaginal flora, including yeast infections/thrush were treated with either sterile water, vinegar and water douching solution, or a povidone-iodine solution. Twenty hours after treatment, the only group of women who had normal vaginal flora were the povidone-iodine group.
How to use povidone-iodine to treat a vaginal yeast infection – safety first!
There are some important safety notes for women who wish to use povidone-iodine as a vaginal douche for a yeast infection/thrush.
! Anyone with thyroid issues should avoid douching with povidone-iodine for any reason without medical supervision.
Povidone-iodine necessarily contains iodine, which is used by the thyroid gland to make thyroid hormones. The vagina is mucous membranes, and this tissue is absorbent, which means that when you put Betadine into the vagina as a douche, some iodine is absorbed.
How to use povidone-iodine vaginally
We have loads of information about using povidone-iodine vaginally on our povidone-iodine page, but you can use povidone-iodine for a vaginal yeast infection very easily if it is safe for you to do so. You can use your own douche or buy the Betadine douche already made up.
Don’t douche regularly, and if you continue to have issues with thrush/yeast, see your health professional for more comprehensive care. Something is going wrong that needs fixing, which may be deeper than just a vaginal overgrowth of yeast.
Why studies on douching with povidone-iodine are rare
There are ethical issues with prescribing douching, since douching is a well-known cause of vaginal dysbiosis. Completing a study that directly contradicts our understanding of the vaginal ecosystem is problematic for ethics committees, who approve scientific studies.
- Martino JL, Vermund SH. Vaginal douching: evidence for risks or benefits to women’s health. Epidemiol Rev. 2002;24(2):109-24.
- Onderdonk AB, Delaney ML, Hinkson PL, et al. Quantitative and qualitative effects of douche preparations on vaginal microflora. Obstet Gynecol. 1992;80:333–8.