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Recurrent yeast infections are a common problem, especially among women of childbearing age. Thankfully, there are preventative steps you can take to avoid yeast infections, as well as at-home remedies you can use to treat a mild yeast infection.
What Is a Yeast Infection?
Yeast infections are fungal infections that occur when yeast (candida) grows out of control. While yeast occurs naturally in the vagina, high levels of yeast can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms. Common symptoms of a yeast infection include itching, burning, redness, pain during intercourse, and a white, clumpy discharge.
Yeast infections can occur due to changes in your cycle, the use of antibiotics, the introduction of new bacteria (such as through sex with a new partner), pregnancy etc.
As the saying goes, prevention is the best medicine. There are a number of ways that you can help prevent yeast infections, and most are very easy to do.
Avoid douching, scented sprays, or leaving tampons in for an extended time. If you’re prone to yeast infections, we recommend using 100% cotton pads/tampons, as cotton is more breathable and lowers the likelihood of developing a yeast infection. Seventh Generation makes good quality cotton feminine hygiene products, such as these tampons.
Make sure to thoroughly dry the vaginal area after bathing, as prolonged dampness increases the risk of bacteria overgrowth
Wear cotton underwear for breathability
Take a high-quality probiotic daily. We recommend SageMED’s Ultra Biotic (a high-quality shelf stable option available at our clinic) or Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete
Reducing your sugar intake can also help prevent yeast infections, as yeast feeds on sugar.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a natural anti-fungal, and can be a valuable tool to help resolve yeast infections. We recommend taking an apple cider vinegar bath, adding 2 cups of ACV and soaking for 15-20 minutes.
Boric acid suppositories are another highly effective at-home treatment for vaginal yeast infections. Per the CDC, fill a gelatin capsule with 600mg boric acid and insert vaginally once daily for two weeks.
If the symptoms of your yeast infection are very mild or don’t bother you, you can also wait for your vagina to naturally restore its pH. As long as the infection is not severe, the vagina will naturally rebalance its pH levels, but it may take 7-14 days.
If your symptoms persist or worsen, we recommend that you see your physician, as it may be time to obtain medication to help treat your yeast infection.