Raw plain yogurt contains certain “good” bacteria that can be useful for treating various yeast infections. Your digestive system and vagina naturally contain amounts of yeast and bacteria. However, vaginal yeast infections can occur when the delicate balance of bacteria is disrupted and allows yeast to overgrow. Also, yeast infections can affect your mouth, skin, and become life-threatening if they affect your bloodstream.
Yeast infections can cause symptoms like a white, thick vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese. Many women suffer from a vaginal yeast infection which causes itching in the vulva, burning when urinating, and swollen red labia.
The main cause of vaginal yeast infections (or, vaginal candidiasis) is an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans. The overgrowth of yeast in your vulva can happen if you have a weakened immune system, have been taking antibiotics, use oral contraceptives, or are pregnant. Consuming yogurt or applying it to your vagina can help to reduce the symptoms of candidiasis because it prevents the fungi from multiplying and soothes irritation.
This article looks at ways you can use yogurt as a natural home remedy for yeast infections. You will find out about the different causes and symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection and how you can make your own antifungal treatment for candidiasis using yogurt and other ingredients.
What is a Yeast Infection (Candidiasis)?
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that your vagina contains various strains of bacteria and yeast, including Candida. The Lactobacillus strains of bacteria keep yeast at bay and don’t allow the number of fungi to increase. A yeast infection happens when certain conditions disrupt the balance of bacteria and affect your vaginal health.1
According to Dr. Melissa Conrad Stöppler on MedicineNet, most yeast infections in the vagina are caused by Candida albicans and can affect up to 75% of women, although candidiasis can also affect men.2
Dr. Stöppler says that keeping the vaginal area as dry as possible and consuming foods with probiotics are some ways to prevent yeast infections developing.
Causes and Symptoms of Yeast Infection
Usually, our bodies and immune system keep the balance of bacteria in check and don’t allow fungus to grow and cause irritation in our genitals. If for some reason, there are not enough bacteria in your digestive system and vaginal areas, yeast infections can become a problem and cause redness and irritation in the affected area.
Causes of yeast infection
One common cause of a vaginal yeast infection is being on a course of antibiotics. Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that antibiotics also kill off “good” bacteria from your system. This decreases Lactobacillus bacteria in your vagina which protect it from yeast multiplying. When yeast invades the sensitive tissue in your vagina, you are left with irritation of the vagina.1
That is why after a course of antibiotics, you should always take probiotics or consume live yogurt to help restore normal intestinal flora.
Dr. Kathleen Romito on WebMD says that another cause of candidiasis is an imbalance in your hormone levels. Fluctuations in hormones can be caused by too much estrogen, pregnancy, using oral contraceptives, or your menstrual cycle. In fact, you may notice more symptoms of candidiasis a week before your menstrual period.3
Also, diabetes, being overweight, or having a suppressed immune system can all put you at greater risk of developing a yeast infection and candidiasis.
Symptoms of yeast infection
Dr. Kathleen Romito says that vaginal yeast infections usually cause severe itching in and around the genitals, swelling around the vaginal lips (labia), and a type of thick white discharge that is clumpy. Also, urinating and having sexual intercourse will usually be painful because of the inflammation in the vagina.
Unlike white discharge from a bacterial vaginal infection, candidiasis doesn’t produce a discharge with a fishy or strong odor.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that severe cases of vaginal yeast infections could cause symptoms like swelling and intense itchiness that cause tears or sores around the genitals.
Which Type of Yogurt is Beneficial for Treating Yeast Infections
Why is yogurt an excellent home remedy to get rid of the discomfort that yeast infections cause? Doctors from WebMD say that strains of Lactobacillus bacteria are often used to ferment milk to make yogurt. Consuming yogurt containing live bacteria can help to restore the normal bacteria balance in the body and treat vaginal yeast infections.5
Therefore, the type of yogurt to use for yeast infections should be plain, natural yogurt without anything like sugar or flavorings added. You should also look for yogurt containing Lactobacillus strains of bacteria. Plain Greek yogurt is also suitable for treating vaginal yeast infection and has the same benefits as regular yogurt.
Probiotic Yogurt and Yeast Infections – The Studies
Many scientific studies into the therapeutic use of yogurt for treating and preventing yeast infections have shown positive results. In fact, one excellent reason to use yogurt for candidiasis is that your body won’t build up resistance to this treatment method.
Study #1: probiotic yogurt for Candida
A study published in the journal Frontiers in Microbiology found that many foods containing probiotics are useful in treating yeast infections. Researchers discovered that probiotic foods including yogurt help to restore normal vaginal microbiota. Various strains of Lactobacillus bacteria have proven anti- Candida and antibacterial activities.6
In the study, researchers also found that consuming probiotic foods and applying raw natural yogurt to the vagina had antifungal activity and helped to restore normal flora to the genital area.
Study #2: probiotic yogurt to boost the immune system
It seems that probiotics also have an immune-boosting effect and can help fight yeast infection in the vagina or other areas of the body.
The journal Food Research International published a study showing how probiotic yogurt boosts the immune system. In clinical trials, subjects that received a probiotic yogurt showed more signs of a stronger immune system after 14 days. It was also found that regularly consuming probiotic yogurt helps the body deal with stress better and improves symptoms of gastrointestinal upset.7
Study #3: probiotics to prevent Candida vaginitis
Many probiotics contain Lactobacillus strains of bacteria and these have a positive effect on preventing candidiasis.
For example, a study from 2014 found that some probiotic strains can help restore vaginal flora and prevent Candida albicans infecting the genitals. One group of women who had yeast infections were treated with a cream containing probiotics. At the end of 4 weeks, the women had an increase of “good” bacteria in their vagina and almost no symptoms of candidiasis. The probiotic application was just as effective as clotrimazole – a popular antifungal treatment for Candida infections.8
The researchers concluded that the Lactobacillus plantarum strain helped to reduce vaginal discomfort and prevent a recurrence of Candida vaginitis.
Study #4: probiotics to prevent vaginal infections
The journal BMC Women’s Health reported that supplementing a diet with products containing Lactobacillus probiotic can help prevent a recurrence of vaginal infections. For example, women who had been treated for bacterial vaginosis (BV) were given probiotic supplements to consume. It was found that the probiotics helped to significantly reduce the frequency of BV over a 6-month period.9
Yogurt for yeast infection – the conclusion
It can be seen from the above studies, that natural yogurt containing probiotics can help improve vaginal health. However, some scientists say that other studies have proven to be inconclusive. Regarding this, the Journal of Clinical Pathology commented that the particular strain of Lactobacillus can have an effect on vaginal microbial balance when treating vaginal disorders.
In conclusion, researchers stated that products containing Lactobacilli can have an important role in protecting the vagina from Candida albicans fungus colonization.10
How to Use Yogurt for Yeast Infection
It is very easy to use yogurt to treat a yeast infection and soothe the discomfort it causes. Apart from being full of healthy bacteria that can destroy yeast infections, cooled yogurt helps to reduce itching, gets rid of irritation, and lessens swelling of the vulva.
To help get instant relief from the discomfort a yeast infection causes, insert a tampon soaked in yogurt into your vagina. The tampon will also help the beneficial bacteria in raw yogurt to kill off vaginal fungal infections.
How to use:
To treat a yeast infection using yogurt and a tampon, this is what you should do:
- Take some natural, probiotic yogurt from the refrigerator and soak a non-scented tampon in it.
- Insert the tampon into your vagina and leave for 2 hours to fight the fungal infection.
- Rinse the yogurt off and thoroughly dry your genitalia.
- Repeat the process 2 times a day until there is no more itchiness, redness, and white discharge from your vagina.
Apply yogurt externally
You can also apply plain yogurt to your vulva to help reduce swelling and itching around your genitals.
How to use:
To apply yogurt externally to soothe a yeast infection, you should do the following:
- Use a clean cloth or clean fingers to apply cooled yogurt to the affected area on your vagina.
- Leave the yogurt on for around one hour to get relief from itchiness and irritation.
- Rinse off with cool water and dry thoroughly.
- Repeat 3 times a day for a least a week until you start to see an improvement in your symptoms.
Yogurt and honey anti- Candida topical treatment
You can also mix yogurt with honey to make your own natural anti- Candida vaginal cream. As well as being a soothing agent, honey is also full of antifungal properties that can eliminate yeast infections.
Research into the antimicrobial properties of raw honey has found that it also kills off Candida infections in the mouth and vagina. In fact, studies have shown that the yeast-killing effect of honey also eliminates Candida infections that are resistant to traditional antifungals. The good news is that honey doesn’t destroy Lactobacillus bacteria strains that are needed to fight yeast infections.11
The Global Journal of Health Science reported that a mixture of yogurt and honey can be made into an antifungal vaginal cream. In fact, using honey and yogurt for candidiasis was just as effective as clotrimazole – a popular pharmaceutical candida drug. The researchers concluded that a mixture of honey and yogurt can be recommended as a natural remedy for Candida vaginal infection.12
How to use:
Here is how to use yogurt and honey together to get rid of vaginal candidiasis and thrush:
- Mix together equal amounts of honey and yogurt to make a topical application.
- Dip a tampon in the natural remedy and insert into your vagina.
- Leave for 1-2 hours to help reduce the number of fungi causing your vaginal itch and discomfort.
- Rinse your genitals and dry thoroughly.
- Repeat 2 times a day and continue using until all symptoms of the yeast infection have gone.
Yogurt and ginger for yeast infection
A study published in the Journal of Dental Sciences and Research found that ginger extracts fight Candida albicans infections. The antifungal activity is due to components in ginger called gingerol and shagelol. The researchers concluded that ginger extracts could be incorporated into topical antifungal therapies.17
How to use:
You can use ginger and yogurt to help treat a yeast infection by consuming it or by using it as a topical application. To make the ginger and yogurt paste, this is what you should do:
- Grate a 1-inch piece of ginger.
- Mix with one cup of plain raw yogurt.
- Consume the ginger and yogurt mixture 2 times a day to help increase your body’s immune response to the fungal infection.
You can also use the mixture to apply to your genitals to reduce itching and kill off Candida vaginal infections.
Consume more yogurt to fight yeast infections
Consuming more yogurt can help you fight against yeast infections. As the studies mentioned in this article have shown, plain yogurt that contains strains of Lactobacillus bacteria can have a beneficial effect on your immune system and boost the number of fungus-fighting bacteria in your body.
The journal Archives of Family Medicine published a small study showing that daily consumption of 150 ml of yogurt enriched with live Lactobacillus acidophilus helped to reduce recurring bouts of Candida vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis.13
How to use:
To use yogurt for preventing yeast infections and boosting the effectiveness of other Candida treatments, this is what you should do:
- Consume 1/2 cup of plain yogurt once or twice a day.
- Keep doing this while you are treating the yeast infection with home remedies to boost their effectiveness.
Yogurt and garlic for yeast infections
Another great natural remedy to get rid of a vaginal yeast overgrowth at home is to use the antifungal properties of garlic and yogurt together. Garlic contains an antimicrobial compound allicin which can help to greatly reduce the symptoms of candidiasis.
The journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy reported that fresh garlic has antifungal activity against Candida albicans. When applied to affected tissue, garlic prevented yeast infections from sticking to and infecting the tissue.14
How to use:
You can help to get rid of a yeast infection naturally by applying garlic and yogurt to your vagina or by ingesting it. This is what you should do:
- Peel and crush 2-3 cloves of garlic and allow to stand for 10 minutes (this allows the allicin to form).
- Mix with one cup of plain yogurt.
- Use a tampon to apply the garlic and yogurt remedy to your vagina to help destroy Candida.
- Leave for 1 hour and then rinse off.
- Apply 2 times a day until all signs of candidiasis have gone completely.
Alternatively, you can consume the yogurt and garlic remedy 2 times a day to kill off Candida infections internally.
Probiotic supplements for yeast infections
If you don’t like eating natural yogurt to get rid of your yeast infection, you can try probiotic supplements that contain Lactobacillus strains – the same type of bacteria that is in “live” yogurt.
The journal Microbes and Infection reported that women who took probiotic supplements saw a reduction in their symptoms of candidiasis. The women in the trial experienced less vaginal discomfort and discharge.15
Other Natural Remedies for Yeast Infections
If you are fighting a yeast infection, there are some other natural home remedies apart from yogurt that you can use.
For example, in my article on how to use coconut oil for a yeast infection, you can find out how to make an antifungal coconut oil ointment. You can also read how antifungal tea tree oil naturally boosts the power of coconut oil in treating candidiasis.
Also, the acidic properties of apple cider vinegar are a powerful weapon against yeast and Candida fungi. To get rid of yeast infections naturally, you can take apple cider vinegar internally. Or, adding apple cider vinegar to your bath will help to reduce vaginal yeast and relieve itching naturally. You can find detailed instructions in my article on how to use apple cider vinegar for yeast infection.
In my article on how to treat yeast infection naturally you can also find how diet and other natural methods such as boric acid suppositories can treat effectively women with chronic yeast infections.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections
Although most women suffer from a yeast infection at some point in their life, there are many steps that you can take to minimize your risk of infection.
The Office on Women’s Health recommends the following ways to prevent a yeast infection from developing:15
- Wear cotton underwear to try to keep your genital area as dry as possible.
- Change out of wet clothes (like swimsuits or workout clothes) as soon as possible.
- Don’t use scented feminine products.
- Change panty liners and tampons often.
- After using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back.
- Keep your blood sugar levels under control if you have diabetes.
- Eat 1/2 to 1 cup of “live” yogurt daily or take probiotic supplements that have Lactobacillus acidophilus
Read my other related articles:
- 9 Reasons To Take Probiotics And Why It’s So Good For You
- Foods That Improve Your Vaginal Health
- The Top 9 Home Remedies for Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
- MayoClinic. Yeast infection (vaginal)
- MedicineNet. Yeast infection (in women and men).
- WebMD. Vaginal yeast infections – cause.
- MayoClinic. Yeast infection – symptoms.
- WebMD. Yogurt.
- Front Microbiol. 2017; 8: 166.
- Food Res Int. 2013 Nov; 54(1):118-124.
- Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2014 Nov;182:136-9.
- BMC Womens Health. 2008 Jan 15;8:3.
- J Clin Pathol. 2016 Mar; 69(3): 187–203.
- Adv Biomed Res. 2013; 2: 57.
- Glob J Health Sci. 2015 Nov; 7(6): 108–116.
- Arch Fam Med. 1996 Nov-Dec;5(10):593-6.
- Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2005 Jan; 49(1): 473.
- Microbes Infect. 2010 Sep;12(10):691-9.
- WomensHealth. Vaginal yeast infections.
- Antifungal Activity of Ginger Extract on Candida Albicans.
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