Top 9 Cures We’ve Found For Chronic Yeast Infections

Disclaimer: This is definitely not anything remotely resembling actual medical advice. None of us are doctors or other medical professionals, we’re just people with vaginas who want to talk to each other about our health, our bodies, and ourselves. 


I bet you’re excited for this goop to leak out of you every morning for seven days

Living your normal life while battling a raging yeast infection is the actual worst. For starters, you can’t tell anybody what ails you and therefore must pretend like everything is fine even though absolutely nothing is fine. It’s also tough to figure out if the Monistat or Vagisil is making it itch more or itch less, and pondering this can easily consume all of your waking hours. Furthermore, everybody you do tell about your problem keeps telling you to eat yogurt and wear cotton underpants, AS IF YOU WEREN’T ALREADY.

This is one of those women’s health issues that seems like it would’ve been figured out by now if it was a men’s health issue. Talk to enough women and it sounds like nobody’s getting the same treatment or having the same experience, and all of our doctors just continue recommending more yogurt.

Plus, if you live in the U.S. and are on a low-income health plan, you’ll likely have to truck on over to the Planned Parenthood and wait for hours to get evaluated and receive your Diflucan every single time you get a yeast infection. For some reason, doctors who aren’t “your doctor” are hesitant to prescribe multiple doses or do any of it over the phone.

Here are some of the things that worked for us when we struggled with chronic recurring yeast infections. Monistat-3, unfortunately, is not among them.

1. Going off the birth control pill

None of us went off the pill to cure chronic yeast infections, but rather found that going off the pill for other reasons had the pleasant result of squashing the chronic yeast infections.

2. Garlic Cloves

“I cut a couple of slits in it and just shove it up there.”

“My friend made me put a garlic clove up my vag and gave me cranberry pills. I woke up smelling like breadsticks but ultimately felt better re: my yeast levels.”

Our favorite yeast infection website suggests the following:

To try it, find yourself a fresh clove of garlic and carefully peel all the papery skin off it. Next, make a little tampony thing by wrapping it in gauze or cheesecloth, tying the ends with unwaxed dental floss, and leaving a bit of string dangling so you’ll be able to pull it out afterward. Now, believe it or not, insert it into your vagina. Don’t worry about losing it up there, because of course it can’t get through your cervix. Leave it in for several hours at a time, like overnight, and be sure to remove it in the morning.

3. Boric Acid

“I had chronic yeast infections for years, I tried everything that’s ever been suggested in the history of the universe except this one thing that sounded super weird — boric acid. It was my very last resort and the only thing that worked. It’s a powder generally used to kill roaches, you get it at a drugstore, put it in some empty  “0” vegetable capsules, and stick two up there every night until it’s gone. And it’s cheap! No clue why this works when nothing else does, but bless it.”

4. A Lot Of Diflucan

“Fluconazole (diflucan) is the only thing that worked for me to clear my recurring issues – I had to take several doses in a row.”

“I always take Diflucan on top of whatever DIY methods I use. It gets worse for a day and then gets better, but it always eventually works, which is more than I can say for the other methods. But I think I did build tolerance to it over time.”

5. Acidophilus Paste

“When I had a chronic yeast infection it was tea tree oil for external itch and acidophilus paste directly crammed up there that fixed it finally. I dipped tampons in my acidophilus paste or diluted tee tree oil and that seemed to help.”

6. Two Diflucan + Seven Days of Terazol

“Doing seven days of a prescription yeast-killing vaginal cream was a living hell, of course, but doing that in conjunction with a diflucan on the first day and another three days later did clear things up for a significant stretch of time.”

7. Taking Preventative Measures

“Now if I feel even a bit itchy for any reason I take a diflucan, two cranberry pills, acidophilus and garlic pills. Plus vitamin D and two ibuprofen for good measure. Duh.”

“Boric acid can be used preventatively without any negative side effects, in my experience. If I think I feel one coming on, I just put in a capsule overnight.”

“If I’m being put on antibiotics for any reason I also ask for two Diflucan to be prescribed to me in tandem because I will get a yeast infection.”

“I only use non-scented soaps to wash down there, like Cetaphil.”

“I always get my diflucan written as one pill today, one pill in three days and one pill a week for six weeks which usually gets me like six months to a year yeast free. Which is a fucking blessing.”

“I convince my doctor here to give me larger scripts of stuff and she does but I have to tell her to. I just use the excuse that it costs me the same to fill one pill or 20, so can she give me 20? That seems to work more than the Hey I actually am not an idiot and probably can figure out how to take this medicine on my own route.”

8. Tea Tree Oil (for the itching)

“I know tea tree oil is supposedly too astringent for your sensitive bits but I totally still use it if I feel a little itchy and it fucking works every time.”

9. Probably Not The Candida Diet, But Giving Up Sugar Could Help

“I tried the candida diet! I mostly ignored everything it (just the Internet) said and just ate/drank no sugar for a few months and at first it got worse and then it got better.”

“I tried the candida diet for about a month. It was fucking awful.”

“I went basically raw vegan and it was the most miserable like… five days? And did nothing. Then I was just hungry and angry on top of having a yeast infection.”

Okay y’all, it’s your turn: what worked (or didn’t) for you?

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  1. It can also be an early sign of a pretty serious penicillin allergy. So if you get infections chronically and you’re taking any sort of drug ending in -cillin, get thee to a doctor and switch meds, and fast.

    • I tried this natural remedy ( ) and honestly it was the only thing that worked without fail.

  2. OH DAMN THIS IS SO NECESSARY. I have struggled with this for years on and off! It is so embarrassing and frustrating and nobody talks about it and doctors can’t seem to treat it, so then you think you’re the only one. Thank you for writing this!

    • RIGHT!! nobody talks about it and so many doctors are like, ‘why are you making a big deal out of this.’ oh idk BECAUSE IT IS THE ACTUAL WORST??

  3. why isn’t yogurt on this list? I get the eating it part maybe doesn’t help, but putting plain (sugarless) yogurt directly into to your vagina is basically the same as a acidophilus paste. and it’s cold, which feels very nice.

    • I have tried the yogurt and I did not find it to work. The acidophilus paste is a miracle, though. A MIRACLE, I TELL YOU.

    • ok you’re officially the first person i’ve ever heard of for whom yogurt worked! when we were all talking about this, one person said yogurt actually made matters worse, and everybody who tried it as a method (even using “yogurt popsicles” or whatever) — it didn’t work for.

      • For me, a yoghurt-soaked tampon works as well as prespcription remedies. (Other anecdata: Number of yeast infections in 3 years before getting menstrual cup: 17. After getting menstrual cup 15 years ago: zero.)

          • Tampons mostly, but a sanitary towel was also enough to set one off.
            (A friend of mine did her graduate research on engineering materials for tampons. She said a lot of substances used in tampons are very irritating on sensistive skin, so I’ve always figured that might be why.)

    • Yogurt works on me! I use it like a facial mask on my vulva. Vulva mask. A tampon soaked in plain yogurt might work as well? Granted, I’ve only had mild yeast infections.

    • yogurt totally works for me! i soak a tampon in it for a while (in the fridge). it’s been soothing and clears it up for me after about 3 days.

  4. Also I hate to say it but sometimes yeast infections can reoccur if you use the same dildo again as when you had one, even if you boil it. I had one yeast infection I kept getting everytime I used my silicone dildo and I was suspicious about it and one day a pet chewed it up and it was gone for good and that was that. BUT also recently I read a warning in my Diva cup packaging that a yeast infection can be transmitted through a divacup even with cleaning. SO beware! Use a condom if you are too poor to buy a new dildo and get a new Divacup if you had your period at the same time as a yeast infection!

    • TMI maybe but yeah once i got one from fucking a girl who had it turns out had a yeast infection and then without washing my hands i changed my tampon using the same hand that had just been inside her and TA-DA

    • “BUT also recently I read a warning in my Diva cup packaging that a yeast infection can be transmitted through a divacup even with cleaning.”

      Ahhh! AHHH! THIS MAKES SO MUCH SENSE. I always just thought that my period was throwing my lady bits out of whack and that was why I always get one right after my period.

      BRB, throwing away my Diva cup and buying a new one. Maybe this is the answer to all my yeasty problems!

      • If you are using any kind of soap/cleaning product on your cup, that could also be causing yeast infections. When I first started using a cup, I thought it was ok to use mild soaps when emptying/rising out the cup during my period. (In addition to boiling between periods.) After having yeast problems two cycles in a row, I stopped using any soaps on my cup and have not had issues with it since.

  5. Preventatively- coconut oil. That stuff is made for your vag. Moisturizer, anti- fungal & bacterial, lube, natural taste that kind of blends with pussy and tones down natural variations- lifesaver.

    • O.M.G. A nurse friend just suggested coconut oil as a lube. Last month I had a never ending UTI which meant never ending yeast infections due to the antibiotics and thanks to my unhappy urine and the yeast and the yeast treatment. …my vulva was the land of supreme irritation and itch. (Also I’ve developed a resistance to Diflucan, yes that’s a thing, and I’m stuck with the creams.) So I said Fuxk it, lube/moisturizer whatever, Imma try it. A little coconut oil on the vulva and she is sooooo much happier. It feels so nice I may just use it every day forever and ever.

    • wholeheartedly second the coconut oil! with a couple of drops of lavender and/or tea tree essential oil, it works well as treatment, too. sticking it in the fridge or freezer before applying adds extra cooling relief. :)

      • I’m using cloves water to help me with the pregnancy I’m 31 years old trying for a second but very hard to get pregnant can cloves help me

    • Coconut oil is not necessarily always the best depending on your ph. I used to be a die hard coconut oil user for my vag, until it started making things worse. That’s when I found that it can make your ph more acidic, making you more prone to imbalance.
      What I then found as an alternative was aloe. Safer and more neutral in ph than coconut oil.

  6. Contibuted to this list and very proud. Also, I had no idea so many people with vaginas have had chronic and/or recurring yeasty beasties! I feel less alone in the world.

  7. I used to get yeast infections fairly regularly and now I don’t. Hmm – I don’t think I’d realized that until now. That’s a good thing, but I’m not sure what made the difference.

    I started working on managing / reducing my stress several years ago and I’d like to believe that helped with the yeast infections, but I really don’t know. I’m also much, much more comfortable with my body and my sexuality and having sex than ever before – I’d like to believe that had a positive impact on my health, but it’s hard to say (and I don’t want to imply that everyone who gets yeast infections is uncomfortable with sex or their sexuality, because I don’t believe that, but I do believe that my specific issues could have impacted my health).

    According to my friend Google, yeast infections can be a symptom of perimenopause or menopause, but so far, I haven’t had a yeast infection since starting perimenopause a year and a half-ish ago. (I keep telling myself that perimenopause and menopause is normal and that I’ll be so happy to be post menopausal and feeling like a 10 year old girl all the time, but the hot flashes and night sweats are killing me right now).

    I have to leave this page now, because I’m getting sympathetic vaginal itching.

  8. Diflucan, but I second the yogurt (by mouth) as a preventative. But it has to be the Greek yogurt, with live cultures. I swear by Chobani’s culture mix. When I was on one particular birth control, I would get yeast infections constantly *unless* I was eating more than 8 oz of Greek yogurt a day, and then it was fine.

    I also once had one of those yeast infections in the corners of your mouth (angular cheilitis) and that one didn’t even get fixed permanently with Diflucan- the only thing that made it go away for good was Chobani.

    • I’ve used plain organic live culture yogurt that wasn’t Greek, and it worked well for me, too. One time I got an infection and the student health center was booked solid for 5 days, so I stocked up on plain yogurt and garlic and went DIY because I did not want to live with that all week. My garlic method was to dip a clove in olive oil to make it feel less intense, run a string through it with a sewing needle, and keep it in overnight like a tampon. I also saw recommendations to brew rosemary as a tea, let it cool, and apply it externally to relieve itching, which helped sensation-wise but didn’t clear up the infection on its own.

      By the time I made it to the health center I had no visible symptoms and the nurse told me there were only a few tiny strands of yeast visible when she looked at a sample with a microscope, so yay for yogurt, garlic, and rosemary!

  9. Wish I knew what to do as a new owner of a vag.

    <~~ Trans woman, post op.

    I have had, essentially since a month after my surgery, chronic infections. My doctor insisted at first that it was surgical, which I doubted, and yay I was right. I hate being right. Got her to FINALLY give me more vandazole after getting complications, and it went away almost immediately, but unfortunately left me with problems dilating, which also means cleaning things is harder.

    Unfortunately I'm not so sure that my digestive tract is quite so in harmony with my bits, so just eating yogurt might not help, and honestly, not even sure if it's a yeast infection anyway. I do love me some Fage yogurt though.

    Just tried a yeast infection treatment which helped dramatically, but not enough.

    I might talk to my doctor about getting a little crazy and going for the nuclear option. More vandazole, another round of yeast treatment, a systemic antibiotic, try some diflucan, and lots of yogurt and probiotic pills all in one go.

    I figure if I barely survive that, the little buggers have no chance! :)

    • Just wanted to say that despite complications plus having to argue with doctors, it’s super impressive that you come across as really positive! Fingers crossed you don’t have to go totally nuclear just yet.

      • Thanks! Yeah, I’m pretty ok. I mean, I’m here on Autostraddle, right? I suppose depth and the like isn’t really so necessary for gals like me. But still, that whole “unable to get a chimney sweep in there” thing kinda sucks.

        I was more bitter at my surgeon at first, but I do get where she was coming from. It was just a huge delay that cost me in the long run that didn’t need to happen. *shrug*

    • Thank you for commenting! I really hope you don’t mind me responding. It could be that you have a yeast infection and also vaginosis (bacterial infection) as a secondary (opportunistic) infection because the pH of your areas was affected. Vaginosis would need a separate treatment to target the bacteria as they will not be affected at all by Difocan and Terazol (both are anti-fungals which means they have no affect at all on bacteria — kind of like how anti-biotics have no affect on a virus infection).

      Maybe pro-biotics course before the nuclear option of a course of systemic antibiotics? Also maybe a second opinion if possible as your doc doesn’t inspire confidence from what you described.

      I don’t know enough about human physiology but I am a microbiologist and wonder if topical estrogen prescription would help?

      Also congratulations on your surgery; hope that’s ok to say too.

      • You did fine, Rey, thank you! :3

        That’s a possibility, but I think I might be better off yet just sort of “wiping the slate clean” as best I can, and trying to reestablish an entirely new colony, and hope for the best. At this point, it seems I have little to lose.

        My primary care doctor said the tests indicated nothing outside the norm for a female, but unfortunately, as I reminded her, what is normal for a natal female may not be normal for a trans gal. *shrug* As one surgeon, Dr. McGinn puts it, it’s “not a self-cleaning oven.”

    • I had my surgery a couple years ago and for a while had bacterial vaginosis 3-4 times per year. I noticed a bit of discomfort and a “fishy” odor – no itching. When I went to the doctor, nothing came up as “unusual” in the swab test results. I was prescribed Metrogel cream as a “just in case” and IT WORKED EVERY TIME. Two days of treatment and no more smell!! I’ve also found since I’ve gotten all the last lingering bit of granulation tissue removed/treated, I’ve had less issues — maybe once a year now? Hope this helps!

      • Thanks Leola. I’ll have to try to address this whenever I can make plans to get back out to see my surgeon again and have her address my issues.

  10. A few years ago I was getting YIs constantly and the one thing that helped was stopping all the treatments I was trying for awhile. I think maybe sometimes it wasn’t necessarily still infected, but all irritated from tea tree oil/etc. I take acidophilus every day and I think maybe my diet has gotten a little more balanced. I can’t really figure it out, but I am so glad. Diflucan didn’t do anything and one time I was prescribed some kind of cream which gave me hives on my face (no I didn’t put it on my face).

    • “(no I didn’t put it on my face)”

      LOL, sorry, that was pretty good. Had to laugh a bit. :)

      I do know my diet is crap. I mean, I mostly eat pretty good crap, as far as such things go, ie, Chipotle and Fresh & Co, and stuff like that, but I do eat more than I should, and I do also eat some junk food on the side. So, yeah. Maybe that’s part of the problem.

      Unfortunately in my case, I do know that I’ve got some pretty chronic infections, and yes, inflammation that comes from that.

      In your case, while tea tree oil is all the rage, I have to warn you that it’s actually VERY bad on your skin, and may be doing more harm than good. Most essential oils aren’t really all that good for you, especially on a regular basis.

      • Yeah, undiluted essential oils are really harsh on your skin. I can’t imagine putting tea tree oil on a mucous membrane, yikes…

        • It was diluted, but I had tried it once or twice over the course of several months along with other things (not at the same time), over the counter, yogurt, cream, everything. I should add that garlic (on the list) can be very irritating, too.


    • DIFLUCAN. Seriously, ask your doctor. My last doctor didn’t even bat an eyelash, just prescribed it any time I was on antibiotics of any kind.

      Also, check out the first comment on this article. I’m already allergic to penicillin, so I can’t corroborate this. But it’s certainly something to ask a doctor about, for sure!

      • Mindblown! I went up, and re-read the first comment under the article. The current meds I’m taking don’t end with cillin, but “cycline”. So I thought I was safe the first time I read… But then, the other meds that gave me an infection last year were Amoxycillin!

        Well NOW that’s what the queer community is made for. Pseudo-diagnosing each other’s antibiotic allergies!

        And as for asking for Diflucan to a doctor, well where I live, seeing a doc is so difficult, I already had trouble finding one to prescribe me the yeast-infection-inducing meds. ;) So, finding one to give me meds to fight the meds side effects? It’s an actual challenge. I’ll go if I reaaaaally can’t get rid of the infection.

        That said, my life is now forever changed! Thanks to you, super kind person!

        • Almost all antibiotics give me yeast issues. Antibiotics kill bacteria, and then the yeast takes over. It’s really common and happens to most(?) folks with vaginas. It doesn’t mean you’re allergic to antibiotics. If you were, you’d know it! Next time you get a script for antibiotics tell the doc to give you another for diflucan (fluconazole) too, I take it every time.

        • yup, antibiotics will trigger a YI EVERY TIME. i actually have a legit allergic reaction (red itchy bumpy rash on my entire body) to certain antibiotics (like the one that kills BV, which is fun), but most i can take just fine… except that i’ll get a yeast infection. like cee said, it’s pretty common because of how they work.

          if you can’t get your hands on diflucan, maybe some of the home remedies mentioned above would help. personally, boric acid is the first time in my life that a DIY/home remedy worked better than what i wanted to be prescribed, and it changed my whole attitude towards DIY/home remedies. it always seemed like well those must not be as strong or capable as a prescription! but nope, sometimes the cure is out there in things that have nothing to do with doctors.

          i also found out that i was allergic to something in the OTC yeast infection medications (e.g., monistat), i’d recommend against reaching for any of those, they can make matters worse — unless anybody here has a different experience with those that could help!

          • “yup, antibiotics will trigger a YI EVERY TIME”

            Weird… I’ve got shoddy health and a mad (read: deadly) allergy to ‘Cillins so I’ve been taking nuclear level antibiotics for years and have never once had a yeast infection.

            I think I’m going to go pray to the universe in thanks that its one health issue I don’t have.

        • Also a lot of my friends’ doctors will do over-the-phone prescriptions with diflucan when they’re on antibiotics! I’d try calling the same doctor, if you can—couldn’t hurt!

        • I don’t know if it helps you out, but I had a wicked reaction in the gut to doxicycline (however you spell it) once when I had to take it.

  12. Probiotic supplements might also help in conjunction with other treatments, especially if you got the infection from being on antibiotics. I got three doses of Diflucan and my doctor also recommended taking Florajen, which you can get without a prescription. As much as I love eating coconut yogurt and kimchi, I would have had to eat nothing but that non-stop to get the same amount of probiotics as a pill supplement can deliver.

  13. I didn’t know you could use cranberry pills for yeast infections. I used them for a UTI and they really helped,. I also cut down on sugar (I was drinking a lot of fruit juice at the time) which probably helped too.

  14. When I started working out more freqently, I got a lot of infections because I wasn’t changing out of my sweaty workout clothes quickly enough. So that’s a thing to keep in mind!

  15. AVOID PRODUCTS WITH GLYCERIN!!! If I had known that most popular/mainstream lubes, and most shaving gels/creams, contained glycerin (glycerol, etc.) I could have avoided so much discomfort!

    Ok so the Internet just told me that glycerin isn’t technically a sugar that yeast can feed on if it’s not digested, but whatever. My anecdata is that I’ve gotten yeast infections immediately after using products with those ingredients on my bits.

    As far as treatments, diflucan all the way. And ditto for getting a refill or two set up so if it’s persistent you can keep treating without going back to the doctor. I also try to not spend a ton of time in spandex and non-cotton materials but workout clothes are so comfy!

      • Yes! It is so helpful… I feel like anecdata gave rise to all the myths that the Lesbian Sex Survey has now debunked.

        (I usually use it when bitching to science friends about having to convince my dad that climate change isn’t over because he feels cold right now…)

    • Yes to this post. KY Jelly and all the other glycerin containing lubes out there, F them! I’ve educated both my pcp (female) and my urgent care doc (female) about glycerin containing lubes. They are the devil. I use a few different non glycerin lubes and a nurse friend just told me about coconut oil, of which I am now an avid fan !

    • Could this be the reason that the yogurt treatment (applying it not eating it) doesn’t always work? Some natural yoghurts seem to contain glyercine.

  16. Dude I always wondered if it was cool to wash my downstairs parts with cetaphil! Like it seeeeeemed like a good idea because it’s so innocuous… but I never asked a doctor because I was afraid they’d be like “are you crazy?” Also because I don’t really trust doctors, especially gynos.

    • FYI Cetaphil has 2 varieties of cleansers. The scented one would probably be aggravating down there.

      • i believe at lizz’s safer sex workship at camp which became “don’t-clean-your-vagina-with-that-101,” she specified that cetaphil can be acceptable but not the kind for your face.

        • Well, there’s two kinds for your face – the gentle cleanser and the oily-skin cleanser. It’s the latter that really, really shouldn’t go on your parts. ;)

        • yeah there’s like a “gentle skin cleanser” that does pretty good. i think you can also wash your face with it.

  17. No one’s mentioned this and it really might be the cause for a lot of people who don’t know it: lube that contains glycerine is a yeast infection vector because glycerine contains sugar which feeds the yeast and can tip it over into an infection!

    I figured this out, switched from cheapish lube to glycerine-free lube, and no more yeast infections! Lubes I have tried and not gotten YIs from: Astroglide Natural, Sliquid.

    Lubes that have ‘natural’ glycerine in them also are a problem, so if anyone’s reading this and is Aussie and thinks they could use that Sylk lube that’s made from kiwi fruit – nope, still a problem.

    I live in Australia and infuriatingly you can’t get Astroglide at the pharmacy/drugstore here, you have to go to either a sex shop or get it online. I found Sliquid at a health food store near me, thank god – it’s cheaper than at the sex shop or online.

      • True! But I don’t necessarily want to go to Newtown for lube when I can get the same kind, cheaper, at the health food shop in my suburb. Of course there’s plenty of other delicious and interesting reasons to go to Newtown, but I don’t always have the time or inclination.

        • That’s fair! Just making the comment in case anyone else is looking and doesn’t have a health shop nearby that carries it :)

  18. You can also have a yeast infection and be asymptomatic. Don’t be scared away from a pap test even if you know you don’t have HPV, because they’ll tell you and prescribe diflucan if you do have yeast.

    • hey! i work in a women’s health clinic and just wanted to butt in–yeast are a normal part of vaginal ~flora~ so if you’re not having symptoms of a yeast infection… you don’t have one. i suppose in theory you could have an asymptomatic overgrowth of yeast, but that’s unlikely and also, in that case, who cares if it’s not bugging you?

      also a pap test is a cancer screening only needed every 3 yrs if your last pap was normal, whether you have hpv or not. yeast can show up on them but it’s rare, and again, if you’re not having symptoms who cares.

      if you feel a yeast infection (or BV) coming on i cannot recommend boric acid or yeast arrest enough, it’s cheap, natural and you don’t need an rx or a speculum exam yay!

  19. Vitanica’s Yeast Arrest homeopathic vaginal suppositories (sold at most health food stores). LIFE CHANGING.

  20. I had a skin infection on my foot (my skin is sensitive – it began as a blister and turned into an infection) so my doctor prescribed me amoxicillin. No biggie, I was on penicillin a bunch in high school for reoccurring tonsillitis.

    I ended up with really bad diarrhea AND a yeast infection. My entire vulva anus region was sore. The doctor prescribed me Diflucan again, and I ended up having to buy one of the many yeast infection creams for 3 days to finally kick it to the curb.

  21. As a note about probiotics – the chance that any of those actually reach the vagina (or the intestines for that matter) is pretty much zero, besides the fact that both have microbiomes with hundreds of types of bacteria and probiotics only introduce 1-3 types, make probiotics confusing as a choice to me.

    I think it’ll be interesting to see if researchers look into vaginal microbiota imbalances (like with yeast infections/Candida or other bacterial infections) in a similar manner to intestinal imbalances. If fecal microbiota transplants have had so much success by introducing hundreds of bacterial types into the recipient, could vaginal microbiota transplants have a similar effect?

    I’d discourage using any sexual partners – they likely have the same imbalances but might not (or might) show symptoms. New test of friendship: but will they give you a sample of vaginal fluid?

    This post is brought to you by a someone actively studying microbiology, so I hope you enjoy the nerdiness.

    • I think the theory is that the probiotics will make their way into your gut and then prevent transmission of nasties from the anus to the vagina? That’s what I’ve always heard, anyway.

  22. What I learned from 2+ years of back-to-back YIs…

    -I kept myself sane by rinsing with freezing cold water many, many times a day and changing my underwear as often as I could get away with.
    -When my skin was really raw and painful I would use Aquaphor externally to reduce any chafing.
    -Single doses of Diflucan would clear an infection up for a few weeks for me, but it would come right back. When I did a more intensive series of doses on the recommendation of my doctor (a few in one week, and then once a month for awhile, I think) that cleared it up for longer.
    -If you use condoms, get unlubricated ones and use with lube only after reading the ingredients list very, very carefully and avoiding any irritants (glycerine for some, but trial-and-error is how I figured out what aggravated my skin)
    -If you think you want to do Monistat, just don’t. Or at least get the kind that works over many days instead of the quicker-acting kinds. I did the 3-day kind and got a CHEMICAL BURN all on and in me and had to sit with a frozen bag of peas between my legs for days. The gyno actually said “you poor thing” when she saw it.

    When my chronic infections were at their worst, a friend told me that receiving oral sex triggered one for her every single time, and I was terrified that was going to be true for me. Sure enough, when I took a break from oral sex for a few weeks, I felt WAY better. When I told my doctor she agreed it was possible that a particular person’s mouth chemistry could be triggering yeast for me (due to their diet, medication, or whatever). I never tried it, but I assume that using a dental dam and preventing any fluid contact would have helped also.

    Ultimately though, I kid you not, the day I started sleeping with women the infections cleared up and haven’t come back in years. Definitely felt like a sign and validated my choice haha.

    • You can also get thrush in your mouth so I suppose you could catch it from someone that way.

    • also if your partner has had beer that day, oral sex becomes a recipe for a yeast infection

  23. The struggle is SO real. On top of the usual yogurt/garlic/diflucan/unscented/cotton/probiotic rigamarole, I did the following:

    cutting out all sugars and simple carbs for 2 months (hard but SO effective for me), switching to the menstrual sponge and reusable cotton pads, changing cotton undies halfway through the day, and believe it or not, using a blow dryer on the cold setting to really dry myself before layering on underwear and pants. and, um, I went easy on that whole sex w multiple partners thing for a while.

    More than anything, boric. fucking. acid. You can make your own with powder, usually found in the cleaning aisle, and fat capsules you can buy online or off a pharmacist.

    On the plus side, my chronic YI saga really got me in touch with my witchy side…pretty empowering to cure your own self with the advice of other women/vagina-havers.

    • One thing worth mentioning is tbat boric acid and Borax (usually in the cleaning supply/laundry section of stores) are not the same thing. Borax cannot go into the vagina and would be dangerous and bad to my understanding. Boric acid, on the other hand, is an old school – but very effective – remedy for infections so I’ve been told by obgyns.

      • yes sometimes boric acid is harder to find than it should be (i just order it from amazon nowadays) and once bought the wrong kind. i figured out that it was the wrong kind before putting it inside me, praise norma

  24. I had recurrent infections for years and tried so many things. Ultimately what worked was getting in the habit of changing my (cotton. only.) underwear halfway through the day. Not a single infection for four years now – I am more than happy to wash twice as many panties for that.

  25. I take a capsule or two at the first sign of a supplement called FC-Cidal that i get from my homeopathic doctor. Just checked and its available on amazon. :)

  26. My ND prescribed me women’s probiotics, cruciferous vegetables, and ground flaxseed to help prevent my yeast infections. The goal is to maintain a healthy bacteria population that will keep candida from getting out of control.

  27. OK, i too have suffered this and it’s the worst. Agree with almost everything being said, including yogurt, garlic, tea tree oil (my favorite), and coconut oil. Pro-biotics orally or you put a capsule up there, but one made for your vag because they contain different strands of pro-biotics! but, there best thing i have done for prevention and treatment is:
    hydrogen peroxide.
    I know you think i’m crazy, but try it. buy 3% HP at the drugstore and a douche (but, never use a douche for anythiiiing else). fill it with warm water and a cap-full or two of HP (or a few drops of tea tree oil) and douche with it. i know it sounds weird, but it works! do it 2-3 times a day when you have an infection.
    When you stick yogurt up, the chemicals change and create hydrogen peroxide naturally which kills the yeast. so basically this is skipping the uncomfortable part of putting yogurt there.
    may the force be with you

  28. Going commando! I know people say to wear cotton underwear, but actually what cured mine was just wearing NO underwear at all. Air it out.

  29. After suffering from chronic BV followed EVERYTIME by a YI then rewind and repeat for like 2 years. I finally found femdophilis from Jarrow Formulas. At the first sign of some imbalance I take one by mouth and use one as a vaginal suppository overnight and usually that’s enough to completely clear up any issues I’m having.

    I discovered this after all the prescription treatments, then tea tree oil, garlic, yogurt, regular probiotics, and all the other DIY I could find on the internet/recommendations from friends.

  30. I got my first from a dose of antibiotics during a raging flu where I managed to get my period at the same time, because my body hated me.

    On team yogurt + OTC meds, but I’m trying boric acid next time.

  31. boric acid pills. two in to start, then one every night before bed for like 3-4 days. plus yogurt tampons for relief. these two things have always cleared up yeast infections for me.

    also, if i get one right before my period then my period literally cleans it all out and when it’s over i don’t have a yeast infection anymore.

      • i used to get them always near the end of my period and a doctor told me that my period and its hormones was probably triggering them, so I stopped having periods (by skipping a week of pills), which actually helped quite a bit. Interesting that for other people the opposite seems to be the case?

  32. I’ve only had a one YI and that was the result of the medication I took for unnecessarily treating BV. My body has always skewed a little on the side of bad bacteria, but it’s my norm and I’m not symptomatic. I was getting an IUD and being paranoid.

    I feel like if you’re getting chronic yeast infections I’d look at your diet. I eat mostly lean meats and veggies, with smaller portions of starch and some fruit in the morning. I’m pretty heavy on the yogurt, but that’s cause I’m a dairy queen, literally. I don’t think it’s the probiotics necessarily. I think it’s more about eating foods with hidden sugar.

    I also wear whatever underwear I want a mix of cotton and some synthetic. I am so thankful my vagina acts right, cause I could not give up half my underwear collection. Nope.

  33. in order to stop the yeast from infecting, you must stop them from flourishing. stop feeding the yeast. yeast love sugar (think about the yeast that ferment beer and wine). stop eating sugar or things that result in sugar (wheat and other grains), and you’ll eventually created an inhospitable environment for yeast.

  34. I SWEAR by the garlic thing, but it only works if I catch it really early. I cut notches in a clove of garlic, tie a string in the notches for easy retrieval purposes, and leave it up there for like eight hours at a time, at which point I take it out and replace it. I start the garlic treatment as soon as I notice that my vag is feeling at all off and/or my discharge starts to get that cottage cheese (EW) texture and it wards the infection off within a couple of days.

    • Also, thank you so much for this article, Autostraddle. It is actually SO RELIEVING to see that there are 80+ comments from fellow yeasty humans, and it makes me feel less shameful about my body. Woohoo! (and my condolences to all of you, yeast infections are the worst)

  35. I used to get yeastals and UTIs ALLLLLL the time. My cure? Lesbianism.

    Seriously. My vagina is full on allergic to penises. Surprisingly (or maybe not?), it took me a while to discover this. My vaginal issues were due to not being physically excited when it came to interacting with penises. (As Christina Aguilera might put it: “My brain is sayin’ let’s go, but my vagina’s sayin’ no, no”) Make sure your brain and your vagina are in full agreement with what’s going inside your lady hole. Because being any less than turned-on could fuck your shit up!

    • This comment is actually really transphobic. You can’t equate lesbianism with not liking penises.

      It’s very important that women are always open to the idea of a penis in their lives.

      • Ehhh… I don’t know so much that it’s transphobic outright. The point she was making was, I think, not being turned on by men.

        Anyway, I also don’t think it’s outright transphobic to say that you don’t want a penis attached to whoever it is you’re hooking up with, either. Some folks just don’t care for it, and I get that. Not being sexually interested in a MAAB trans person who has their factory equipment isn’t the same as completely rejecting trans people, or moreover, trans women in this case.

  36. I read all the comments, the ones that really stood out to me were those about (non-scented) cetaphil. I’m sure it’s a good product, but washing your private parts with soap is a big no no. Washing with water should be enough. Soap usually causes YI because it disturbs the pH balance. Even the ones specifically designed for this use!

    The lube causing YI has happened to me too, wasn’t sure about the connection though until I read the comments. Seems I’m not the only one. Using antibiotics is something I avoid if it isn’t necessary because of YI.

    • I suspect the Cetaphil thing depends on the person. My bits are WATER ONLY bits but ymmv.

  37. Does anyone know if the direct-application-of-yogurt thing works with soy/nut yogurt? I would prefer not to compromise my veganism, but only if veg yogurt doesn’t make matters worse.

    • Not certain that soy yoghurt wouldn’t work, but my understanding is that dairy yoghurt is used because of a specific bacteria that exists in both the vagina and lactose milk products – ‘Lactobacillus acidophilus’ (noting that this is just from a quick Google search).

      You’re probably better off trying one of the other recommended treatments/prescriptions, such as garlic or tea tree oil.

  38. Raw garlic has awesome antibacterial properties but can burn, especially leaving it in over night. be careful!

    • I received Molemen Natural Medicine also with guidelines on how to use them daily in order to heal from Yeast Infection of 2 years, To make the long Story Short, After using those med`s for 2 weeks I went back for a checkup in the hospital and I was confirmed YEAST INFECTION Negative, Today I have been cured totally of Yeast Infection it`s symptoms completely, It’s still a surprise to me because all hope was gone before I met this man. Today I am sharing my awesome experience and the magnificent wonders of Molemen Herbs. I will simply advise any sick patient of any disease or pains nor infections like HPV, COLD SORE, HSV2, BODY PAIN, WEAK ERECTION, and Genital Herpes virus to quickly reach out with Dr. Molemen on Facebook or his personal email, He is a Genius and Truthful man.
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  39. I used to get yeast infections all the time, and nothing much seemed to make a lasting difference. I’d take Canesten and the infection would go away, but then return after a few weeks. My doctor was like “LOL nothing can be done sucks to be you”. It was so shit and so expensive.

    Eventually a friend’s mum, who’s one of the top gynos around, suggested taking a (not too hot) bath with a cup of vinegar thrown in. Sounds totally benign and ineffective, but I swear it helps. Apparently it has something to do with restoring the pH balance? Anyway, if you do it for half an hour every day or two, it can help treat a yeast infection, or stop irritation becoming an infection. I haven’t had a single infection since having vinegar baths. THANK YOU VINEGAR YOU ARE SO CHEAP AND SAFE AND MAGICAL

    Bonus points for washing your sheets, towels, and underwear very VERY regularly in hot water, and going commando under a skirt or really loose pants whenever you can/feel comfortable. Let your skin breathe and it’ll love you back.

    Autostraddle please put a medical disclaimer in the beginning of this article.
    And I think it would be more advisable to just stop publishing this kind of article. A better idea would be advice to women living in various locations on how to get a queer friendly financially accessible doctor.

  41. I also was unaware that boiling a Divacup won’t necessarily kill yeast! My cup was the missing piece in an extremely frustrating puzzle of several months of YI’s in a row. After tossing the old cup and using disposable Softcups for one cycle while my latest infection cleared up, I haven’t had any more issues (*knock on wood*).

    My cup may also have been the culprit in starting this whole mess in the first place, because I, being sometimes too casual when it comes to the care of my vagina, was all like “well as long as this antibacterial soap is unscented I guess it’s probably fine to use to clean my cup”. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t, and either the soap residue or the silocone breaking down from contact with harsh cleansers definitely upset my internal balance.

    Also, yes, definitely consider your lube!!I switched from basic Astroglide (which had glycerin in it) to Sliquid H2O, unscented/unflavored/un-everything. At the suggestion of my gyno I also switched to non-latex condoms, which made a huge difference in how my skin feels–for me it looks like a latex allergy may have been part of the culprit?

    The biggest thing I did was buy about 30 pairs of cheap underwear, and changing them whenever they get damp/sweaty. Especially after exercise–I ditched my spandex workout shorts for looser, more breezy ones, and that has helped a ton.

  42. I suffered from recurrent “yeast infections” for two years… i’d advise to make sure it’s not cytolytic vaginosis or lactobacillosis (an overgrowth of the good stuff that has the same itchy symptoms, same day every month). some doctors say this doesn’t exist but when i followed the treatment (10 minute diluted baking soda sitz bath when symptomatic) i was cured of something i suffered with after monistat (found out i’m allergic to that the hard way), probiotics, 3 rx of clotrimazole, then 6 months of diflucan failed me…. so yeah get some baking soda OT Genasis style. these overgrowths are not tested for unless you ask for it and insurance may not cover special tests either so just try the sitz bath when you have symptoms since it’s cheap and you’ll know in minutes due to immediate relief! some people might have this+YI and need to do two treatments so do go to your Dr to be sure. hope this helps someone out there!

  43. This came up just at the right time. I was kinda ignoring some symptoms and hoping everything would work itself out, but this article popped up and made me figure stuff out and treat the yeast infection I had for so long without knowing!

  44. diflucan causes some people to ruin their kidneys and be forced on dialysis. my sis took it unconsciously for valley fever when she was in a coma.

  45. Yogurt alone is NOT strong enough to cure a yeast infection. Yogurts contain the same type of probiotics that keeps the vagina healthy, yet everyone woman I know needs something stronger that contains those same probiotics. If you want something natural (like i do) that works, go with the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse. It doesnt upset my stomach and does not have harmful chemicals in it.

  46. I have used the Lady Soma Candida Cleanse the last two times I have suffered with Candida. I have found this to be excellent at keeping it ‘under control’ even when i’ve had to take antibiotics, (unavoidable due to a dental infection). Also I didn’t suffer any dramatic unpleasant side effects which can very often be the case. Its easy as you only need to take 2 a day…it’s realistically priced and in my experience it is very effective.

  47. Hi ladies I’d like to share three things that I have not found mentioned here that, after years of trying to keep yeast infections at bay with yogurt/garlic/probiotics/creams etc, I have found to be the keys to keeping them away.

    First let me just say that garlic DOES deserve an honorable mention. The aroma alone is strong enough to stimulate nucleus death in yeast cells. That’s why it works so fantastically.

    Besides garlic, Another powerful anti fungal spice is OREGANO. Oregano oil is the focus of much research, it is effective in treating staph and MRSA. It is capable of crossing the blood/brain barrier and is selective when wiping out flora- going for the bad bacteria only. Taking one or two oregano oil capsules daily (try Oreganol) clears infections up for me in sometimes just one day. It’s amazing. Because of it’s ability to move across barriers in the body, it is super effective to just swallow and have it delivered systemically – wiping out systematic yeast overgrowth.

    Alkalizing your body is a BIG ONE here, girls. An acidic body will be a breeding ground for yeast. Do some googling to look into how to balance your body’s acid levels through diet. Dairy is not your vaginas friend. And why would it be? Your body did not evolve to require cow milk so it’s not surprising it has such adverse internal reactions. When I eat to alkalize my body – no yeast infections!

    ZINC SUPPLEMENTS!! Copper toxicity/copper bio unavailability is another key. Most of us do not get enough zinc and at the same time most of us absorb too much copper through tap water, pollutants, and diet. Zinc is necessary to draw copper out of the body’s “storage” and allow it to be used and eliminated. Without zinc your copper is “stuck” and unavailable to the body. Why does this matter? Because circulating COPPER is the body’s way of killing off infections. Once I took a 50mg zinc capsule for two days and everything cleared up immediately.

    But don’t take my word for it – get to googling! Copper toxicity, wild oregano oil, alkaline diets

    • but I’ve also read that it will also kill off the good bacteria.cos if it’s not a med,then it’s not designed to know the difference between good or bad, since to it, there’s no good or bad. so might want to take probiotics with it just to be safe.

  48. yeast infection + I’ve been trying to finish a paper for finals for 3 days + I think holding my hot laptop on my lap for hours on end is maybe making it worse? = WHAT FRESH HELL IS THIS

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  54. Chronic yeast infections can be a frustrating and uncomfortable experience. If you’re looking to find relief, consider making some dietary and lifestyle changes, such as avoiding sugar and refined carbohydrates, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and practicing good hygiene.
    Read more : how i cured my chronic yeast infection

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