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I have a low immune system so I'm prone to a lot of yeast infections. What are some some DIY/home remedies for treating yeast infections? I know that yogurt is pretty effective, and I've heard that garlic, basil leaves, and cranberries are as well -- in addition to keeping it try and cool (applying cool compressing and not wearing restrictive clothing).

But what about baking soda or hydrogen peroxide washes in the infected area, e.g. vagina? Are these effective? I've heard mixed reviews and am not sure whether or not it will irritate it and make it worse? Would the hydrogen peroxide sting?

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    Hi! Can you give some links to the reviews suggesting that yogurt, garlic, basil leaves, cranberries, hydrogen peroxide and baking soda are effective against yeast infection (as you seem to suggest in your question I've heard mixed reviews)? This would probably help in providing an accurate answer. And as a side note: have you considered seeing your GP (or gynaecologist if it is the vagina)? Why only home remedies and not drugs? Best wishes – S.Victor Sep 14 '16 at 7:31
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    @S.Victor, I don't know that hydrogen peroxide & baking soda are effective at all. Hence, my question. I've heard, literally heard, about it from several friends so unfortunately I do not have a source. As for your drug vs. home treatment comment, who said I wasn't using drugs? And the question was not "what is the best treatment" anyway - there could be a many reasons why supplemental home remedies would be sought out: maybe I don't have insurance, I'm traveling abroad, the pharmacy is closed, etc, but that's besides the point. I just want to know if hydrogen peroxide & baking soda work – Pills N Pillows Sep 14 '16 at 18:38
  • @S.Victor, if you just google yogurt and yeast infections -- you'll get a million listings. Yogurt is a common knowledge remedy when it comes to yeast infections. I hadn't heard of the garlic and basil and cranberry bits, but sure enough, they are listed as common remedies as well: everydayhealth.com/yeast-infection/guide/treatments/… – Butterfly and Bones Sep 14 '16 at 18:49
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    Actually my point was that it would be nice to provide some links in your question which suggest possible effects of these substances on candidasis. As I said, this helps providing an accurate answer (in order to understand the website's arguments). Finally, I was asking about drugs because this is currently the most evidence based approach in the treatment of candidasis. That said, I have provided an answer below for vulvovaginal candidasis (as I understood you asked this question for this indication in particular). Hope this brought some clarifications. BW – S.Victor Sep 14 '16 at 20:30
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One systematic review (1) conducted in 2003 examined the efficacy of several complementary and alternative therapies (including douching with sodium bicarbonate) for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis

Here an extract of their abstract:

Inconsistencies in definition of vaginitis, type of intervention, control groups, and outcomes prevented performance of a meta-analysis, and paucity of high-quality studies made ranking by evidence-based scales unsuitable. Lactobacillus recolonization (via yogurt or capsules) shows promise for the treatment of both yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis with little potential for harm. Boric acid can be recommended to women with recurrent vulvovaginal Candidal infections who are resistant to conventional therapies, but can occasionally cause vaginal burning. Because of associated risks in the absence of well-documented clinical benefits, douching remains a practice that should not be recommended for the treatment of vaginitis. Finally, tea tree oil and garlic show some in vitro potential for the treatment of vaginitis, but the lack of in vivo studies preclude their recommendation to patients for the time-being.

The second (2) was conducted in 2009 and examined the efficacy of probiotics (incl lactobacilli) for the prevention or treatment of three major urogenital infections: bacterial vaginosis, vulvovaginal candidiasis, and urinary tract infection.

Here the conclusion:

Overall, lactobacilli were beneficial for the treatment of patients with bacterial vaginosis. No clear benefit was seen for candidiasis or urinary tract infection. Studies were heterogeneous, with some limited by a small population size. In conclusion, the use of certain lactobacillus strains such as L. rhamnosus GR-1 and L. reuteri for prevention and treatment of recurrent urogenital infection is promising, especially for recurrent bacterial vaginosis

So to summarise, data suggests that probiotics (yoghurts with lacotbacillus) might be useful but larger studies are needed. Concerning douching with baking soda (ie sodium bicarbonate) or the use of hydroxide peroxide, evidence is sparse and their use is currently not recommended.

Here the summary of recommendations on UpToDate (a resource for health professionals)

There is no evidence from randomized trials that garlic, tea tree oil, yogurt (or other products containing live Lactobacillus species), or douching is effective for treatment or prevention of vulvovaginal candidiasis due to Candida albicans.

As a side note, here an extensive review on the use on the risk of benefits of vaginal douching for women’s health. Martino JL, Vermund SH. Vaginal Douching: Evidence for Risks or Benefits to Women’s Health. Epidemiologic reviews. 2002;24(2):109-124.

Sources:

(1) Van Kessel et al.Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review. Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003 May;58(5):351-8.

(2) Abad et al. The role of lactobacillus probiotics in the treatment or prevention of urogenital infections--a systematic review. J Chemother. 2009 Jun;21(3):243-52.

Sobel. Candida vulvovaginitis. Uptodate.com. August 2016

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