This a personal story of my struggle with candida issues and the various natural yeast infection cures I’ve tried over the years.
Yeast infections are a problem that I’ve dealt with for almost 20 years, with varying degrees of stress, sadness, and success. Though admittedly it is a bit vulnerable to discuss such an intimate topic, I’ve learned a lot from my experiences and I think it’s important to share this story- maybe it will help you or someone you know heal themselves.
The following is my personal experience with natural yeast infection cures, and many of these were prescribed by a naturopathic professional. Always seek the advice of a naturopathic or allopathic doctor or licensed acupuncturist before beginning any healing regimen.
What is a Yeast Infection?
Here are some basics about yeast infections. Candida is a naturally occurring yeast in our body- one of many varieties, actually. Many women, and some men, will experience an overgrowth of candida in their lifetime. Candida albicans is the most common, and it’s found in warm moist areas like baby diapers, skin folds, and mouths. But most commonly we hear about candida when it manifests itself as a vaginal yeast infection.
An overgrowth of yeast can occur because of stress, medications (antibiotics are usually the main culprit), and/or hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle or during pregnancy. Generally, yeast infections are minor irritations that can be treated with any number of over-the-counter products. Monistat and others will kill the overgrowth in the vagina, and will quickly eliminate symptoms, and can be an immediate, welcome relief. For many women, a trip to the drugstore and application of over-the-counter medicine can that suffer from a yeast infection can simply visit the drugstore and feel better within a few days.
However, systemic candida overgrowth is a different issue entirely, and it manifests itself as repeated infections. In my early 20s I began to have yeast infections every month, timed with my ovulation. It was miserable: every month I would treat myself with one of the over-the-counter medications, and every month it would return. And each month I would experience an emotional breakdown, with tears of frustration and existential stress – I felt like my body was broken. And after years of this, I was at a loss about how to heal my body.
I saw a handful of doctors who shrugged their shoulders in exasperation: maybe it was the heat of Hawaii (to where I had recently moved), maybe it was my previous year on birth control pills, maybe I was just unlucky, maybe I had HIV. They had no solutions for this persistent problem, and could only offer the regular medicine, which had stopped working for me, and led only to recurring infections.
How I Found Natural Healing for My Persistent Yeast Infections
After multiple unsuccessful attempts to heal with conventional medicine, I turned to a naturopathic doctor for the first time – and it was the best choice I ever made. She prescribed probiotics, homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, Chinese herbs, essential fatty acids in the form of seed cycling, and a few other supplements to cleanse my body of the overgrowth and restore the healthy, natural fungal balance in my vagina.
I saw results immediately, and was shocked when one month, then two, then three passed without a yeast infection. It was a totally different outlook on life (and sex!). This was the beginning of my commitment to holistic health care- I’ve since learned that naturopathic medicine and acupuncture can help with everything from muscle pain, strep throat, hormonal imbalances, and digestion problems.
After seeing the naturopathic doctor a few times, it still took months to again feel totally confident in my body. Eventually I simply forgot what it was like to be sick. I had only a few infections over the next decade, and mostly at times of great physical or mental stress, and always when I invited in a new lover into my body. I had a wonderful topical, herbal remedy that I used to eliminate the symptoms and simply carried on with my life.
But recently I suffered a three-month long infection that stressed me out physically, financially, and nearly destroyed my new, most amazing relationship. After getting one minor infection, I treated myself with my favorite herbal remedy, increased my probiotics, and thought it would be finished. But it came back as soon as my period finished the following week. And then it came back again, and again – a total of four infections in three months.
With a tight budget and no health insurance, I was not able to seek out the same naturopathic doctor that had healed me years ago, so I did every type of home remedy imaginable: garlic suppositories, probiotics, tinctures, and herbs. After a few months of unsuccessful self-treatment, I finally sought out the help of an acupuncturist. Unlike conventional medicine, acupuncture works to slowly balance out your entire system, and this slow process meant that I actually suffered another infection during my treatment (unnoticed by me, but diagnosed by a gynecologist).
I treated this final infection with gentian violet, and old-school anti-fungal solution that turned everything purple but cleared the infection. During this time I also cleaned up my diet significantly: no alcohol, no sugar, no yeasted products, aloe vera supplements, and fewer whole grains. After one month of treatment, along with my super clean diet, the cycle finally broke. I’ve since incorporated sweets, breads, and alcohol back into my diet, but it took awhile. To this day, years later, I still have fear about having too much sugar in my diet.
Below I’ve shared some of the most helpful natural yeast infection treatments I tried throughout my years of struggling with this issue. If you also suffer from this, check out the links below and begin the healing process as soon as you can. Please comment below or email any questions you might have.
Topical Solutions for Yeast Infections
One of the products I used for years with success was Well-in-Hand’s Yeast Rescue. Wild-crafted calendula, chamomile, and other healing herbs come together in this magic elixir. Use this topically to relieve burning and itching, and soak a tampon and insert thrice daily to get your flora balanced. This is my most important remedy, since it addresses both internal and external symptoms. Also, it smells really good! I keep this on hand, always, to treat a sudden infection and to keep my vagina happy if she’s feeling itchy, irritated, or otherwise unbalanced.
During this last bout of infections, I used gentian violet successfully at the recommendation of a naturopath friend. This product is also used to treat breastfeeding mamas and babies with thrush, which is a yeast infection of the throat. Pour about a teaspoon of gentian violet on a tampon, and insert into your vagina; remove in the morning. I saw results immediately and painlessly, but continued for a few more nights just to make sure. Do use gloves- this stuff is VERY PURPLE and will stain your bathroom, fingers, bedding, and clothes.
The same probiotics that you take in your mouth can be used as a vaginal suppository. Choose probiotics with a vegetable-based split capsule, and one with a very high concentration of Lactobacillus acidophilus. This is the strain that is naturally present in the vagina, and supporting healthy repopulation with suppositories might just be all the treatment you need. My probiotic of choice is Udo’s Choice, Super 8 Hi-Potency Probiotic, with 45% Lactobacillus acidophilus. To use, break apart the capsule, and insert each one as high into the vagina as possible. Can be used morning and evening until you get relief.
My doctor friend also shared some boric acid suppositories for relief. This is a common and inexpensive way to treat an infection, but seek these out under the guidance of a doctor. Boric acid can work really well, but it can irritate sensitive tissues and should be used in combination with other products.
Native Remedies also has a trio of candida relief products that seem promising, though I have not used them. Update: On a recent trip I got a yeast infection, and treated with Vitanica’s Yeast Arrest suppositories and they worked amazingly well. No repeat infection!
The Best Supplements for Yeast Infections
Probiotics are your friends: healthy flora in your gut will help balance all the flora in your body, including the vagina. Find probiotics that are high in Lactobacillus; if you eat yogurt, miso, and other cultured products like sauerkraut and kimchi, keep it up. Lactobacillus is found in these products naturally, but it’s good to supplement too, especially if you are fighting an infection.
Other remedies that I was prescribed over the years include aloe vera juice (drink twice a day before meals) to help flush the system, ground flaxseeds and evening primrose oil (eat twice daily to help keep the menstrual cycle in balance: see this post on hormone balancing with seeds), and Chinese herbs under the guidance of a licensed acupuncturist. Other solutions like herbal suppositories are available, but best taken under the supervision of a naturopathic doctor.
Naturopathic Medicine and Acupuncture for Yeast Infections
If you have not yet visited a naturopathic doctor or acupuncturist before, I cannot recommend this enough. Not only can these healing modalities assist with yeast infections (they won’t even put you in stirrups!), holistic medicine can help with many other health issues too.
See the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians to learn more and to find a doctor in your area. Naturopathic doctors are medical doctors that can prescribe medicine and should be thought of as complementary to any other medical treatment you might be undergoing. To find an acupuncturist in your area, check out the American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine.
Though acupuncture is often thought of as a superficial treatment to help with muscle pains (which it can do), it can also help with systemic problems like yeast infections and more. I hope this list of natural cures for yeast infections has been helpful! Let us know in the comments what’s worked for you!
I hope these solutions help you and your vagina feel better! You are not alone, and there are solutions! Be well! 💕Andrea