It's summertime! 'Tis the season for pool parties, roof drinking, and finding natural remedies for the yeast infection you're almost guaranteed to have the pleasure of enduring. With the high temperatures and humidity, it can be hard to be a lady. Not only are most of us sweating off our makeup and clogging up our pores, we've also got that long-standing social pressure to not be sweaty and smelly even in 90 degree heat. If that's not enough, having a vagina alone can be a huge task in the summer, since the high humidity can often bring on a bout of a dreaded, painful yeast infection. Candida grows naturally in our bodies and for the most part, our bodies produce bacteria that helps fight fungal infections. Candida grows in the intestinal tract and causes yeast infections — and excuse my French, but they are painful as AF. They cause an insufferable amount of itching and seem to have impeccable timing, a sudden itchy sensation appearing while you are in the midst of a presentation? Yup, been there.
Monistat has been a long-standing warrior in getting rid of the yeast for decades, but I've found that if you've got that itch and you couldn't resist, the chemical cream can be incredibly painful and cause additional irritation. There is a reason the label says to apply right before bed: When you lay down the medicine can reach the site instantly and more importantly, the cream is less likely to leak out and cause burning on broken irritated skin.
I once bought Monistat 7, a pregnancy test, and tampons all in one purchase; my friendly pharmacist at the Duane Reede that I saw weekly, gave me a pitied look. "You've got too much goin on, mami," she said. She was correct. To be fair to summer, humidity isn't the only cause of these absurd infections. A friend of mine started the summer with a nasty head cold and on her second day of antibiotics, just as she was starting to feel more human, the yeast got the best of her. On birth control, I had monthly yeast infections with my period, likely because your immune system is slightly weaker during your time of month. Studies have shown that added estrogen can encourage the growth of yeast in our bodies. Congratulations for having responsible sex; here's a yeast infection as a reward.
Although, at the moment, there are no scientific studies that prove these natural remedies will actually reduce the amount of bacteria, I can personally attest to their abilities to relieve the itch at the very least. Since they're all natural, you don't run much of a risk of a nasty reaction, but always check with your doctor before trying at-home remedies.
You don't need a pharmacy or a prescription to get serious with this medicine. Garlic is a famous anti-fungal and antiseptic with some serious antiviral properties; the yeast will not stand a chance. Use one peeled garlic clove, get a decent size because you will be inserting a single clove directly into your vag. You'll notice some serious relief in about an hour. Keep this in for a few hours; don't be scared, it's not going to hurt you if you forget about it. The reason size matters? You'll need to retrieve that eventually and you certainly don't want to call for back-up because you can't get a garlic clove out of your vagina.
Here's an age old trick: Dip a tampon in plain, unsweetened yogurt, and insert that bad boy directly in your vagina to soothe itching and rid the yeast infection on the quick. The yogurt is packed with probiotics and bacteria that will treat the infection. Adding more yogurt to your daily diet helps too.
Surprise, surprise: Coconut oil can relieve that itchy, painful yeast infection on top of doing everything else in the world. This natural remedy takes a little bit longer than some of the others, but drinking coconut milk in addition to applying topically will get you up to snuff even quicker. Apply this essential oil on the outside of your vagina a few times a day until symptoms disappear.
4. Castor Oil
Castor oil is one of the most versatile oils out there. I recommend you eat about a teaspoon daily and apply the oil topically on the fungal infection. Personally, I loathe the taste of castor oil, but find that the antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral elements make it worth the cringing. Pop it in the fridge for about 20 minutes before you apply for an extra soothing cooling effect.
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