Your vagina is self-cleaning, but sometimes the mechanics get thrown off. A little too much sugar, super vigorous sex or nylon panties might be enough to throw a wrench in the whole process and give you the itchy business — or a pre-funk that warns that “something wicked this way comes.”
We’re not doctors, but these simple, holistic remedies have helped us significantly in our time of need:
You may not love garlic, but a garlic clove in the vagina can level out a bacterial infection and is a go-to for several of us at WYV. Garlic kills yeast — any baker would tell you to avoid putting garlic into your bread before it has risen. Lucky for us, it is easy to procure and has no side effects, unlike antibiotics. You have to be proactive, though, and pop a peeled clove in there as soon as something seems to be off (a tickle, slight itch) in order for it to work most effectively.
How do you use the garlic? Simply remove its skin and place the clove — in its entirety — inside your vagina before you go to bed. Toss it in the toilet or trash the next morning, but beware that your discharge may be a bit watery. If that doesn’t resolve things in one go, repeat the next night. If you caught it at the absolute beginning, one night should be sufficient to kill off the bacteria or fungus. If a whole clove did not work the first night, put a couple of thin slashes into another clove the next night to let the juices out a bit. It may burn slightly, but it will “up the dose” without having to use medication.
2. Vagina Steam
V-Steams, vajacials, or whatever you want to call them, come from the Korean tradition of chai-yok, a vagina steam bath technique that is most frequently used after menstruation. The key is mugwort leaves and buds, boiled, steamed and applied to the perineum.
“It’s been around for 600 years in Korea, but it’s new to us in the west. Traditional Korean spas have always offered chai-yok, and Korean women get it done regularly,” explained Nikki Han Schwarz of the Tikkun Holistic Spa in Santa Monica, California. “All of the herbs in the tea are antifungal and antibacterial. They rid your body of toxins and pesticides, fight infections and even help clear up hemorrhoids. Your body also aches less after you’ve had a few steams.”
NaturallySavvy offers a recipe for an at-home vagina steam:
“Get a regular chair and a wooden toilet seat. Boil 8 cups of water, add a handful of fresh herbs or 1/4 cup dry ones, and steep for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a vagi-stool, pour half the water into a bowl (leave the rest of the water on the stovetop, covered, so you’ll be ready for a second round) and place the bowl in your toilet. Let the water cool for a bit to be sure the steam is warm and not scalding. Tent yourself with a towel or blanket and sit down on the toilet. Stay there for about 10 minutes, until all of the steam has evaporated and you feel your bath is complete. Dump the water; if you still want more, replace it with the hotter stuff from the stove.”
3. Apple Cider Vinegar Baths
You may end up smelling like a pickle, but an ACV bath can bring tremendous relief from yeast infections (as well as sunburns). We recommend that you use organic and raw ACV for its maximum effect and strong pH level, but any vinegar helps. Take a shallow water bath with 1/2 cup of ACV in warm water, just enough to submerge the vagina, while keeping the legs spread.
4. Yogurt Douche
When people say to never ever douche, they do not mean this. Chemical douches are literally the worst thing that you can do for your vagina, but a yogurt douche can absolutely save the day for a yeast infection. The acidophilus and lactobacillus bacteria in yogurt kills candida, the hungry little yeast colonies attacking your poor vagina.
For a yogurt douche, let several tablespoons of plain organic yogurt with probiotics come to room temperature. Mix 2 tablespoons of yogurt with purified water to thin it out a bit. From there, load it into a baster or a vaginal plunger. Wipe any funk from the outer labia. From there, lay on your back in the bathtub or over towels on the floor and insert the baster as far as it can comfortably go, and squeeze the liquid into your vaginal canal. Let sit for a minute and then allow it to drain a bit. Don’t worry if it sits in there — it should. Make sure to wear a maxi pad with cotton panties to catch any residual mixture.
5. Pussy Pops
Riding the yogurt wave, my favorite relief from a yeast infection is literal fro-yo pops. Simply take several plastic tampon applicators, discard the tampons, and fill the applicators with yogurt. Freeze the yogurt inside of the applicator. When they’re ready, run your hands along the outside of the applicator (or use warm water) to loosen the yogurt bullet and insert it the same way you would a tampon. You’ll need a maxi pad or a pantyliner as it melts, but it provides tremendous relief.
6. Tea Tree Oil Tampon
The simplest, yet most powerful, option of the bunch is the tea tree oil tampon. Tea tree oil is incredibly potent, so a little goes a tremendously long way. Simply take 2 to 3 drops on a cotton tampon, insert the tampon as usual, and switch them out as you usually would for 12 hours. After 12 hours, folks frequently report that the infection is almost completely gone, though there may be redness and sensitivity for a few days afterward, thanks to skin damage from the candida.
Sticking to a low-sugar, low-carb diet during your yeast infection and recovery is key. We’re not telling you what to eat, just what to avoid for a short period of recovery time. Candida gobbles up carbs, which turn into sugars and proliferate. Make sure to either wear no underwear or loose, cotton panties so that your precious parts can breathe and heal. The last thing you want to deal with is a re-run of the worst.episode.ever.