Is it Convenient to Use Garlic to Treat Vaginal Yeast Infections?

November 15, 2017
People have attributed an exaggerated antifungal and antibiotic effect to garlic because the evidence found in studies has been misunderstood and parts of the conclusions provided by researchers have been ignored.

First of all, it’s necessary to clarify that neither yogurt, nor the essential oil of a plant or herb, nor garlic can treat or cure vaginal yeast infections. Even if the opposite has been popularly affirmed, the home remedies that have been proposed with these ingredients aren’t safe and, instead of helping, only expose the person to further complications.

To treat vaginal yeast infections correctly, it’s best to see a doctor and follow their instructions. Additionally, you could improve intimate hygiene, hydration, and nutrition aspects. However, you should never resort to the use of home remedies, such as garlic.

Putting garlic in your vagina ISN’T safe

Garlic cloves.

Not in pasta, nor whole, nor combined with other elements. Garlic isn’t a solution for vaginal yeast infections. There’s no scientific evidence that these remedies work. And, on the other hand, there are cases of people who only have worsened their situation by using it.

American gynecologist Jennifer Gunter decided to explain in very simple terms why you definitely should never put garlic into your vagina:

  • Although garlic may have antifungal properties due to its allicin content, this doesn’t mean that it works in mice or a woman’s vagina.
  • Garlic can have pathogenic bacteria from the soil that can harm your health. Thus, by putting garlic into your vagina, you’re not eliminating yeast, but promoting further infection.
  • Introducing it whole, peeled, or crushed can cause irritation and exacerbate the problem.

Other health professionals from different parts of the world have spoken out on this issue, urging people to forget about using garlic to treat vaginal yeast infections (and other diseases). Instead, they advise following their doctor’s instructions.

How to treat vaginal yeast infections

Generally, the treatment of vaginal yeast infections involves taking or applying an antifungal medication for a short period (approximately seven days). It may be a tablet, a cream, an ointment, or a suppository. It all depends on the case.

It’s worth mentioning that some medications require a prescription, which is why you should go to your doctor to get one.

If the problem is severe, the treatment may last for longer, and the dose may be higher. In addition, the doctor may consider it necessary to use both oral and topical medications.

Mayo Clinic experts say that, in certain cases, the doctor may prescribe two or three doses of an antifungal drug that should be taken orally instead of a vaginal treatment.

How to avoid infections

Below, we share some of the measures that can help prevent vaginal yeast infections.

  • Maintain good personal hygiene:
    • Avoid wearing tight clothes.
    • Avoid douching, immersion baths, and the like (swimming pools, for example).
    • Use a mild soap (or a special intimate hygiene soap).
    • Always shower after exercising.
    • Always wipe from front to back after going to the bathroom to avoid transferring anal bacteria to the vagina (and, consequently, the urinary tract).
    • Use clean cotton underwear every day and avoid synthetic fabrics to make sure the area can breathe properly and to avoid creating a warm and humid environment that causes the proliferation of microorganisms.
      When you use tampons and pads, remember to change them frequently and wash the area with water to prevent infection.
      If you went swimming at a beach or pool, avoid leaving on a wet bathing suit for a long time, since moisture can promote the proliferation of fungi and bacteria.
      Don’t use perfume, talcum powder, deodorants, or sprays in your vagina, as they can alter the pH balance.
  • Take care of your hygiene before and after sex.
  • Stay well-hydrated, eat a balanced diet, and maintain an overall healthy lifestyle.
  • Watson, C. J., Grando, D., Fairley, C. K., Chondros, P., Garland, S. M., Myers, S. P., & Pirotta, M. (2014). The effects of oral garlic on vaginal candida colony counts: A randomised placebo controlled double-blind trial. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology. https://doi.org/10.1111/1471-0528.12518