Here's the truth -- yeast infections are a common condition for women. Unfortunately, there is a sincere stigma associated with the condition and because of this stigma, many women -- including some of our patients -- have reported trying alternative treatments that aren't 100 percent medically approved. Instead of curing the infection with over-the-counter treatments, some of these women turn to potentially dangerous home remedies.
Here are four in particular that you should avoid.
The notion that yogurt can be used to treat and cure a yeast infection has been around for quite some time. Some women even claim that it works for them. These claims have inspired several scientific studies, but it has not yet been proven that applying yogurt on or in your vagina will cure a yeast infection.
In some circles, garlic is revered for its detoxifying qualities. For those that subscribe to garlic's medicinal use, they believe it can be used to treat yeast infections by inserting it into the vagina. In reality, inserting any foreign object in the vagina may cause further complications or even worsen an infection. And there is no scientific proof that garlic can cure a yeast infection, so why risk it?
3. Perfumed feminine products
While not technically a home remedy, a common misconception is that feminine hygiene sprays and powders can treat yeast infections. Many women who use single-function symptom relief products like anti-itch creams intending to treat a yeast infection soon discover the product's shortcomings. These products may temporarily treat the symptoms of your infection, but they will not cure it.
Douching is not approved by the medical community and not a recommended practice -- period. Though many women believe it helps to clean out or freshen the vagina, the process of douching does more harm than good. If you have a yeast infection, douching can worsen your condition.
When it comes down to it, there are plenty of old wives' tales floating around -- especially on the Internet. The only proven remedies for treating yeast infections are topical antifungals that can be purchased at the drugstore or a prescription treatment from your doctor. If you've been diagnosed with a yeast infection in the past and recognize the symptoms, stay out of your kitchen and go to the pharmacy for an OTC treatment. Simple and easy.
Dr. Bohn, Dr. Hill and Dr. Park are chief medical consultants for Insight Pharmaceuticals, parent company of Monistat. The advice and opinions expressed in this article are their own.