Don’t use harsh soaps on the vaginal area. Although it may seem counter intuitive, washing thoroughly with water is more effective at maintaining a healthy vaginal balance than using soap. Wear loose clothing. Under certain conditions the combination of tight clothing and undergarments can lead to vaginal infections or cause additional discomfort to an active infection. For comfort and to encourage good air circulation wear loose fitting clothes or skirts.
Change cloths and underwear after working out or getting wet. Bacteria and fungi thrive in this warm and humid environment. Remove underwear during the night for better air circulation. This can be especially comfortable during an active infection.
Pharmaceutical Treatments Prescription and OTC
The usual treatment bacterial vaginosis is 7 day course of antibiotics taken twice a day. Metronidazole is the antibiotic that most often prescribed. It’s a common antibiotic that targets bacteria and protozoa, making it an effective treatment for Trich. Antibiotics are affordable and readily available with a prescription, but they do cause side-effects, including nausea and diarrhea.
For common yeast infections doctors usually recommend an over-the-counter pharmaceutical treatment that contains an anti-fungal drug belonging to the “azole” class, (meaning the active ingredients all end with the suffix azole.) These anti-fungal treatments come in a number of forms from oral tablets to intravaginal suppositories and topical creams. The most popular treatment for yeast infections is a vaginal suppository that contains Miconazole.
These products are sold worldwide under the brand names: Miconazex, Monistat, Femizol and Gyno-Daktarin. As most women know, the feminine care aisle is a veritable jungle of products; even vaginal suppositories come in an amazing and confusing array of varying strengths, most commonly 1-Day, 3-Day, and 7-Day courses. Despite the different duration, these suppositories contain similar total amounts of the medication, but the longer courses are gentler and in some cases more effective.
Mild to severe burning and added swelling and irritation are the most common side-effects caused by applying harsh ingredients on irritated skin. Yeast infections are also known to return after these anti-fungal treatments, because they treat these symptoms not the root cause. Brands like Monistat can be purchased at the drugstore for under $20. Store-brands and generic forms are also available for about half the cost.
Doctors will also prescribe oral anti-fungal medications to control yeast infections. The most common anti-fungal is Fluconazole, which is commonly sold under the brand names Diflucan, Trican, and Alfumet. Many women prefer this oral treatment because it doesn’t cause additional irritation to the vagina like topical treatments can. With generic drug programs this prescription medication can be purchased for under $10.
Natural and Homeopathic OTC Products
There are a host of natural and homeopathic treatments for yeast infections and bacterial vaginitis. These all natural products are aimed at rebalancing the vagina flora. Many of these products contain the healthy Lactobacillus bacteria along with herbal ingredients traditionally used to treat vaginal infections. Prices for these natural remedies are comparable to pharmaceutical over-the-counter treatments, usually $6-$24.
Natural products come in every form conceivable from gel creams to suppositories and oral tablets. YeastGard, AZO Yeast, Nature’s Cure, YeastAway by Boiron, and Hyland’s Vaginitis tablets are all available at most mainstream drugstores. Thursday Plantation has a line of tea tree oil-based suppositories and Yeast Arrest is another vaginal suppository, but it uses boric acid along with a number of antibacterial and anti-fungal botanicals.
Yeast Arrest is a harsh treatment intended for acute and chronic infections. The most common side-effect is burning. Yeast Arrest cures severe infections in 3-14 days.
Plain yogurt is one of the best home remedies for soothing irritation and restoring a healthy vaginal pH. Yogurt can be frozen in the fingers of rubbers gloves for a home remedy that soothes in two ways or a non-applicator tampon can be dipped and yogurt and inserted overnight for several consecutive nights.
Oils & Other Solutions
Coconut oil is a natural antibacterial used topically in India for centuries. Dip a non-applicator tampon is warmed coconut oil and insert overnight for 4 to 5 consecutive nights. Use all natural coconut oil intended for cooking.
Tea Tree Essential Oil is already approved to treat yeast infections in Italy. 10 drops can be added to a sitz bath or bucket to soak the pelvic area. Alternately, dip a non applicator tampon in olive oil or coconut oil (K-Y jelly is fine too) and apply one or two drops of tea tree oil, insert overnight for 4 to 5 consecutive nights.
Tea tree essential oil is available at health food stores about around $10 depending on the quantity. Check to make sure the oil is not diluted with alcohol. Tea tree oil is a power antibacterial use only a few drops at a time. The most common side effect of tea tree oil is burning.
Wash a diluted vinegar solution to restore the naturally acidic vaginal pH. Mix 1 tablespoon of vinegar with a quart of water. A squirt bottle, like the type used for dish liquid, works great.