It is quite common for women to experience vaginal infections from varying causes, and for many of these women, treatment is simple and often can be over the counter. For some other women, like those with cancer or those who are post-menopausal, they cannot use estrogen and may have more difficulty in being treated. This is why natural therapies may be helpful for some of these issues. The below information is not a medical recommendation and should be discussed with your doctor before attempting or trying.
Here are the top at-home methods for naturally treating and controlling the symptoms of vaginosis.
- Attention to lifestyle. This means you must avoid things like:
- Synthetic and tightly fitting undergarments or thongs; white cotton underwear is best.
- Avoid harsh soaps and perfumes
- Avoid unnecessary stress in your life
- Abstain from intercourse during any treatment
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, sugar, processed foods, vinegar, soy sauce
- Avoid street drugs
- Treat the symptoms. If you have itching, try aloe vera gel, before jumping to the cortisone cream. If you have swollen tissues, try echinacea tincture before reaching for the Tylenol.
- Treat the bacteria present. Essential oils can be a very natural, beneficial treatment for different types of bacteria. Some oils that may help with this are:
- Tea tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Oil of oregano
- Neem oil
- Goldenseal Tincture
- Garlic tincture
- Grapefruit seed extract
While these compounds are natural, this does not mean that they may not have side effects. Never begin a treatment or new supplement without consulting with your doctor. Some essential oils can cause allergic reactions or issues with your internal organs. None of these mentioned things should be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women. Echinacea should not be used by those with autoimmune diseases.
For the oils to work, simply drop a few drops of the oil on to a tampon and insert it into the vagina for one to three hours. You can also apply these oils directly to the vagina, or via suppository method. Any antibacterial treatment has the potential to cause a reaction. It is possible to turn some of these oils’ mixtures into a douche, or an ointment as well. For this, you may need to contact a compounding pharmacy for help.
- Create a healthy vaginal environment. This means keeping a steady pH inside of the vagina. Anything that is put into the vagina is absorbed into the tissue and can change the pH. From tampons to douche, lubrications to vaginal dryness moisturizers. They all influence the body.
- Introduction of beneficial bacteria. Probiotic-rich foods include the following: kefir, yogurt with live cultures, dark chocolate, miso, pickles. Sourdough bread, fruits such as bananas and tomatoes, vegetables such as artichokes, green beans and leeks, whole grain breads. There are some dangers that can result from this method, so be sure to bring this up with your doctor for further direction and guidance.
- Aloe vera topical gel. The aloe plant produces both gel and latex which are both used heavily in the medical fields. Aloe gel is the clear, jelly-like substance found in the inner part of the aloe plant leaves. Allow latex comes from just under the plants skin. Aloe vera gel has the potential to decrease blood sugar, and it can have skin-altering affects in women.
- Echinacea topical. This herb is native to North America and used in traditional herbal remedies by Indians was used to help decrease inflammation and it may also attack yeast directly. In a topical cream, echinacea can be used to directly treat a yeast infection. Applying echinacea directly to the skin can result in a reaction of redness, itchiness, or a rash. Those women who have MS, Lupus SLE or rheumatoid arthritis should not use Echinacea.
- Tea tree oil topical. Tea tree oil is an extract from a plant native to Australia and used an an antiseptic and antifungal treatment. This oil can aggravate eczema and cause redness, itching and swelling.
- Lavender. This herb has been used for centuries in the making of medications, tinctures, salves and teas.
- Oil of Oregano Topical. Can be used and made into a topical ointment. Be careful in regard to skin reactions.
- Neem oil topical. Neem oil comes from the Neem tree and the bark, leaves and seeds are all used to make different types of medications. It helps to kill bacteria. There is much evidence proving that women with autoimmune issues should not be using this oil, nor should those with blood sugar issues. Certain medications also interact with Neem oil, like lithium, diabetes medications, immunosuppressants, and transplant medications.
- Goldenseal. This North American herb’s dried root is used to make medicines. The chemical berberine, which has direct affect on bacteria and fungi, can be used to treat bacteria in the body. Goldenseal interacts with many medications like: cyclosporine, digoxin, and medications that are metabolized by the liver.
- Garlic tincture. This herb treats a wide range of diseases and conditions, and garlic oil can be applied to the skin to treat fungal infections. Do discuss any garlic treatments with your doctor before beginning any new supplement or herb.
- Grapefruit seed extract. The grapefruit offers this extract oil from its peel and is used to create medicines. Some women use grapefruit oil as a douche, although the consensus is that douching in unnecessary and depletes the natural biome of the vagina.
Remember that any new medical supplement, oil, herb, or treatment should be discussed by you and your medical care team before beginning.