A yeast infection is a common occurrence that affects men and women. It can be harmless, but uncomfortable. Although it is not classed as a sexually transmitted infection (STI), it can have similar symptoms in men and women. Here, we’re going to show you what you need to know about yeast infections and if you can get rid of one in as little as 24 hours.
Table of Contents
- What is a Yeast Infection?
- Types of Yeast Infections
- What Causes a Yeast Infection?
- How to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection?
- Home Remedies for a Yeast Infection
- Over-the-Counter Treatments for Yeast Infection
- Prescription Treatments for a Yeast Infection
- When to See a Doctor?
- Key Takeaways
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection is a fungal infection caused by the fungus candida albicans. In male and female private parts, there is a mix of yeast and bacteria. A yeast infection occurs when there is an imbalance between the bacteria and the candida and there is a larger ratio of the fungus to the bacteria.
In women, the bacteria lactobacillus can fight infections but when there is a lack of bacteria, this means greater growth of yeast, resulting in a number of symptoms that can include:
- Burning or pain during urination.
- Redness and swelling around the private areas.
- Itching or irritation.
- Sores and blisters.
- Vaginal discharge that is white with no odor.
Types of Yeast Infections
While yeast infections are commonly associated with vaginal infections, there are a number of yeast infections. Yeast infections can affect almost any part of the body and can consist of some of the following:
- Topical candida, which is a yeast infection on the skin.
- Nail infections in the toes or fingernails.
- Urinary tract infections (UTIs).
- Male genital yeast infections.
- Invasive candidiasis, which is when the candida enters the organs or bloodstream.
- Small intestinal fungal overgrowth (SIFO).
- Oral thrush, which can appear as white bumpy patches that can bleed to the touch.
- Vaginal yeast infections.
What Causes a Yeast Infection?
Our bodies contain a mix of yeast which includes bacteria and candida, and a yeast infection occurs when there is an imbalance of the two. While certain bacteria like lactobacillus work to prevent an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina and the balance is disrupted due to an overgrowth of candida, this results in a yeast infection. Yeast infections can arise from some of the following:
- A low immune system, especially among people with HIV or taking corticosteroids.
- Uncontrolled diabetes, especially in women with poor blood sugar.
- Higher estrogen levels, for example, women taking estrogen birth control pills or when pregnant.
- Excessive antibiotic use, as broad-spectrum antibiotics kill a range of bacteria, including healthy bacteria, resulting in yeast overgrowth.
- Hormone fluctuations during menopause, breastfeeding, or pregnancy.
There are also lifestyle factors that can contribute to yeast infections, and these include:
- Consuming a diet known as a candida diet, which includes foods or drinks containing yeast, foods with simple sugars, and rice and white flour.
- Using douches or perfumes, powders, tampons or sprays.
- Improper hygiene after using the bathroom, for example, not wiping from front to back can result in spreading bacteria or yeast between the vagina, urinary tract, and anus.
- Not allowing sensitive areas to “breathe,” for example, by wearing tight underwear and wearing swimsuits or underwear for longer than necessary, or keeping genitals too warm and moist.
How to Get Rid of a Yeast Infection?
Getting rid of a yeast infection will depend on what type of yeast infection it is. For example, if it is a mild to moderate yeast infection, symptoms can clear up by themselves in a matter of days.
However, if you are experiencing extensive swelling or itching or you are classed at risk for having complicated yeast infections, either by having 4 or more yeast infections in the space of 12 months, uncontrolled diabetes, are pregnant, or have a compromised immune system, you will need to visit the doctor.
The doctor will very likely prescribe an antifungal medication such as pills, suppositories, ointments, and creams like miconazole and terconazole, which are taken for a course of between 3 and 7 days.
Typically when experiencing mild yeast infections, you may not need to see a doctor at all because there are over-the-counter creams, but there are a number of home remedies that can help relieve yeast infection symptoms. If you previously have had yeast infections and suspect you have another one, you may want to try home remedies to get some relief, but they may not completely remove the symptoms of yeast infections.
Home Remedies for a Yeast Infection
Boric acid is an antiseptic that can be used by doctors as a last attempt when previous creams or pills have not resolved the problem. You can use boric acid suppositories to treat vaginal infections. However, boric acid is toxic when consumed in large amounts. You should avoid boric acid if you are pregnant or have sensitive skin, and when consumed excessively, it can cause kidney damage or even death.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea tree oil has been praised for its antifungal properties and anecdotally has been hailed as a great way to kill fungi and yeast. Tea tree oil has been tested in a number of studies on candida albicans and vaginal suppositories and has been shown as an effective solution. However, tea tree oil in excess amounts can irritate the skin. When using tea tree oil on sensitive areas, it needs to be diluted.
As probiotic yogurts and other forms of probiotics such as kombucha and kefir have live bacteria such as lactobacillus acidophilus, this can help promote a healthier balance of internal bacteria which may help deal with an overgrowth of yeast and reset the balance. It’s also possible to take oral probiotics that contain strains of the lactobacillus bacteria.
Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is a staple most people have in their pantries. When you dissolve baking soda in water, it forms an alkaline solution. As a pH imbalance can contribute to yeast infections, the alkaline solution stops the fungus from multiplying.
You can use it by dissolving a quarter of a cup of baking soda into your bath and soaking in the water for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. You can repeat this twice a day every day until the symptoms disappear.
Oil of Oregano
Oil of oregano made from the origanum vulgare, known as wild oregano, contains two antifungal properties. As antifungal oils such as tea tree can have an effect on inhibiting the growth of candida albicans, oil of oregano works in the same way. You need to apply oil of oregano sparingly and never apply it directly to the affected area.
You can either mix it with what is known as carrier oils, such as melted coconut oil, soak in the bath with a few drops of essential oils, or soak a tampon in a diluted mix for a few minutes before applying to the area, making sure you change it every 2 to 4 hours and no more 6 hours. People can be allergic to oil of oregano, so conduct a skin patch test first.
Coconut oil has long been touted as a great antifungal. Organic coconut oil can be consumed internally or applied externally to ease fungal infections, and it can also be applied as a carrier oil by warming up coconut oil and adding 3 to 5 droplets of tea tree oil or oil of oregano.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Vinegar has many medicinal uses and has been effective in the treatment of reducing candida albicans. Apple cider vinegar can be most effective when diluted. Adding half a cup of apple cider vinegar to a bath and soaking for at least 20 minutes may help any yeast or candida build-up.
This antiseptic has been anecdotally referred to as a lifesaver when it comes to yeast infections. As hydrogen peroxide is naturally produced by the lactobacillus bacteria in your vagina, it stands to reason that diluting this in water could help prevent overgrowth.
While many home remedies are safe for people with yeast infections, it’s important to not treat yourself when you are pregnant, have recurring yeast infections, or you’ve been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection, but should seek medical help. Additionally, while these natural remedies may prove effective, you should always avoid douching with them, as they can result in recurring yeast infections.
Over-the-Counter Treatments for Yeast Infection
One of the most effective methods of reducing yeast infections is over-the-counter treatments in the form of pessaries or creams, which have been able to resolve at least 80% of yeast infections in the vagina. Most are available without a prescription and you can purchase them online or in pharmacies, grocery stores, or drugstores. The treatment may be for internal or external use, with a single application or a number of days.
Prescription Treatments for a Yeast Infection
When a doctor diagnoses a yeast infection, they will prescribe either oral medication like fluconazole or an antifungal medication that lasts between 3 and 7 days, such as terconazole and miconazole.
When to See a Doctor?
While most patients experiencing mild symptoms will not require urgent care for a yeast infection, you may want to get medical support for treating a yeast infection in some of the following circumstances:
- If you never had a yeast infection before.
- If you have other conditions such as diabetes or immune system complications like HIV.
- You have a fever, which could be a sign that an infection is spreading around the body.
- You have severe symptoms, or the symptoms have not improved after a course of medication.
How Can DrHouse Help You?
At DrHouse, we are here to help you treat your yeast infection. We offer an on-demand telehealth service, which allows you to connect with an online doctor or nurse practitioner who can diagnose and treat your yeast infection.
We provide fast and convenient access to medical care, so you can get the help you need right away.
Can I self-treat a yeast infection?
You can self-treat a yeast infection when the symptoms are mild. You can get over-the-counter yeast infection medication or attempt a number of home remedies.
Can you get rid of a yeast infection in 24 hours?
It’s best to work quickly to get rid of a yeast infection. It is possible to clear up a yeast infection by taking a single dose drug, however, it takes a few days to completely resolve the symptoms.
How do you make a yeast infection go away?
To get rid of a yeast infection there are a number of effective treatments, including over-the-counter antifungal medications, visiting a doctor if you are experiencing symptoms after treatment, as well as a number of home remedies.
What is the fastest way to get rid of a yeast infection?
The quickest way to get rid of a yeast infection is to visit a doctor if you suspect you have a yeast infection. You can also go to a pharmacist or drugstore for an over-the-counter antifungal medication in the form of cream, ointment, or pill.
Can yeast infections go away on their own?
If a yeast infection is mild in nature, it will usually go away by itself. However, the symptoms can be difficult to tolerate. This is why most people choose over-the-counter medication or pay a visit to the doctor. If the yeast infection is more serious, this can result in a more serious infection that may not disappear by itself and may need medical intervention.
What happens if a yeast infection is left untreated?
When left untreated, the symptoms can get worse, resulting in itching and inflammation around the vaginal area in extreme circumstances. There can also be other uncommon side effects of untreated yeast infections, such as oral thrush.
Approximately 30% to 50% of women will experience a vaginal yeast infection at least once in their lives. A yeast infection is a common occurrence and, in most cases, can go by itself in a number of days.
However, if you are experiencing recurring yeast infections of at least 4 in the space of 12 months or you are experiencing severe symptoms or other conditions alongside your yeast infection, you will need to get urgent care. To determine if you have a yeast infection, you will need to undergo a number of tests.
At DrHouse, we can provide online yeast infection diagnosis and infection treatment if you have any additional concerns. You can connect to us online and we can get to the root cause, offer recommendations, and provide a treatment plan to ensure that you are getting to work on treating your yeast infection.
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