7 Yeast Infection Alternatives to Monistat and Vagisil

Last updated: October 9, 2019


Contributed by:
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
View Full Profile

Many women who experience symptoms common with a yeast infection will automatically reach for Monistat or Vagisil, but our alternative therapies may prove to be a better option. 

Does the familiar itch and burn of a yeast infection send you running for the pharmacy? While many find relief from over the counter medicines such as Vagisil and Monistat, there are many natural alternative therapies available.

Yeast infections are a common, if annoying ailment suffered by an estimated 75 percent of women and even a few men.

online doctor pregnancy

 

Despite these numbers,  two out of three women who buy over the counter medicine for a yeast infection do not actually have this type of fungal infection.

Many people who suspect a yeast infection may turn to over the counter remedies in order to find the fastest solution, there are many holistic options with items you may have in your own home. 

What is a Yeast Infection?

A yeast infection is caused by the overgrowth of yeast. This occurs when the vagina’s natural balance between yeast and bacteria is disrupted and an overgrowth of fungus occurs and causes an infection.

This type of infection affects the vagina and may also affect the vulva. A yeast infection is commonly cause by the overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans. Along with this overgrowth, the fungus will penetrate the deeper vaginal cell layers and cause the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection.

While candida albicans, is a common fungus to cause yeast infections, it is not the only culprit. Unfortunately, when yeast infections are caused by other types of fungus they are often harder to treat and require more aggressive therapies.

Causes of yeast overgrowth:

 

  • Pregnancy
  • Antibiotics
  • Uncontrolled diabetes
  • Compromised immune system
  • Increased estrogen levels as a result of oral contraceptive use or hormone therapy

Any one of these items or a combination of two or more put you at an increased risk for yeast infections.

Symptoms

Vaginas are very much like a self cleaning oven, there is no need to clean them internally other regular bathing. Unfortunately, certain environmental factors can cause a disruption in the normal pH level of the vagina. This disruption can lead to a variety of uncomfortable symptoms that affect both the vagina and the vulva.

While the symptoms can vary from person to person, many infections can produce the following symptoms:

image of a bowl of cottage cheese

  • A painful burning sensation that may be heightened during sex or while urinating
  • itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva
  • redness and swelling of the vulva
  • A vaginal rash
  • Vaginal pain/soreness
  • A change in discharge-may appear thick and ‘cottage cheese’ like or watery-should not have a strong odor

Prevent yeast infections before they start with our 8 Fungal Fighting Tips! 

Risks of Using Monistat

woman with hand over her lower abdomin

Monistat (generic name is Miconazole Nitrate) is used to treat the burning, itching and vaginal discharge that can accompany a yeast infection. This anti-fungal treatment works by reducing the growth of yeast that comes with the infection.

This medicine comes in the form of a tablet or vagina cream. Some treatments also include a cream for the vulva. It is important to speak to your doctor if you are unsure if your symptoms are a yeast infection. Like any medicine, Monistat can have side effects. Your doctor can inform you if the benefits associated with using this medication.

Possible Side Effects:

  • Headache
  • Vaginal itching/burning/pain
  • Urethral itching/burning/pain
  • Lower abdominal cramps

If you are concerned about using this medication or are experiencing any of these symptoms you can speak to your pharmacist or connect with one of our doctors for free.

In some rare instances, a serious allergic reaction can occur. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include severe dizziness, rash, itching/swelling of the face/tongue and throat and trouble breathing.

Risks of Using Vagisil

woman doubled over in pain

While Vagisil is commonly linked to the treatment of yeast infections, it is actually not a treatment for the yeast overgrowth. In fact, Vagisil offers many different feminine products, from wipes, moisturizers and washes and anti itch cream. While Vagasil targets the symptoms of a yeast infection, it does not treat the cause.

Side Effects of Vagisil 2-5 % Topical Cream

  • Abnormal peeling of skin
  • Skin Inflammation
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Stinging of skin

Holistic Treatments for Yeast Infections

Since yeast infections are common, dealing with them is part of being a woman, among so many other things. So what’s the best way to deal with a yeast infection? Surprising to some, Monistat and Vagisil may not be the best when compared to some yeast infection alternatives.

Using the old yeast infection standby Monistat may lead to unpleasant burning and irritation. Using Monistat can also lead to drug resistance as well.

Vagisil is also another potential yeast infection pitfall when it comes to women’s health. It actually doesn’t have any effect on yeast. Vagisil also contains potentially harsh ingredients like methylparaben and propylene glycol. What are the yeast infection alternatives?

Related: 5 tips to avoid your next UTI

1. Probiotic Suppositories and Supplements

a small group of pills on a leaf

Probiotics are able to help restore the balance between bacteria and yeast in your body. A regiment of oral probiotics that contain strains of the lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria, can aid in bringing the vaginal flora back into alignment. Oral supplements often take about 10 days to reach full effect. Those needing quick results can try to use probiotics as vaginal suppositories. This can be effective in treating vaginosis. 

2. Coconut oil

a jar of coconut oil

Coconut oil has wonderful health benefits, both when taken internally and when applied to the skin. With its anti fungal properties, it can be used for treatment for yeast infections. One study demonstrated that coconut oil is as effective as Ketoconazole, an azole antifungal.

If you are planning to use coconut oil for your yeast infection it is important to only use organic, unprocessed varieties. You can tell if the oil is pure if it still has a strong coconut smell. To use coconut oil for a yeast infection simply apply the oil to the affected area.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

two read apples

While vinegar douching is a major no-no as it flushes out all the good and bad bacteria from your vagina, many women swear by apple cider vinegar baths. The vinegar needs to be diluted before applying to the skin so a bath can be the ideal application for this treatment. Simply fill up a tub with lukewarm water and add half a cup of apple cider vinegar and soak for 20 minutes. This method is believed to be able to kill any harmful microorganisms.

It is important to note that many women misdiagnose their yeast infections. Using apple cider vinegar has been shown to be somewhat effective in one study, but could irritate or cause inflammation if a yeast infection is not present. If you are unsure if your symptoms point to a yeast infection, connect with one of our doctors now.

4. Vitamin C

a hand squeezing an orange

A strong immune system can help your body restore it’s natural balance. Many women take vitamin C because it is an immune system booster. It also has antimicrobial components when distilled in tablet form so some women use it to kill yeast overgrowth which causes yeast infections.

To use vitamin C as a natural treatment, try increasing your vitamin C intake. Do not apply vitamin C to the vaginal tissue as it is too acidic and may cause irritation and inflammation.

5. Garlic

a large head of garlic

Not only is garlic a delicious addition to any meal, garlic extract also offer and immune boost and fights infections. A key compound in garlic called allicin inhibits the enzymes that allow organisms to damage and invade tissues.

in addition, a study has also demonstrated that garlic may be effective in killing candida, which is a lead culprit in many yeast infections.

6. Oil of Oregano

a large bunch of oregano and some essential oil bottles

Not to confused with the popular herb, oil of oregano is a natural essential oil. It is made from wild oregano, called origanum vulgare, and it contains two potent antifungals: thymol and carvacrol. With these two powerful ingredients it can be used to treat a variety of illnesses, such as respiratory infections, urinary tract infections (UTIs) and yeast infections.

Some research has demonstrated that oil of oregano has the ability to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans.

Capsules containing oil of oregano may be inserted into the vagina at night. Alternatively, it can be applied to a tampon before insertion.

Using wild oregano oil was shown in some research to halt or inhibit the growth of Candida albicans. Capsules containing oil of oregano may be inserted into the vagina at night. Alternatively, it can be applied to a tampon before insertion.

Research published in the Canadian Journal of Microbiology has demonstrated that oil of oregano is more effective than  other natural supplements in instances where the yeast infection is resistant to the conventional drug fluconazole (Diflucan).

When using oil of oregano to treat a yeast infection at home it is important not to put the essential oil directly on the skin. A supplement can be inserted into the vagina or 3-5 drops of the essential oil can be mixed into a carrier oil (such as warmed coconut oil) and then coated on a tampon. The tampon should be changed every two to four hours.

7. Yogurt with Probiotics

image of a bowl of yogurt and berries

Using natural, unsweetened yogurt for yeast infections can be effective because the of presence of probiotics. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that can help naturally restore the balance of bacteria and yeast in the body.

A 2006 review of research found that certain probiotics may help discourage the growth of yeast when eaten, applied to the vulva or inserted in the vagina.

Check out 7 Yeast Infection Prevention Tips you Can’t Ignore

Strike Back Against Yeast Infections with a Healthy Diet

bowl of fruit

Understanding why you get yeast infections in the first place may help you choose the best yeast infection alternatives. Yeast infections are internal issues stirring up in your vaginal microbiome. These unpleasant stirrings can be caused by a number of things, such as poor gut health, decreased immune health, and stress.

Monistat and Vagisil may not always be effective. If they are your go to in times of a yeast infection, and your doctor is satisfied, good for you. However, looking at underlying causes could save you a few trips to the pharmacy over the course of a lifetime.

High sugar intake and high carb diets are possibly the cause of your yeast infections. Combine those dietary choices with not eating enough healthy veggies and fiber, and you have a yeast infection perfect storm. Veggies and fiber are suggested to be the cornerstone of women’s health, so food for thought regarding yeast infection alternatives.

 

Related: Chlamydia: Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

 

Make yeast infection alternatives as common as your chances of getting a yeast infection. There are plenty of excellent alternatives to Monistat and Vagisil. You simply need a bit of expert advice. Before beginning any alternative treatment, it is essential to your health to consult with an OBGYN to discuss risks and benefits.

When to avoid home remedies

Home remedies are not a safe or effective option for all women or all yeast infections. If you are unsure if a holistic  option is right for you, chat with one of our doctors for free now.

The following people should not try to treat themselves:

  • pregnant women
  • Those with recurring yeast infections
  • anyone who has been exposed to a sexually transmitted infection
  • people who are unsure if their symptoms are caused by a yeast infection

A New Approach to Your Health

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Put the power of a physician in your pocket with the Your Doctors Online app. Just a touch of a button can connect you with a real doctor ready to answer your medical questions day or night. So snap a picture of your throat and upload it for an immediate closer look before wasting your time at the doctor’s office. Save your time and protect your health in one simple step.

So what do you have to lose? Stop wasting your time in waiting rooms and connect with one of our knowledgeable doctors today.

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

 

Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.

About Richard Honaker M.D.

Dr. Richard Honaker has over 40 years of experience as a primary care physician specializing in several different areas of medicine. He is able to provide expert case review and analysis for insurance and workers compensation cases as well as providing online medical consultations as the Chief Medical Advisor for Your Doctors Online.


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