While a yeast infection can cause some embarrassment, the truth is that at least 3 in 4 women will experience this issue at least once in their lifetime. It’s not a life-threatening issue, it can cause discomfort. Can baking soda remove the symptoms and restore your body to full health?
It’s a remedy that many people swear by. Here’s all you need to know about yeast infections and baking soda.
What is a yeast infection?
A yeast infection is a fungal infection. The majority of yeast infections surface as vaginal infections, also known as vaginal candidiasis, and can cause a range of symptoms including discharge and irritation. Stinging sensations when urinating are fairly common too. Meanwhile, a complicated infection is when four or more episodes are experienced within the space of 12 months.
What causes a yeast infection?
Yeast infections can be attributed to many causes. As per the BMJ, research by R N Thin et al. found a direct link between infections and STDs. Meanwhile, yeast infections can also be caused by a range of issues, including but not limited to;
- Medications like antibiotics,
- Impaired immune systems,
- Hormone therapy that increases estrogen.
Yeast infections do occur in men too but are far more common in women.
Is baking soda good for a yeast infection?
The proposed benefits of baking soda for treating yeast infections have been known for many years, but many have doubted whether the claims are substantiated. However, research has found that baking soda does kill the candida cells that lead to infection.
When baking soda is diluted, it creates an alkaline solution that subsequently creates an environment where fungal bacteria colonies are unable to multiply. In addition to killing the candida cells, it can prevent itching and burning sensations by soothing the impacted area. It also serves to balance the natural balance pH levels while also keeping the affected area dry. While primarily used for vaginal yeast infections, baking soda can also be used to provide relief from infections on the fingers or armpit.
How to use baking soda for a yeast infection?
The most common way to use baking soda for a yeast infection is to take a warm bath that has had a ¼ cup of baking soda dissolved into the water. It is suggested that you sit in the bath for 10-20 minutes before getting out and drying yourself gently with a towel. The process should be completed twice daily until the symptoms pass. You should also avoid douching as this removes some of the healthy vaginal bacteria. Likewise, avoiding scented bathing products is highly advised as they will cause irritation.
Another option is to add baking soda to a mixture of water and apple cider vinegar. It should create a paste, as long as you allow the water and apple cider vinegar to settle for a few minutes first, that can be dabbed onto the affected areas. The remedy can be used once daily for up to two weeks.
Are there any risks to using baking soda for a yeast infection?
While baking soda baths for yeast infections are generally safe for most women, there are some instances where it could potentially pose some risks. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, have a high blood pressure, or are prone to fainting you should avoid this method. Likewise, anyone with an open wound should avoid the bath and look for the apple cider vinegar and water baking soda concoction.
A patch test where you can put a small amount of baking soda paste on the arm for 24 hours to check that there are no allergic reactions can provide further reassurance.
What else can baking soda help with?
Baking soda has been used to treat a range of health issues for many generations. Perhaps one of the most common uses is to try a baking soda bath to fight a urinary tract infection. Users state that it can neutralize acidic urine and prevent the infection from spreading to the kidneys while additionally offering pain relief. Other potential health benefits and uses include;
- Improve pH balance to aid digestive health,
- Boost kidney health,
- Provide antifungal properties,
- Reduce muscle fatigue and pain,
- Reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
What else can you use to treat or relieve a yeast infection?
Yeast infections can vary greatly in terms of symptom severity. Antifungal treatments used for a course of seven days are a common choice, not least because research by Derrick Soong and Adrienne Einarson, concluded that it is “not associated with increased risk of major malformations”. Other treatments may include a one-time dose of fluconazole or inserting a boric acid tablet to the vagina.
Multidose oral treatments and long-course antifungal medication treatments are less commonly used, but possible for patients with severe symptoms or repeat infections.
When to see a doctor?
Yeast infections are not often considered serious on their own. However, they can be linked to STDs. if you fear that this may be the case, you should speak to a doctor about your vaginal and sexual health. Alternatively, if you keep experiencing repeat episodes or find that it has become particularly uncomfortable, you should speak to an expert.
Get help from an online doctor
While there is no need to feel embarrassed, many people are uncomfortable with seeing their local doctor. Thanks to DrHouse, you can now be connected with an online doctor in as little as 15 minutes. Through a full video consultation, you can gain an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan without even needing to leave the home.
If you have experienced the symptoms of a yeast infection, baking soda is a very useful way to relieve the pain or discomfort. Furthermore, it is an effective method for stopping fungal growth or infections from spreading to the kidneys.
However, it is usually best to address the yeast infection to reduce the risk of repeat episodes. DrHouse can diagnose your condition and prescribe whatever antifungal medications or treatment is required.
- InformedHealth.org [Internet]. Cologne, Germany: Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG); 2006-. Vaginal yeast infection (thrush): Overview. 2019 Jun 19. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK543220/
- Thin R N, Leighton M, Dixon M J. How often is genital yeast infection sexually transmitted? Br Med J 1977; 2 :93 doi:10.1136/bmj.2.6079.93
- Lastauskienė, E., Zinkevičienė, A., Girkontaitė, I. et al. Formic Acid and Acetic Acid Induce a Programmed Cell Death in Pathogenic Candida Species. Curr Microbiol 69, 303–310 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00284-014-0585-9
- Jenny L. Martino, Sten H. Vermund, Vaginal Douching: Evidence for Risks or Benefits to Women’s Health, Epidemiologic Reviews, Volume 24, Issue 2, December 2002, Pages 109–124, https://doi.org/10.1093/epirev/mxf004
- Soong D, Einarson A. Vaginal yeast infections during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2009 Mar;55(3):255-6. PMID: 19282531; PMCID: PMC2654841.
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