Yeast infections are an overgrowth of a fungus that typically lives harmlessly on and in the body. When the fungus becomes out of control, it can cause itchiness, pain, burning, swelling and a thick, white discharge. While many over-the-counter medications are available to help clear it up, many women also turn to natural remedies such as honey to help clear up the problem.
Using Honey as a Yeast Infection Remedy
Honey is not a well known treatment for yeast infections, but many women swear by its use. Honey has many health benefits, including reducing infections and increasing the amount of good bacteria in the digestive track. This has led many to believe it can also be a treatment for yeast.
Reasons to Try Honey as a Yeast Infection Treatment
Many women with mild yeast infections have claimed that their problem either diminished or went away completely after just a few applications of honey. Their reasons for choosing to use honey as a treatment include the following:
- Lower cost: Honey is significantly cheaper than even over-the-counter yeast infection treatments.
- All natural: Many women feel more comfortable using a natural remedy rather than putting chemicals into their bodies.
- Healing properties: Honey has been shown to clear up severe diaper rashes and other skin problems naturally, which may lead women to believe it may have the same results on yeast.
- Lack of side effects: Honey is less likely to cause side effects such as sensitivity or burning of the vaginal region, headaches, abdominal pain or itching that can occur with more conventional treatments.
Problems with Using Honey as a Yeast Infection Treatment
Despite the number of women who swear by honey as a treatment for yeast, researchers have been unable to prove that honey has any effect on Candida albicans, the fungus which causes most yeast infections. In a study published in the International Journal of Microbiological Research in 2011, honey was found to be completely ineffective against Candida, even when used undiluted.
It was found, however, that honey clears up a second form of yeast, known as Rhodotorula sp. Of four different types of honey tested, all were found to kill or diminish Rhodotorula sp. to some extent, even when the honey was diluted. Rhodotorula sp., however, is not the leading cause of the type of yeast infection that most women suffer from. So while honey may have some positive effect on the yeast infection, it is probably due to the increase in beneficial bacteria that honey is known to bring, and not because it is killing or removing the underlying cause.
How to Use Honey to Treat a Yeast Infection
If you decide to try using honey as a treatment for yeast infections, make sure to use raw, unheated honey. Most honeys found at the grocery store will not be effective; look at your local health food store to find raw honey.
- Pour the honey in and over the affected areas until they are completely covered. You may want to do this in the bathroom for easier clean-up.
- Let the honey sit undisturbed for approximately 30 minutes.
- Take a bath in warm water to remove the honey and dry the affected area completely.
- Repeat at least twice a day until symptoms improve.
When to See a Doctor
If this is your first yeast infection or if you are experiencing recurring yeast infections, be sure to see your doctor before trying any home remedies. You may be suffering from a bacterial infection or an underlying condition that results in recurring yeast infections. Honey will not be effective in either of these circumstances. When in doubt, always see your doctor.
Honey as a Natural Solution
If your yeast infection is mild and you want to try more natural remedies before reaching for the conventional methods, consider giving honey a try. This inexpensive and drug-free solution may be just as soothing and beneficial as it is natural.