March 1 2020
Many vagina-havers will be familiar with that deep itch that just can't be scratched, the one that comes with a yeast infection and is the goddamn worst.
Yeast infections are the result of an overgrowth of yeast, a fungus, once the vagina's natural bacteria balance is thrown off-kilter. They tend to turn the vagina into a nightmare of extreme discomfort.
Finding time to go to the gyno is a difficult thing for most people, and a pipe dream for those who lack insurance. And sure, there's Monistat, but does that even work? And might there be a cheaper option out there, one that maybe already lives in the kitchen cabinet and offers immediate relief?
"Alternative remedies sound great," OB-GYN and director of the Drexel Vaginitis Center Paul Nyirjesy told Scientific American. " You don't have to go in, you don't have to be evaluated.
Garlic for yeast infection is a natural remedy, it's going to be completely safe and there won't be any side effects."
That perception, Nyirjesy said, is false. Most of these alternative, homeopathic treatments don't do anything at all, and "if you put anything in your vagina, there's a chance you'll get irritation and burning," he said.
"The vagina contains the most delicate and sensitive skin of your entire body, and things that seem harmless can leave you with an infection, irritation, burns, or other damage," Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical associate professor of OB-GYN at Yale School of Medicine told Shape.
Put a tampon in it, put a penis in it, put clean fingers and sex toys in it, put condoms and non-oil-based lubes in it, but please stop putting the following items in it, no matter how fiery your yeast infection. These methods won't cure it.
An oft-employed at-home yeast infection treatment is raw garlic, peeled and inserted directly into the vagina.
Garlic contains an antifungal called allicin, Nyirjesy told SA, which could theoretically combat vaginal yeast. "But you don't know how much garlic you need or how effective it is," he said. "If you put a clove of garlic in your vagina, does it really treat what's going on in the vagina or is it just sitting there with all the active ingredients sitting in a clove of garlic?"
The answer to that question, it seems, is that it's just a clove of garlic, sitting there, sharing none of its fungus-fighting properties but producing some pungent smells. No evidence, neither research-based nor anecdotal, suggests that shoving a clove of garlic into the vagina cures it of a yeast infection, Nyirjesy said.