Yes, baths are recommended for controlling the symptoms of yeast infection like itching, burning, swelling and pain. No remedy works fast enough to relieve these annoying symptoms; so while one waits for the effects of any medication (natural or otherwise) against the infection, one can use different types of baths for instant relief from symptoms. Baths are not the same as douching. While in douching, the vagina is washed internally, baths only wash the vagina externally. Douches are definitely not recommended for yeast infections as they are likely to increase them (unless you follow our douching protocol here). Baths on the other hand can provide instant symptomatic relief and some reduction in the yeast infection. Baths can be taken in a normal bath-tub filled only to cover the pelvic region, or in sitz-baths that are specially designed shallow baths. Baths should be warm, not hot or cold.
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Good baths are baths that take care of the following issues:
- They maintain the acidity of the vagina
- They do not kill off natural vaginal bacteria
- They do not have potentially harmful side-effects for you or, in case of pregnancy, to the baby
- They do not kill the sperm if you are wanting to become pregnant
Bad baths will, on the other hand, have some or all of the issues that good baths manage to take care of.
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Benefits of baths
- Can quickly relieve the symptoms of yeast infection like itching and burning
- Some products added to the baths may reduce the yeast infection
Side effects of baths
Some compounds added to the bath have sperm-killing activity. Although baths are not internal, you should be careful with these if you want to become pregnant.
Follow instructions when using any of the baths. Inappropriate use can cause damage to your own tissues and not be really useful in controlling candida either (as injured tissues are more prone to candida proliferating and growing.
Some products added to the baths may kill the useful bacteria and increase your yeast infection.
Some products used in the baths may have a strong dependence on the concentration at which they are used and can be harmful when used at sub-optimal concentrations.
Is apple cider vinegar bath a good option?
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) was tested in 2008 in full-denture wearers to check its activity against Candida. The study carried out by a group from Brazil. They found that keeping the dentures overnight in 10% solution of ACV reduced the number of candida in the oral cavity. However, it was unable to get rid of it completely. Another study published in 2015 by another group of scientists from Brazil has shown that different concentrations of ACV kill different types of Candida. ACV also reduced the ability of Candida to adhere to the dentures – perhaps this effect could be similar to adherence to the mucous membranes. The candida inhibiting activity of ACV could therefore also be helpful in case of vaginal candida infections. This study also considered 4% malic acid in ACV to be the active component against candida. Therefore, only undistilled, unfiltered ACV is likely to have significant inhibitory effect on candida. It will be important to note that if apple cider vinegar has been produced from apple cider that has undergone malolactic fermentation (a type of fermentation used to remove the sourness in ciders and wines) will have much lower levels of malic acid, and may not be as effective as anti-candida agent. Additionally and additively, the acidity of vinegar (which is similar to the acidity of a healthy vagina) could be responsible for inhibiting the growth of candida. Please note: you should never use undiluted ACV for baths; always use the dilutions recommended by your health-shop/natural health practitioner.
Is distilled vinegar good yeast infection bath?
As described above, maleic acid in ACV has been considered the active component against candida. Distilled vinegar, which is made from fermentation of distilled alcohol, lacks malic acid. It has acetic acid as its main component. Even distilled ACV is not likely to have the same impact against candida as ACV. While scientists from Lithuania found in 2014 that acetic acid was very active in killing candida, they also found that it killed a lot of the mammalian cells as well. Thus, use of strong, undiluted acetic acid can also be detrimental to your own tissues. Vinegars (of any type) should therefore always be used at the prescribed doses in the prescribed manner.
This may sound weird but a friend of mine told me that red wine vinegar helped her. What do you think?
Grapes have a high content of malic acid. But wines, most often than not, undergo a process of conversion of malic acid to lactic acid to reduce sourness. Vinegar made from such wines will be lacking in malic acid which is active against candida. In 2003, a study conducted by Spanish scientists on different types of vinegars found that wine vinegars were lower in malic acid content and there was absolutely no malic acid in red wine vinegars fermented without wood. Thus, it is likely that the effectivity of red wine vinegar against candida will depend on the quality of wine and the processes used to make the wine itself.
I have heard Aveeno oatmeal bath for yeast infection is good. Is that true?
Yes. Aveeno oatmeal is colloidal oatmeal. It has been used for centuries to relieve itch and irritation from dry skin due to winter, lengthy showers or harsh soaps. Researchers from Skin Research Center of Johnson & Johnson in USA found in 2008 that Avenanthramides, which are present in oats are potent anti-inflammatory agents and these give the anti-irritation capacity to oats. In 2012, researchers from Johnson & Johnson Santé Beauté France together with a dermatologist also from France showed from data collected in 10 countries that colloidal oatmeal is a safe and effective ingredient in personal care products and has low propensity to cause allergies. The anti-irritation, anti-itch property of oatmeal is utilized by Aveeno oatmeal bath to provide relief from symptoms of yeast infection.
Is baking soda bath good?
The study by Lithuanian scientists published in 2014 also tested the effect of baking soda on stopping the growth of candida. They found that baking soda at a certain concentration did cause killing of candida cells. If the concentration of baking soda was reduced, it actually promoted the change of oval form of candida to the hyphal/fibrous forms which are actually more infective. On the other hand, they also found that baking soda at concentrations that killed candida also killed mammalian cells in a big way.
You also need to remember that baking soda will increase the vaginal pH. This also will make the yeast happier and make them grow more.
Hence, we would suggest an extremely careful use of baking soda baths as not doing so can actually be injurious to your own tissues or may even increase your issues with yeast infections.
Are baking soda baths safe for diaper rash or during pregnancy?
Baking soda baths have been recommended for treating diaper rash. However, it is important to point out that indiscriminate use of anything that seems very household and innocuous may not really be safe. A case study presented in 1981 by doctors from USA showed that indiscriminate use of baking soda for treating diaper rash caused the 4 month old baby to suffer from hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis (excess bicarbonate in the blood causing it to become alkaline). Baking soda was absorbed by the baby through its skin causing the disorder.
Transfer of bicarbonates across placenta is slow as is described in a recent article by researchers from University of Toronto. This would mean that if you use sodium bicarbonate baths and absorb the bicarbonate through your skin, the fetus will not immediately get affected. However, as mentioned earlier, indiscriminate use of anything can be dangerous.
What types of bath salts can I use?
Bath salts of any kind are not recommended for candida infections. Bath salts contain salt, Epsom salt and baking soda, all of which by themselves can change the natural bacterial balance of the vagina through both their alkalinizing action as well as anti-bacterial action and thereby increase your yeast infection problems.
Is Kosher salt different and does it help?
Kosher salt is only different from normal salt in that it lacks any additives and is different with respect to its crystals. Chemically it is otherwise the same. It is therefore unlikely to help.
Do you recommend Epsom salt baths for yeast infection?
Epsom salts have been shown to reduce inflammation caused by endotoxins.
Is bleach bath ok?
Bleach can be chlorine based or peroxide based. Chlorine based bleach have strong anti-bacterial properties in addition to anti-fungal activity. If you use bleach in your bath, it will kill both the good and the bad bacteria and fungi, leading to imbalance in the vaginal microflora. This can actually cause yeast to come back with a vengeance.
What do you think about hydrogen peroxide bath?
We will be answering the question in another article make sure to check back.
I have heard a lot of great things about boric acid bath. Is it good?
A study from India, published in 2006, showed that diabetic women who had infection with certain species of candida responded better to boric acid vaginal suppositories as compared to the anti-fungal fluconazole. A recent study (2015) by scientists from USA shows that boric acid inhibits the invasive growth of candida by destabilizing its invasive hyphal/filamentous form. It has been described, in 2011 by another group of researchers from Greece, to be a safe alternative when conventional treatment fails. However, adverse effects caused by boric acid include vaginal burning sensation, water discharge during treatment and vaginal redness.
Since 2010, Boric acid is on the high concern list and declared to be toxic to reproduction with potential to impair fertility and cause harm to the unborn child by European chemicals agency. While you will find arguments against this mentioning no human studies having been carried out, there are studies from 1977 and 2006 that have showed that vaginal treatment (in the form of vaginal tablets) with boric acid increases the risk for congenital defects in human babies by 2.6-2.7 fold. However, another study from 1998 does mention that topical vaginal application is unlikely to cause any damage as the absorption of boric acid is limited unless the skin or vaginal epithelium is severely damaged. But think about this: you have vaginal infection where candida has already damaged your tissues to some extent, to which is added injury to the tissues from constant itching, how undamaged would the vaginal tissue be? We therefore recommend you to use boric acid baths with extreme caution – especially if you are in the reproductive period of your life and would like to have a healthy child.
Is borax bath a good option?
Borax is a salt of boric acid. Since 2010, borax has also been added to substance of very high concern candidate list and has been declared to be toxic to reproduction by the European Chemicals agency. It has the potential to impair fertility and to cause harm to the unborn child. Our recommendations on borax bath will therefore be similar to those for boric acid.
What do you think about buttermilk bath?
There is not much data out there for us to say anything. Keep an eye on our youtube channel for answer to this question in future.
I heard that in India they do milk bath. Can that help give yeast infection relief?
There is no data to back that up.
What is your take on coconut oil bath?
Coconut oil is a great for candida yeast infection. Here is a video we did on the topic on our youtube channel.
I heard that in many countries essential oils are used as bath. Is that true and does it work?
What do you think about lemon bath?
While in the past there have been contradicting reports on the use of lemon essential oils, a research group from Poland published an article in 2014 showing that different commercial lemon essential oils had different activity against Candida growth. They showed that if the essential oils from lemon were higher in their content of oxygenated monoterpenes, their antifugal effects were higher. They also showed that a particular ratio of the two different kinds of oxygenated monoterpenes could be important to stop the growth of Candida strains that are more resistant to lemon essential oils. According to these scientists, use of lemon essential oils to treat candidiasis is an interesting solution due to their documented safety.
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Isn’t tea tree oil a good solution for yeast infection relief?
Australian tea tree oil is a great solution.
What is garlic bath?
While I have never heard about the garlic bath for yeast infection. Garlic itself is a great antifungal you can take for candida.
Can baths prevent yeast infection as well?
Yes, some baths may be able to prevent yeast infection. For example, ACV bath may be helpful in restoring the vaginal pH, thereby preventing yeast growth.
I tried lavender bath once and it helped. Do you think it can also help prevent?
If it helped you then continue, we don’t have any data at this stage.