4 methods to deal with a yeast infection

At the first telltale signs of a yeast infection, you know what's coming — and you want relief fast. Here's some things you can do for possible relief and may keep future infections from starting.

4 methods to deal with a yeast infection

1. Try antifungals

  • Most antifungals come as creams or inserts sold over the counter. But the one that works best for yeast infections is a prescription pill that you swallow.
  • A single dose of fluconazole works as well as a vaginal cream or insert used for one to three days. It can improve symptoms and wipe out the fungi in 80 to 90 percent of women.
  • If you get four or more infections a year, using the antifungal for six months after the initial infection can help prevent additional infections.
  • If you get frequent yeast infections, ask your doctor whether you should take a prescription antifungal to prevent an infection when you have to take an antibiotic.

2. Start taking probiotics

  • Taking these "good" bacteria as a supplement helps restore healthy levels in the vagina and may help prevent recurrent yeast infections.
  • Some women use these supplements whenever they're taking an antibiotic.
  • Studies that have been done are poorly designed, and are mixed on their benefits.
  • Still, there's enough evidence that they may help — with few if any side effects — to make them worth a try.
  • If you're still hesitant about the supplement, you can always try probiotic yoghurt.

3. Cut out sugar, but not for infections

  • Many women believe cutting out sugar will help prevent yeast infections.
  • While cutting down on sugar is a good idea for many reasons, there's no good evidence that diet contributes to yeast infections.

4. Cut out yeast infection causers

If you get frequent yeast infections, look to the root causes, which could include:

  • Antibiotics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Birth control pills
  • Spermicidal creams
  • Oral sex

The secret to less yeast infections starts not at the pharmacy or health food store, but your doctor's office. Get help, cut out potential causers and keep your levels balanced. It could mean you suffer from yeast infections less often.

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