Is this treatment right for you?
Every woman has dealt with a yeast infection at least once in her life. Yeast infections are annoying and uncomfortable, and are also pretty difficult to get rid of on your own.
When a woman is suffering from one, they’ll look for any relief they can get, and sometimes they find that relief in some pretty unexpected places. While there are over the counter treatments, including antifungal applications and even tea tree oil, there's another oil that may lend some help: coconut oil.
But does coconut oil for a yeast infection actually work? Though it's gotten rave reviews for helping with digestion, skincare, and even hair, are using its antibacterial qualities a good idea in the long run? We asked some experts about whether or not using coconut oil for a vaginal yeast infection is beneficial, or if it's doing more damage.
1. Coconut oil kills yeast.
Studies have shown that coconut oil can kill some types of yeast. But is it useful for yeast infections? The jury is still out.
According to Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones of Novant Health Mintview, OB/GYN, "Coconut oil is soothing and may help someone relieve the symptoms, as long as they aren’t allergic to coconuts. I realize there are a lot of claims about how the components of coconut oil can target fungi, but there is no evidence to support that it actually works."
2. It depends how you use it.
For yeast infections, some experts have suggested applying some coconut oil to a clean tampon and then inserting the tampon. Of course, talk to your doctor first, and absolutely don’t do this if you are allergic to coconut oil!
3. Choosing the correct coconut oil.
Not all coconut oil is sold as 100 percent pure, and you can’t risk putting other ingredients inside your body that may be dangerous or irritating, especially to your vagina. Make sure any coconut oil you buy lists only one ingredient: coconut oil. And nothing else.
4. It can help with dryness.
It makes sense that this extremely hydrating product (often also used as lubrication) could help fight dryness. “Coconut oil helps with symptomatic relief from itching, especially if vaginal dryness is the cause,” warns OB/GYN, Dr. Jill Hechtman.
5. But make sure you actually have a yeast infection.
If you've had a yeast infection before, you probably know the symptoms to look for. But as always, see your physician or provider to make an accurate diagnosis.
"Most women over-diagnose themselves, at least 50 percent of the time, with a yeast infection. There is good data to support that for a health care provider, if we just hear the symptoms but don’t get to examine the patient or do any testing, we are also wrong about the diagnosis 50 percent of the time," says Dr. Kelly-Jones.
6. Try a prescription first.
If you do have a yeast infection, you may want to try the prescription-grade treatment first. According to Dr. Hechtman, “If a patient truly has a yeast infection, I recommend over-the-counter creams like Monistat or a prescription of Diflucan.”
7. Don’t over-use coconut oil.
“I never use coconut oil for yeast infections,” advises Felice Gersh, M.D., an award-winning OB/GYN. “Long-term use is actually inflammatory, so I wouldn’t want it placed intravaginally for days on end in significant quantity.” Instead, Dr. Gersh recommends Boric Acid: “It is very effective and can be made by a compounding pharmacy.”