How to Cure Vaginal Infection

Three Parts:Getting a DiagnosisTreating Vaginal InfectionsRecovering From and Preventing Vaginal Infections

If you think you have a vaginal infection, it's important to determine what type of infection you have. A healthy vagina has a large population of bacteria that is balanced to control harmful bacteria, yeast, and other organisms like Trichomonas. Imbalances in the vagina can cause several types of vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common type of vaginal infection. Other vaginal infections can be caused by yeast (usually with the Candida species which results in a yeast infection or vaginal thrush) or with a protozoan organism called Trichomonas (which causes the sexually transmitted infection Trichomoniasis).[1] Treatment will depend on your diagnosis. Your doctor will probably offer a course of antibiotics or recommend over-the-counter treatments.

Part 1
Getting a Diagnosis

  1. Image titled Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis from Recurring Step 16
    Look for symptoms of Bacterial Vaginosis (BV). If you suspect you have a vaginal infection, pay attention to your symptoms. Not all women with BV have symptoms, but the following symptoms are often associated with BV:[2]
    • Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant or "fishy" odor
    • White or gray discharge that is foamy
    • Burning or discomfort when urinating
    • Itchiness and irritation in and around the vagina
  2. Image titled Diagnose a Yeast Infection at Home Step 6
    Pay attention to signs of yeast infection. The symptoms of a yeast infection are similar to BV. They include:[3]
    • Abnormal vaginal discharge which can range from a thin, watery, white discharge to a thick, white, and chunky discharge (often described as looking like cottage cheese)
    • Itching and burning of the vagina and labia
    • Painful intercourse
    • Painful urination
    • Redness and swelling of the area just outside of the vagina.
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    Look for signs of a Trichomoniasis infection (Trich). While many people with a Trich infection have no symptoms, these symptoms are signs of an infection:[4]
    • Vaginal discharge that is smelly, frothy, bubbly, or foamy
    • Vaginal itching
    • Yellow or gray-green discharge
    • Painful urination
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    Consider the cause of your bacterial infection. There is no specific cause other than a bacterial imbalance. Most women have probably had at least one bacterial infection, but the risk of getting BV increases with a new sexual partner (or multiple partners), douching, having sex without a condom, or using an intrauterine device (IUD) as a method of birth control.[5]
    • If you are diagnosed with Trichomoniasis, you'll need to inform any sexual partners so they can be treated. Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).[6]
    • You should also tell any sexual partner about any vaginal infection, but you aren't required to.
  5. Image titled Prevent Yeast Infections from Antibiotics Step 7
    Learn what causes yeast infection (candidiasis). Yeast infections can be caused by antibiotic use. Antibiotics kill off the normal bacteria population in your vagina which lets the yeast thrive. Complications of diabetes, hormonal changes during normal menstrual cycles, and using hormonal birth control can all cause yeast infections. The risk of yeast infections is increased by:[7]
    • Wearing tight underwear or non-cotton panties. These can increase the temperature around the vagina and increase the moisture levels. For some women, the panty material itself can be irritating.
    • A weakened immune system.
    • Using vaginal douches or perfumed feminine hygiene sprays.
    • Vaginal trauma (scratches in the vagina caused by inserting objects like tampons or during rough sex).
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    Know when to get medical attention. Since different infections often have similar symptoms, it's critical that your doctor make a diagnosis so you get the correct treatment. See your doctor if you have any symptoms of a vaginal infection. Your doctor will prescribe a course of treatment, but if you don't notice an improvement after three days, have a fever, if the discharge symptoms worsen, or a new rash appears anywhere on your body contact your doctor.[8]
    • Keep in mind that recurrent yeast infections can be a sign of a more serious underlying disorder such as diabetes, cancer or HIV-AIDs. Recurrent yeast infections might suggest there's a problem with your immune system.
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    Get a physical examination. At the doctor’s office, your physician will probably take a sample of the vaginal discharge, ask for a urine sample and perform a vaginal exam. This exam may be uncomfortable but it is usually over quickly. The discharge will be tested for the presence of bacteria, yeast or other organisms such as Trichomonas.
    • Your doctor will also ask about your sexual history, menstruation, vaginal hygiene, and any medications you're taking.[9]
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    Learn how to handle recurring infections. Since different types of vaginal infections are treated differently, it's critical to get the correct diagnosis from a doctor before you start any treatment. Usually, after your first vaginal infection, you'll be able to tell when you have an infection, but it's still important to find out the type of infection.
    • Untreated or incorrectly treated bacterial infections can cause complications like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), pre-term births and low-birth weight babies and can put a woman at higher risk of sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), chlamydia and gonorrhea.[10]
    • Untreated or incorrectly treated Trichomoniasis infections can also lead to increased risk of HIV.[11]

Part 2
Treating Vaginal Infections

  1. Image titled Prevent Yeast Infections from Antibiotics Step 4
    Take medication. Your doctor will recommend a course of treatment once your vaginal infection is diagnosed. Treatment will depend on the type of infection, how extensive or severe it is and how long you have had the infection. These are typical treatments for:
    • Bacterial Vaginosis: Antibiotics like metronidazole or clindamycin. These are considered safe if you are pregnant.[12] Male partners usually don’t need treatment, but female partners should be informed and tested.[13]
    • Yeast Infection: Antifungal creams, ointments, oral dose of fluconazole, or vaginal suppositories.[14] Examples of these treatments are butoconazole, clotrimazole, miconazole and terconazole. Your doctor can prescribe them or they are available (in weaker doses) over-the-counter at your pharmacy.
    • Recurrent or more complicated yeast infections: Higher doses of medications used to treat yeast infections or you may be told to take them for a longer period of time. Since your partner may be the source of your recurring yeast infections, your partner may need to be treated as well.[15]
    • Trichomoniasis: A single dose of either metronidazole or tinidazole. These antibiotics are also considered safe if you are pregnant. Trichomoniasis is an STI, so make sure your sexual partner(s) are treated as well. You should wait for 7 days after treatment before you resume sexual activities.[16]
  2. Image titled Prevent Bacterial Vaginosis from Recurring Step 15
    Consider douching. Douching is the procedure of washing or cleaning out the inside of the vagina with water or other fluids. While many doctors believe douching can increase the risk of bacterial infections, you can douche sparingly during an infection. In general, douching isn't recommended unless you have an infection, because the vagina naturally cleans itself.
    • Douching can actually introduce bacteria, causing vaginal infections and other serious infections like pelvic inflammatory disease. There are no known methods to reduce your risk of infection from douching.[17]
  3. Image titled Have a Healthy Vagina Step 2
    Try douching. You can buy prepackaged mixes for douching in most pharmacies and drug stores. These usually come in a bottle with a curved neck or a bag. Get into the shower or bath taking care not to slip. With one hand, spread your labia (the “lips” that are on either side of the vagina) and find the vaginal opening. Hold the bottle or bag in the other hand and gently squirt the douche upward through the tube or nozzle into your vagina. The mixture will come back out through your vagina. Do this twice a day for four days and then daily until all your symptoms disappear.[18] You can also make your own douching liquid using one of the following mixtures:
    • Pure apple cider vinegar which is an antibacterial agent that can restore the acidic pH of the vagina.
    • A mixture of equal parts warm distilled water and 3% hydrogen peroxide. The water must be distilled so that it's sterile and free of bacteria.
    • A mixture of essential tea tree oil and distilled water. Combine two to three drops of essential oil in one cup of distilled water for antifungal properties. Never ingest tea tree oil.
  4. Image titled Get Rid of a Yeast Infection at Home Step 2
    Insert probiotic suppositories. When used as suppositories, probiotics can treat trichomoniasis and prevent yeast infections.[19] Purchase probiotic capsules that contain Bifidobacterium longum; Lactobacillus rhamnosus; Bifidobacterium infantis; Lactobacillus acidophilus; or Lactobacillus reuteri HA-188.
    • Be sure to take probiotic capsules according to the manufacturer's recommendations.
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    Use yogurt as a suppository. At night, fill a 10 mL syringe with plain yogurt. Insert the syringe into your vagina and depress the plunger, filling your vagina with yogurt. Go to bed, but make sure to wear a sanitary pad since the yogurt can make a mess when you stand back up in the morning. You may even want to wear a thin pad during the day. Continue using the yogurt as a suppository every night until your symptoms disappear, usually within a week or ten days.[20]
    • You can also insert a tampon covered with yogurt, but tampons without the applicator can be difficult and uncomfortable to insert.
    • Yogurt contains probiotics that can repopulate your vagina and restore a healthy bacterial balance.[21][22] This can help treat bacterial infections, yeast infections, and trichomoniasis.
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    Eat yogurt. If you have recurrent bacterial infections, consider getting probiotics through yogurt. Probiotics can be effective in preventing future infections. Eat 150 grams of yogurt that has 4 to 5 billion Colony Forming Units (CFU) every day. Make sure to read the label for this information.
    • While more research is needed, some studies suggest that bacterial cultures in yogurt or probiotic supplements can populate the vagina.[23]
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    Take a boric acid suppository for a yeast infection. Purchase a boric acid suppository and insert one capsule into your vagina every day. You may want to do this at night to ensure that it stays in place. Continue inserting the boric acid for two weeks to treat the infection. Once the infection is gone, you can use a boric acid suppository to prevent recurrent yeast infections. Just insert one capsule two nights a week for six months to a year.[24]
    • Don't try to make your own suppository since boric acid can be irritating. You should never directly apply it to your vagina or take boric acid orally.

Part 3
Recovering From and Preventing Vaginal Infections

  1. Image titled Stop Vaginal Bleeding During Pregnancy Step 12
    Know when to go back to the doctor. Contact your doctor if your symptoms don't improve, if you develop a fever, have difficulty or pain when you urinate, have painful sex, or experience abdominal pain.[25]
    • You should always inform your doctor when using natural treatments.
    • Usually, you can take oral medications while using the natural treatments.
  2. Image titled Have a Healthy Vagina Step 1
    Keep the area clean. Use a very mild soap and warm water to wash your genital area. Dry yourself with a clean towel or air dry. You can also try drying the area with a blow dryer set on cool.
    • Avoid bubble baths, bath oils, talc, or powder (especially powder which contains cornstarch). These can irritate the area and provide food for infection-causing microorganisms.[26]
  3. Image titled Get Rid of Vaginal Odor Fast Step 2
    Avoid fragrances and irritants. Use a mild and fragrance free soap for washing your panties. It's a good idea to double rinse your underwear. This ensures that all the detergent is gone. Do not use fabric softeners or dryer sheets since they contain chemicals that may irritate your vagina.
    • Don't use feminine hygiene products, which can irritate the vulva. These include deodorant sanitary pads, all feminine sprays and deodorants, any products containing petroleum jelly, oils or greases.[27]
  4. Image titled Get Rid of Vaginal Odor Fast Step 4
    Practice good hygiene. After using the restroom, use white, soft toilet tissue and remember to wipe from the front. This minimizes the risk of infection from bowel bacteria. If you use tampons during the day, replace them every few hours depending on your flow and avoid using tampons with fragrance.[28]
    • Do not leave tampons in overnight. Use sanitary pads instead.
  5. Image titled Maintain a Clean and Healthy Vagina Step 2
    Wear non-irritating underwear. Choose white, 100 percent-cotton underwear. Cotton allows your genital area to stay cool and dry.[29] The white underwear avoids irritants that may be in different dyes. Avoid underwear made with nylon, acetate or any synthetic fibers. You should also avoid wearing thong underwear which can irritate the genital area.
    • Avoid scratching or rubbing your genitals.
    • Avoid wearing pantyhose. These trap heat and moisture which can allow bacteria, yeast and other organisms to thrive. Instead, wear nylons with a cotton panty insert.


  • Symptoms can differ depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. This is because the hormonal changes you experience can affect the composition of the bacteria in the vagina and the characteristics (like the pH) of the vaginal environment.[30][31]
  • Antibiotics are prescribed for BV and for trichomoniasis, but they are not effective on yeast infections. Over-the-counter treatments are available for yeast infections, but make certain you know the type of infection you have before treating it.
  • While natural treatments like yogurt suppositories have been used by women for many years, they may not work for everyone. If you don't see improvement after 3 to 4 days, see your doctor.
  • One natural treatment recommends inserting a whole peeled clove of garlic into the vagina to treat yeast infections. Replace the garlic every 4 hours for a week or until the symptoms disappear.[32] More research is needed to determine how effective this treatment is.[33]
  • Use Curasept periodontal gel and apply in and around the vagina. This gel is used in dentistry to treat dental infections, but is useful also for vaginal bacterial and possibly yeast infections. Curasept contains 0.5% cyclohexadiene, a disinfectant which has been shown to be effective in treating BV.[34]

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Categories: Infectious Diseases