When you write about health, friends (who assume you know what you’re talking about) come out of the woodwork with some interesting questions. One that’s come up on multiple occasions, from several friends, is: Is dipping tampons in yogurt a safe way to treat yeast infections? Mostly, this question is popular amongst ladies who like to a) save money and b) keep things natural down there. (Monistat is not only expensive, but it’s also full of chemicals that will be–excuse my French–all up in your vagina for a long time.)
So to find out whether yogurt is really a good cure for yeast, I asked Sara Gottfried, a Harvard-trained OB/GYN whose website proclaims: “I believe in eating your leafy greens rather than popping synthetic pills.” Here’s our fire-drill Q&A on the old tampon/yogurt trick:
Is it safe?
Is it effective?
We don’t really know. In medicine, we call this Lactobacillus recolonization (via yogurt or capsules). A recent review says this “shows promise for the treatment of both yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis” with little risk.
What are the best instructions for using this as a remedy?
I can’t give instruction since we don’t have a good study showing benefit with any particular method. Tori Hudson has capsules and other suppositories that my patients find helpful.
I’ve also heard of putting a garlic clove in the vagina to cure yeast infections. Is that safe and/or effective?
This has been proven “in vitro” but not in the human body according to Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2003 May;58(5):351-8. Common complementary and alternative therapies for yeast vaginitis and bacterial vaginosis: a systematic review. Van Kessel K, Assefi N, Marrazzo J, Eckert L.
Are there remedies other than OTC medicines that you recommend?
I recommend several other approaches. Yeast love a dark, moist, sugary hotel–so cut out sugar (including fruit) and don’t wear underwear.
Anything else patients should know?
I also recommend checking for insulin resistance, leaky gut syndrome and estrogen dominance.
About Sara Gottfried: Rather than treating problems and symptoms, I treat people. I treat women. Sometimes I prescribe botanical therapies with a very low risk profile. Sometimes I prescribe bio-identical hormones. Many times I prescribe both. With every patient I see, I consider her unique context, physiology, and preferences. Then invent a treatment plan to promote maximum health and happiness. It’s not one method fits all. It’s not fix-’em-up-and-send-’em-home. It’s a mission. My mission at the Gottfried Center—and in life—is to help women feel sexy, vital, and balanced from their cells to their souls.
But perhaps my biggest credential is that I believe in women, and I believe in tending their flames. I believe that proactively managing and optimizing health is your divine responsibility and a path to personal power. http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/