Fact Or Fiction: Are Tampons Dipped In Yogurt A Natural Cure For Yeast Infections?

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/

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    • Jay

      Is it safe? NO!
      Yoghurt is safe, but using tampons to apply is another matter…

      Tampons are a major cause of vaginal infections because they prevent vaginal cleaning, encourage growth of harmful flora within the vagina, and effect vaginal pH by holding flow. Tampons thus should NOT be used during a vaginal infection as it can make the infection significantly worse, particularly if using chemically treated brands.

      If women suffer re-occurring yeast or bacterial infections what sanitary protection is used is often the first thing we ask about because these infections are common in women who use tampons or commercial sanitary pads (it’s recommended to use menstrual cups or softcups). Even if the infection does not occur during use, the effect these products have on vaginal health is such that it causes imbalance which can be thrown off further at any point in their cycle.

      Tampons should NEVER be worn when not menstruating because even if yoghurt coated they’re still absorbent so will dry-out and damage vaginal tissues, this significantly increases the risks of TSS. Furthermore tampons should not be used with unusual discharge as this may be a sign of overgrowth in bacteria responsible for TSS – even if you know for sure unusual discharge is down to a yeast infection, if your vaginal flora is out of balance it may lead to increased TSS risk.

      Yoghurt is a fine treatment for yeast, at very least it can help re-balance the vaginal flora – just remember to use plain pro-biotic unsweetened yoghurt and wash well (water only) after use. For ease of insertion freeze the yoghurt and insert into the vagina this way, it’s a good idea to wear old underwear or cloth pads to prevent mess.

    • Kim Foster MD

      Yogurt-dipped tampons are a fine idea for a natural remedy for yeast infections…with one little logistic problem. Has anyone ever tried to insert a tampon after dipping it in yogurt?? I am not ashamed to say that I tried this a few years ago, and the cotton tampon itself swelled up, absorbing the yogurt (of course it did–it’s designed to absorb fluid!) and could I insert it then? No, I could not. Humph. Fail.

    • Alisha

      I have absolutely had success using yogurt as a remedy for a yeast infection.
      I used to have them often (thankfully not anymore) I couldnt take di-flucan because it stopped working. My mom advised me to purchase one of those reusable pink rubber douche bottles, fill it with yogurt and put some yogurt up there. It worked incredibly well, and was so cooling on the burning sensation of the infection.

      I did not put yogurt on a tampon- but have had wonderful success (ah, relief!) with the use of yogurt in general. (A sanitary pad protected my sheets etc, from yogurt getting everywhere)

      Yes- plain yogurt gets a big thumbs up from me.

    • M

      I just recently tried a number of different things to curb a yeast infection. First, I have to agree with Kim Foster’s comment – it was pretty much impossible to insert a tampon after it’d been soaked in yogurt. Instead I basically did my best and assumed that some amount of yogurt at all would probably do some good. Plus the yogurt was instantly soothing.

      More than that, though, I read somewhere else that Olive Leave Extract had helped. I bought a bottle at Whole Foods and took two pills, three times a day. By the time I bought the pills I was miserable. Within 24 hours I was feeling significantly better, and three days later I was good as new. I’m a believer now… The bottle was only $10 – so if nothing else it’s worth a shot.

    • Jenn

      I’ve tried the garlic thing and it works. Garlic juices on irritated skin stings like the dickens, though. And make sure to thread a little string through the clove and tie a knot in it (like a tampon string) to make sure you can fish it out easily in the morning. Oh, and you will smell like garlic all day.

    • Juniper

      It is important to look at what might be causing the yeast infection. Studies have been conducted that linked some brands of sanitary pads with irritation, soreness, itching etc… If you find that you are getting symptoms like this around your period then trying switching to natural sanitary pads like the Natracare pads (made from chlorine free cotton rather than synthetic materials)

    • HollyS

      Although I’ve never used it for a yeast infection, the yogurt tampon is a MIRACLE cure for any kind of unwanted odor. I have spent years being uncomfortable and trying to hide smells that I thought were unnatural until last week. I looked online & discovered that people were using the yogurt tampon method for removing bad scents from “down below” I went and bought plain yogurt, slathered the cotton part of the tampon into the yogurt & inserted it. I also rubbed yogurt all over the outside as well. It says to leave it for an hour. So I used old underwear & pulled them up over everything. A little messy but just don’t do a lot during that hour. After the hour I washed everything off and out & was immediately impressed with the results. It has now been 6 days since the yogurt treatment and I have NO UNWANTED SMELL. Like… At all. I have NEVER been so comfortable and confident. I’m planning on doing it once a week for the next month and then seeing if after that if any smells return. Doctors have offered so many things that have NEVER worked. Who would have thought that a $2.00 container of yogurt would be the miracle cure that women have been searching for.