The most common causes of vaginal infections are:
- Bacterial vaginosis (BV)
- Yeast infections
- Trichomoniasis—a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
Some won't have problems. Others may have pain, itching, and swelling. Medicine may be needed to treat some infections. If you have symptoms, see your doctor. Some infections can lead to more severe problems.
Natural therapies may help to improve symptoms. They may restore the balance of healthy bacteria. It may also decrease the chance of some problems coming back. Natural therapy appears most effective when done with standard medical care.
- Probiotics containing Lactobacillus strains in combination with standard treatment for yeast infections and BV.A1-A9
Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.
Herbs and Supplements to Be Used With Caution
Talk to your doctor about all herbs or supplements you are taking. Some may interact with your treatment plan or health conditions. These include:
- Boric acid—Take it as instructed. It can be toxic if taken internally. Do not apply boric acid to open wounds or to an infant’s skin. Avoid boric acid if you’re pregnant.
A1. Martinez RC, Franceschini SA, Patta MC, et al. Improved treatment of vulvovaginal candidiasis with fluconazole plus probiotic Lactobacillus rhamnosus GR-1 and Lactobacillus reuteri RC-14. Lett Appl Microbiol. 2009;48(3):269-274.
A2. Oduyebo OO, Anorlu RI, Ogunsola FT. The effects of antimicrobial therapy on bacterial vaginosis in non-pregnant women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(3):CD006055.
A3. Senok AC, Verstraelen H, Temmerman M, Botta GA. Probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2009;(4):CD006289.
A4. Ya W, Reifer C, Miller LE. Efficacy of vaginal probiotic capsules for recurrent bacterial vaginosis: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2010;203(2):120.e1-e6.
A5. Vujic G, Jajac Knez A, Despot Stefanovic V, Kuzmic Vrbanovic V. Efficacy of orally applied probiotic capsules for bacterial vaginosis and other vaginal infections: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013:168(1):75-79
A6. Huang H, Song L, Zhao W. Effects of probiotics for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis in adult women: a meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials. Arch Gynecol Obstet. 2014;289(6):1225-1234.
A7. Kovachev SM, Vatcheva-Dobrevska RS. Local probiotic therapy for vaginal candida albicans infections. Probiotics Antimicrob Proteins. 2015;7(1):38-44.
A8. Heczko PB, Tomusiak A, Adamski P, et al. Supplementation of standard antibiotic therapy with oral probiotics for bacterial vaginosis and aerobic vaginitis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. BMC Womens Health. 2015;15:115.
A9. Xie HY, Feng D, Wei DM, Mei L, Chen H, Wang X, Fang F. Probiotics for vulvovaginal candidiasis in non-pregnant women. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;11:CD010496.
B. Boric Acid
B1. Ray D, Goswami R, Banerjee U, Dadhwal V, Goswami D, Mandal P, Sreenivas V, Kochupillai N. Prevalence of Candida glabrata and its response to boric acid vaginal suppositories in comparison with oral fluconazole in patients with diabetes and vulvovaginal candidiasis. Diabetes Care. 2007;30(2):312-317.
B2. Khameneie KM, Arianpour N, Roozegar R, Aklamli M, Amiri MM. Fluconazole and boric acid for the treatment of vaginal candidiasis—new words about an old issue. East Afr Med J. 2013;90(4):117-123.
C. Vitamin C
C1. Petersen EE, Genet M, Caserini M, Palmieri R. Efficacy of vitamin C vaginal tablets in the treatment of bacterial vaginosis: a randomised, double blind, placebo controlled clinical trial. Arzneimittelforschung. 2011;61(4):260-265.
C2. Krasnopolsky VN1, Prilepskaya VN, Polatti F, et al. Efficacy of vitamin C vaginal tablets as prophylaxis for recurrent bacterial vaginosis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Clin Med Res. 2013;5(4):309-315.
Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Richard Glickman-Simon, MD Last Updated: 3/2/2019