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Yeast infections are a relatively common occurrence for women. According to Harvard Health, 75 percent of all women have or will have at least one vaginal yeast infection in their lives.

Garlic is known to have positive biological effects on your immune system, cardiovascular system, cancers, and other conditions. It’s also known to slow the growth of the Candida fungus that causes yeast infections. Read on to find out if you should use garlic to cure your yeast infection.

Most yeast infections in women are vaginal. They’re caused by an infection of a fungus from the Candida family. These yeast cells exist naturally within your vagina, but an imbalance of other good bacteria can cause the yeast to multiply.

Symptoms of a yeast infections typically include:

Garlic is known for its antibiotic qualities. Allicin — the major biologically active component of garlic — exhibits antibacterial and antifungal properties and is used in medical treatment and studies.

While there’s no definitive medical answer to whether garlic can cure a yeast infection, allicin can be utilized to prevent yeast infections or improve current conditions, especially when it’s used along with a regimen such as the Candida diet or medication.

How to use garlic for a yeast infection

Garlic can be administered orally or topically. Oral tablets typically come in the form of allicin, but garlic can also be consumed raw or within your food to promote good bacteria and prevent the growth of Candida albicans yeast.

You can purchase garlic extract or tablets over the counter. Be sure to read the labels regarding dosage.

Topical garlic extract cream is also available. Most topical creams are labeled for external use only, meaning you should only use them around the outside of your vaginal area. If you experience a burning sensation, wipe the cream off with a cool cloth.

Whether you use oral or topical garlic for a yeast infection, consult with your doctor to determine if it’s a good course of action for you to take.

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Garlic and yeast infection studies

Medical studies have tested the effectiveness of garlic on various diseases, but they’ve not been large or high-quality studies. In a 2006 study, garlic was tested against 18 Candida strains. Researchers found that garlic may be promising in reversing the effects of fungus growth.

However, research from the University of Melbourne showed that short-term oral doses of garlic were inconclusive.

A 2010 Iranian study compared the effectiveness of a thyme and garlic cream with clotrimazole, an antifungal cream used to treat vaginal yeast infections, oral thrush, athlete’s foot, jock itch, and other conditions. They found no difference in responses to treatment between the two.

While some women have seen positive results when using garlic for a yeast infection, many have experienced less than desirable side effects.

Some side effects of oral garlic pills or consumption include:

Side effects of topical garlic application can include:

Studies are inconclusive as to whether garlic, garlic tablets, or garlic extract can provide a cure for yeast infections. However, its chemical properties have been shown to aid in stopping the growth of the Candida fungus responsible for yeast infections. Adding garlic to your diet may also prevent future yeast infections.

If you’re more inclined to natural remedies, ask your doctor about trying a garlic-thyme cream in place of a traditional antifungal treatment.

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a yeast infection, contact your doctor for a diagnosis and to go over your treatment options.