How long does it take coconut oil to cure a yeast infection?
In this brief guide, we will answer ‘how long does it take for coconut oil to cure a yeast infection?’ and also we will see if it is safe to use it and see other possible treatments for a yeast infection.
How long does it take for coconut oil to cure a yeast infection?
The immune response to fungal infections varies with respect to the fungal species encountered, the site of infection and especially, the immunological conditions of the host. Major characteristics of the immune response are the interdependence of various arms of the immune system and the interplay between host defenses and fungal pathogenic mechanisms (1).
Depending on the severity and treatment options, a yeast infection may take up to a few days to a few weeks to clear up. Coconut oil is used for mild yeast infections that may take about a few days (1 – 3 days) to clear up. However, it can take weeks or even months for subnutrited, oncological patients or immunocompromised individuals (1).
Can coconut oil be used to treat yeast infection?
Coconut (Cocos nucifera) is the unique source of various natural products, useful for the development of medicines against various diseases. The parts of its fruit like coconut kernel and tender coconut water are of a great medicinal value because of its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. The saturated fatty acids present in the coconut, such as lauric acid and other medium chain monoglycerides, are shown to have the capacity to alter microbial cell walls, penetrate and disrupt cell membranes, and inhibit enzymes involved in energy production and nutrient transfer, leading to the death of the bacteria and yeasts (2).
The following few pieces of research supports that coconut oil is effective against treating yeast infection.
A study suggests that coconut helps kill certain yeast species particularly Candida albicans was most severely affected by concentrated coconut oil. The study also claims that less coconut oil was needed to get rid of the yeast than fluconazole – a common antifungal prescribed for the treatment of yeast infection. Coconut oil has shown antifungal activity that is comparable to that of ketoconazole, an antifungal imidazole compound that has a significant activity against a broad range of superficial and systemic infections caused by pathogenic yeasts (2).
Another recent study used dogs as subjects which were treated with a mixture of essential oils that had coconut oil too. This mix was topically used for a month. The treatment had positive outcomes with no adverse effects or recurring episodes (3).
Many recent studies showed that virgin coconut oil is a natural based medicine that is effective at controlling yeast infection, especially from Candida albicans (4).
How to use coconut oil for yeast infection?
Out of so many varieties that are locally and internationally available of coconut oil, you need to choose the one that is 100% organic and pure coconut oil. You may need to check the smell as pure coconut oil won’t have a strong coconut smell to it.
You may treat the infection on yeast by applying coconut oil straight from the jar to the affected area. You can gently rub the oil into your skin or skin fold where the infection is. Make sure to wash your hand afterwards so that you are not accidentally spreading the infection.
If the mouth is infected with yeast, you may use a tablespoon or two of coconut oil and swish it around your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes. After a while, spit it out. Make sure you don’t eat or drink anything for the preceding 30 minutes.
For vaginal yeast infections, it is suggested to soak a clean tampon in coconut oil and insert it. It may also be applied directly into the site of the infection (4).
Does using coconut oil have any risk to it?
There is still no evidence or research that tells if coconut oil has any severe side effects to it. Still, it is safe to practice caution while using coconut oil for treating any yeast infection. On the counterpart, antibiotics and antifungal usage possibly contribute to a high incidence of adverse effects and drug resistance. Therefore, the use of effective natural medicine is favorable (4).
People that are allergic to coconut or coconut oil should avoid using coconut oil even to treat their infections.
If you are prescribed other treatments or ointments to treat your infection, it is best to stay away from coconut oil. Apart from antimicrobial properties coconut oil may also relieve skin inflammation due to its antioxidant property. As it acts as an antioxidant it is going to stabilize free radicals and neutralize reactive atoms which are the key factors of inflammation. Coconut oil not only acts as antimicrobial and antioxidant but also acts as a hydrating agent as well (5).
Also, if during pregnancy you experience a yeast infection or any other health condition you are going through, it is best to consult your doctor first before using it.
What are other ways to treat a yeast infection?
Following are some other options apart from coconut oil that may help you treat your infection better;
- Making dietary changes – reducing your sugar intake and increasing intake of prebiotics like yogurt
- Over the counter (OTC) treatments
- Prescription treatments
- Antifungal medicines
In this brief guide, we answered ‘how long does it take coconut oil to cure a yeast infection?’ and also we have dived into whether it is safe to use it and looked at other possible treatments for a yeast infection.
Hopefully, you found this guide helpful. If you have any queries or comments please do let us know.
- Shoham, Shmuel, and Stuart M. Levitz. The immune response to fungal infections. Brit j haematol, 2005, 129, 569-582.
- Shino, Beena, et al. Comparison of antimicrobial activity of chlorhexidine, coconut oil, probiotics, and ketoconazole on Candida albicans isolated in children with early childhood caries: an in vitro study, 2016, Scientifica.
- Nardoni, S., et al. Clinical and mycological evaluation of an herbal antifungal formulation in canine Malassezia dermatitis. J mycol medic, 2014, 24, 234-240.
- Zen, Putri Zelfitri, Desmiwarti Desmiwarti, and Sumaryati Syukur. Effect of Virgin Coconut Oil in The Treatment of Leucorrhea Caused by Candida Albicans Infection on Pregnant Women at Hospitals in Padan. Andalas Obs Gynec J, 2021, 5, 231-240.
- Dhondi, Sai Karthik, et al. Coconut Oil as a Therapeutic agent in Medication Induced Contact Dermatitis. Ind J Pharm Prac, 2020, 13, 355.