Yeast infection is mainly caused due to the overgrowth of Candida albicans in our body which is a type of fungus and normally inhabits the moist areas of our body like the genital and urinary tract, stomach, mouth, and even the intestine in comparatively small numbers. But when these yeasts get a conducive environment like with high pH levels, which are caused due to imbalance in hormones and diet, they start replicating at a faster rate and quickly cause a yeast infection.
In the vaginal tract, yeast infection can result in itching, swelling, redness and cottage cheese like discharge that has a fishy odour. Washing with baking soda water can provide some relief from the pain and burning sensation to some extent. Some factors like illness, antibiotics, upset stomach and stress can worsen the conditions so consulting with the doctor for proper medication is equally important. Taking baking soda bath for yeast infection can give an initial benefit, but it won’t clear a yeast infection over the long term, so an alternate form of treatment is advised.
How Effective Can Taking Baking Soda Bath for Yeast Infection Be?
To some extent baking soda may be helpful, but it is not really a good idea to use it regularly in the bath. Many people believe that if they neutralise the acidity of their genital tract then the yeast infection can be cured and that is why they use baking soda for its alkalinity. In fact, this is far from the truth, as having high levels of alkaline in system can trigger more yeast infections in the body.
In 2014, a study made by some Lithuanian scientists found that a certain concentration of baking soda can reduce the growth of Candida albicans. However, the Candida cells changed it’s shaped to fibrous forms from oval if the concentration of baking soda is reduced. But at higher concentration, although baking soda reduced the Candida cells, it also killed various other beneficial cells in the human body. Thus using baking soda bath for yeast infection cannot fully cure the problem and moreover is harmful for the body.
Taking baking soda bath for yeast infection can be harmful because baking soda increases the PH level of the vagina. The yeast grows faster if the vaginal pH is higher. So baking soda should be used carefully as it can damage the healthy tissues of our body and may even help the yeast in increasing the infected issue which can become malignant.
A study in the ‘Brazilian Oral Research Journal’ published in 2009 looked at the effects of sodium bicarbonate on Candida cells. In order to examine the effect of 5% sodium bicarbonate on the adherence capacity of Candida albicans, a test was done by collecting 4mm samples from 50 patients. The sample was acquired using metallic matrix. This sample was then chemically polished, sterilized and painted in Sabouraud broth, then injected with Candida albicans. After 24 hours, at a temperature of 37 degrees, this sample was grouped into four depending upon the material used for disinfection. After this experiment, it was seen that 5% sodium bicarbonate did show reduction of Candida albicans adherence levels.
This study showed that 5% sodium bicarbonate can bring about a reduction in the Candida albican cells. However, caution should be advised when using sodium bicarbonate frequently, as it also increases the body’s ph level to ‘alkaline’, which can also trigger yeast infections as well.
Another study published on 2003 in the ‘Journal of Crop protection’ looked to understand the influence of sodium bicarbonate on Candida Oleophila on papaya. When treated with 2% sodium bicarbonate, there was not much significant influence observed on the growth of the agent. It effects increased only when combined with Candida Oleophila which caused a sincere reduction of the disease at a temperature of 13.5 degrees. Growth of gloeosporioides reduced due to Candida Oleophila in both naturally infested as well as inoculated fruits. Thus, sodium bicarbonate did stop the growth signs of Candida Oleophila in papaya whilst in storage. But again, although sodium bicarbonate can provide an initial benefit, it is not ideal to use it for treating yeast infections because of its high alkaline properties.
Effect of Baking Soda for Yeast infection Diaper Rash:
Baking soda is believed to be effective in treating diaper rashes. But excessive use of baking soda can create health problems no matter how much innocuous or household the ingredient may be. Using excessive baking soda for diaper rash can even lead the small baby to suffer from hypokalemic metabolic alkalosis, which is the presence of excess bicarbonate in the blood which can make the blood alkaline. Baking soda, if absorbed through the skin of babies can cause health issues. If during pregnancy, a women takes baking soda bath for yeast infection, the bicarbonate will get absorbed through skin. The bicarbonate is then transferred very slowly through the placenta, so the chances that the foetus will get infected immediately are low. But excessive use of baking soda can be dangerous for both the mother and foetus.
Baking Soda Bath:
By using baking soda yeast infections are not cured properly, so to eliminate Candida overgrowth, other salts like Epsom salts are also used. But all such salts increase the body’s alkalinity and can interfere with the number of good and natural bacteria in our body causing trouble.
Baking soda can sometimes be an effective killer of yeast and harmful bacteria, but it should not be used directly and must be mixed with other ingredients for effective results. When using baking soda for yeast infections try mixing it with hydrogen peroxide. Mix 3% hydrogen peroxide with about 1 to 2 tablespoon of baking soda and this can be used as toothpaste that has anti-fungal properties. Sea salt along with baking soda can also prove effective in treatment of fungal infection. Using baking soda bath for yeast infection can also help if you mix tea tree oil in the warm bath water. Detox bath can also prove effective in yeast infection using Epsom salt along with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. However, there are much better options out there for treating yeast infections, so try not to prolong the use of Baking soda as it can be harmful as well.
Tea Tree Oil Bath
Tea tree oil can feel invigorating in shampoos or also when using it in a sitz bath. A sitz bath is a shallow bath that is designed to allow water to come in contact with the area around the rectum and vagina. If you feel any discomfort from the tea tree oil in the sitz bath, discontinue the treatment immediately.
You can also use this oil, albeit not as capable of killing Candida due to greater dilution, in a regular bath. Simply add some tea tree oil to your bath water and take a long relaxing soak. This may be a great way to aid the treatment of skin yeast infections. If you have a rash caused by Candida, soaking in a warm bath treated with tea tree oil can have some therapeutic effect. Add some lemon grass essential oil to the bath to help unclog pores and revitalize your skin!
Cynthia Olsen, in her 1999 book Australian Tea Tree Oil, suggests making a sitz bath with 25 drops of tea tree oil plus 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel. For using this oil in a regular bath, Cynthia suggest adding 10 drops of tea tree oil to a full bath along with the following salts and oil: ½ cup borax, ½ cup baking soda, ½ cup sea salt, ½ teaspoon of rosemary oil, and 1 cup epsom salt. A sitz bath, with its higher concentration of essential oil, will be more therapeutic; however, a regular bath with the aforementioned salts and oils can be very soothing and relaxing.
Formic acid and acetic acid induce in pathogenic Candida – Current Microbiology Journal – 2014 – By Lastauskienė E, Zinkevičienė A and Girkontaitė I
Sodium bicarbonate on Candida albicans adherence – Brazilian Oral Research Journal 2014 – By Sousa FA, Paradella TC and Koga-Ito CY
Sodium bicarbonate & Candida oleophila to control anthracnose – Crop Protection – 2003 – By S.U. Gamagaea, D. Sivakumara, and R.S Wilson Wijeratnam
Infectious Diseases of Genital Tract – Book by Richard L. Sweet, and Ronald S. Gibbs – 2009