Doctors warn against use of garlic to treat yeast infections

Thursday April 25 2019

Garlic. Women have been told not to use garlic to treat yeast infection. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP


Top gynaecologists in the country have warned women against using garlic for yeast infections, citing risk for further infections.

The doctors said there are no studies to support the claim that garlic has anti-fungal properties, and since a yeast infection is fungal, there are drugs for treating it.

Led by Dr John Ongech, a gynaecologist and obstetrician at Kenyatta National Hospital, Dr Paul Mitei, western region gynaecologist, and California-based Dr Jen Gunter, they called on women to seek medical attention whenever they suspect they have a yeast infection.

On Monday, a woman took to social media to seek a remedy describing her symptoms as itchiness and a white discharge from her private area.

Out of the 892 comments that she got, almost half advised her to insert garlic into her genital area. The comments indicated that the symptoms would disappear within three days.

“I remember I had the same problem back in 2017, I could not stand the itchiness, a friend of mine advised me to insert garlic, and within two days it was gone,” wrote Cecilia.



Another one wrote: “Take a clove of fresh garlic and peel off the natural white shell that covers it, leaving the clove intact. At bedtime, put the clove in the private area. In the morning, remove the garlic clove and throw it in the toilet. I did this one time, if the itchiness goes on, continue for one or two days until all the itchiness is gone.”

However, Dr Ong’ech said it is wrong to insert garlic in private parts since it has chemicals that alter the pH of the area, hence may lead to problems in the future.

“The area is very sensitive, and if one uses any type of chemicals, it alters the pH. Garlic contains bacteria, which is very dangerous for the birth canal. When one has the symptoms, the only alternative is to see a doctor. There are antifungal drugs specifically for yeast infection,” Dr Ong’ech said.

Dr Gunter wrote on her Twitter handle that women need to be more careful, saying that the birth canal is the ‘perfect’ environment for the botulism bacteria to grow, which can be life-threatening.


Botulism, a condition caused by Clostridium botulinum bacteria, can be offset when someone eats food containing the toxins because it has not been properly canned, preserved or cooked.

Dr Gunter, a health columnist and author of The Vagina Bible, advises women not to take medical advice from anyone recommending vaginal garlic for yeast or anything else.

She explained that garlic contains allicin, which in the lab has shown to have antifungal properties.

"Bacteria from the soil can be pathogenic for the body. That is why we clean wounds. If you actually happen to have an inflamed yeasty vagina, soil bacteria would be more likely to infect it," she said.