Can an Ingredient in Yogurt Actually Make a Yeast Infection Worse?

Yogurt is a home remedy sometimes recommended for the treatment and prevention of yeast infections. The active cultures in yogurt are thought to help fight off an overgrowth of yeast. Yogurt may be eaten or applied topically to treat yeast infections, though these treatment options have not been medically proven to work. If you decide to use yogurt, it is important to choose plain yogurt, or low-sugar types. Yeast feeds on sugar and yogurt with high sugar content can actually worsen a yeast infection.

A woman is eating yogurt. (Image: Antonio_Diaz/iStock/Getty Images)

Method of Action

The College of Charleston explains that sugar can cause yeast to grow. The active cultures in yogurt can help counteract yeast. If you choose very sugary yogurt, the beneficial properties of the yogurt may be overruled by the sugar that feeds the yeast.

Better Choices

Some yogurts are very sweet and taste more like pudding than yogurt. Instead of choosing these types, opt for plain yogurt and flavor it with a little fresh fruit if desired. Vanilla yogurt is a better choice than the sweetened yogurts because it often has less sugar. Read the ingredient labels closely for the sugar content. If you plan on using the yogurt topically, you definitely want to choose plain yogurt that doesn't contain any sugar to avoid feeding the yeast at the source.

Yogurt Benefits

Yogurt contains live cultures including L. acidophilus. Eating 8 oz. of yogurt daily may help prevent yeast from growing and may even stop yeast growth. While treating yeast infections may not work for everyone, they do offer a very inexpensive treatment option for some, with few side effects. Net Wellness explains that plain yogurt can be applied to a tampon or used in a douche. Never use sweetened yogurt internally, to avoid worsening the infection.


Consult with your doctor if you have a yeast infection. If the symptoms do not improve within a couple of days, discontinue use and ask your doctor for conventional treatments. If you are pregnant, talk to your health-care provider immediately. Yeast infections are common during pregnancy and may lead to complications if untreated.

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