Can Apple Cider Vinegar Treat Yeast Infections?

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A yeast infection occurs when yeast, a type of fungus that's normal in the vagina, overgrows leading to an infection.

There is a natural balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina, and they keep each other in check. But when one is low, the other can grow out of control. For example, taking an antibiotic often leads to yeast infection because the medication kills the good bacteria in the vagina. 

Apple cider vinegar is believed to have effects that are both antifungal and antimicrobial (destroying microorganisms like bacteria). It's been found to lower the number of Candida yeast in a lab setting. However, its safety and effectiveness for vaginal yeast infections are yet to be proven.  

This article discusses the effects of apple cider vinegar on yeast infections. It also covers how to use apple cider vinegar and when to call your doctor.

apple cider vinegar

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How Apple Cider Vinegar Affects Yeast 

Apple cider vinegar may be helpful against overgrowth of both yeast and bacteria in the body, although research is limited. There isn't enough data showing the effectiveness of apple cider vinegar in treating vaginal yeast infections.

A 2015 study found that apple cider vinegar has a fungicidal effect on dental stomatitis, a yeast infection in the mouth. 

In a 2018 case study, the participant applied apple cider vinegar 5% acetic acid to the mouth twice daily. The apple cider vinegar reduced Candida yeast by 94% and effectively treated oral candidiasis. 

In another small case study, apple cider vinegar was effective in treating a yeast infection that didn't respond to traditional treatment. Further research is needed to see if apple cider vinegar can be used as a safe yeast infection treatment.

Other studies have found that apple cider vinegar can kill harmful bacteria. However, compared to its effect on bacteria, apple cider vinegar is less effective at combating yeast overgrowth.

Taking apple cider vinegar by mouth has been shown to lower triglyceride levels and improve cholesterol in rat studies. It may also help decrease inflammation and boost immune response or the body's defense against infection. However, this has not yet been studied in humans. 

Most studies have determined that apple cider vinegar has the potential to be used for medical purposes. Further research is needed to support these benefits. 

Diabetes and Yeast Infections

Apple cider vinegar may be especially helpful if you have diabetes. It has been proven to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels after a meal. In fact, taking apple cider vinegar by mouth for 100 days has been shown to improve insulin resistance in one patient.

Because diabetes is a risk factor for developing yeast infections, adding apple cider vinegar to one’s diet may have a preventive effect. 

How to Use Apple Cider Vinegar 

If you’d like to try adding apple cider vinegar to your health regimen, it should be taken by mouth. Using apple cider vinegar directly on the vagina hasn't been proven safe or effective, and may be harmful to vaginal tissue. It may also increase the risk of vaginal infections by disrupting the pH balance of the vagina.

Apple cider vinegar can be taken as a supplement in the form of liquid, capsules, or gummies. There is no approved dosage, so follow the directions on the package.

To take apple cider vinegar orally, dilute the vinegar in cool or warm water first. Check your bottle of apple cider vinegar to determine the amount of acetic acid in it. If you’re not sure, dilute a tablespoon in at least 8 ounces of water to prevent irritation to the skin. Apple cider vinegar can also be used as a dressing for salads and vegetables.

Even diluted vinegar can be very irritating to the skin, so adding apple cider vinegar to a bath is not recommended. Using it in a bath can also disrupt the good bacteria in your vagina, leading to an imbalance of bacteria and yeast. This puts you more at risk of experiencing future yeast infections and a bacterial infection known as bacterial vaginosis. 


You may have read about home remedies that involve inserting apple cider vinegar into your vagina. These stories may discuss using a tampon soaked in apple cider vinegar or douching with it.

These methods are not safe and should never be recommended. Apple cider vinegar is acidic and can cause chemical burns to the skin.

When to Call a Healthcare Provider

Most over-the-counter (OTC) yeast infection treatments take a few days to work. If you have been taking apple cider vinegar with no results for three days, see your healthcare provider. It is common to assume that any vaginal pain or discomfort is caused by a yeast infection.

However, it’s estimated that up to two-thirds of women who buy OTC yeast infection treatments don't have a true yeast infection. See your healthcare provider to determine the cause of your symptoms, as well as the appropriate treatment.  

The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are itching, burning, and a thick, white vaginal discharge that looks like cottage cheese. If you have additional symptoms, see your healthcare provider since you could be experiencing a different infection.

Also, call your healthcare provider if you experience any side effects of apple cider vinegar. Vinegar is acidic and can cause skin irritation and even chemical burns. If you have experienced any skin redness or irritation after using apple cider vinegar, see your healthcare provider. 


Apple cider vinegar has been found to lower yeast levels in a lab setting. However, there isn't yet enough research for it to be recommended as a safe and effective treatment for vaginal yeast infections.

If you do want to try adding apple cider vinegar to your diet, be sure to dilute it in water first. Try using a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in at least a cup (8 ounces) of water before drinking. Never put apple cider vinegar in your vagina since it can cause chemical burns.

If you think you may have a yeast infection, and the symptoms have lasted more than three days, contact your doctor.

A Word From Verywell

The initial research on apple cider vinegar’s antifungal and antimicrobial effects looks promising but has yet to be proven. Talk with your healthcare provider before starting an oral regimen.

It’s important to remember that there is no approved dose of apple cider vinegar, so it is best to greatly dilute it first before use. In addition, avoid any treatments that recommend applying apple cider vinegar directly to the vagina. Doing so can lead to serious side effects.

As always, check with your healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns.

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7 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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