10 Natural Remedies To Treat An STD At Home
Home Remedies For STDs
- Tea tree oil
- Lemon balm
- Cranberry juice
A sexually transmitted disease causes uncomfortable symptoms like itchiness, discharge, sores, and pain. Natural remedies like aloe vera, Ashwagandha, garlic, lemon balm, yogurt, neem, and goldenseal can help ease symptoms and boost immunity. Topical relief with home remedies like ACV, ice, lemon juice, or even tea bags may also be more effective than you'd imagine!
Home Remedies For STDs
- Tea tree oil
- Lemon balm
- Cranberry juice
The best way to avoid contracting STDs is to always use a latex condom during sex. Or better still, if you know your partner has an STD, abstain altogether until they are treated and free of the parasite.
No doubt dealing with a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can be uncomfortable, painful, and even embarrassing. But that still shouldn't take away from the urgency of the problem. If you find yourself grappling with an STD, deal with it swiftly for your own sake as well as for your partner(s). For women, there's a more pressing need to do so because symptoms may sometimes worsen or cause more complications. For instance, if you're pregnant, an STD may adversely affect the development of the baby.1
While there are over 20 plus STDs, some of the major ones you may encounter are:
- Chlamydia which causes a burning sensation while urinating, as well as abnormal and smelly vaginal discharge and pain during intercourse for women. Men may see a discharge from the penis or itchiness and burning near the opening of the penis, and swollen or painful testicles.2
- Gonorrhea may not cause symptoms at first but left untreated, it could even result in pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or trouble conceiving for women. This is in addition to increased vaginal discharge and bleeding between periods. Painful urination may be a problem for both men and women. Men may also have problems with the prostate or testicles.3
- Genital herpes result in sores in the genital or rectal area, as well as on the buttocks, thighs. These may be painful and even break.4
- Syphilis causes tiny painless sores and swollen lymph nodes or a non-itchy rash on the hands and feet. In pregnant women, it may affect the health of the baby and even be fatal.5
- HPV may result in warts on the body. But, more ominously, it has been linked to cervical, vulvar, vaginal, penile, anal, and some forms of throat and oral cancers.6
- Trichomoniasis doesn't typically present with symptoms in men. But some men may see itchiness inside the penis, burning after ejaculation as well as after urination, and discharge from the penis. Women usually experience discomfort when they have sex or notice a gray or yellow-green vaginal discharge, vaginal odor, and burning or soreness of the vulva and the vagina. They may also find urination painful.7
- HIV/AIDS initially begins with flu-like symptoms like fever, chills, night sweats, muscle aches, a sore throat, and swollen glands which may show up and subside intermittently. Major signs such as weakness, weight loss, fatigue, sores, diarrhea, pneumonia, and a compromised immune system show up months or years down the line.8 9
It is important to treat STDs with the right medication to avoid complications. They may even be life-threatening if not dealt with properly.
If you've contracted an STD, what are your options? Depending on whether it's an infection of bacteria, yeast, virus, or parasites, you will need antibiotics or other medicines to manage the infection and its symptoms.10 But what if you'd prefer to manage the symptoms with a home remedy? Ideally, you should first take the course of medicines needed to eliminate or control the infection. The natural remedies that follow can be used as complementary or alternative therapy to limit the infection and alleviate symptoms and get relief.
1. Tea Tree Oil
An antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent, tea tree oil can be beneficial for those with STD symptoms. The components of the oil are also known to exhibit antifungal activity.11 Here's how it can help:
- Its topical use has been known to help ease the pain associated with syphilis.12
- A highly diluted solution of tea tree oil (0.4%) in water applied topically or used for bathing has proven effective in treating trichomoniasis.13
- Tea tree oil may also be useful in cases of recurrent herpes infection due to its antiviral action against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2).14
Remember, never to use the tea tree oil directly as it could irritate your skin and worsen the problem. Dilute with a carrier oil like almond oil or with water. And always do a patch test first to ensure you don't have any kind of sensitivity to it.
Garlic is known to have significant antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties which could help with various infections. It could, for instance, help inhibit the parasitic growth associated with trichomoniasis. In fact, garlic extracts were found to be 3.7 times more effective than another potent remedy - onion.15
Garlic also has prebiotic effects, which means it can help boost your overall immune health by balancing your gut flora and helping good bacteria thrive. This, in turn, helps you fight STD infections better.16
Both men and women can benefit from adding garlic to their diet. Also, try and have some raw garlic in meals till you ride over the infection. A home remedy that has seen some success in trichomoniasis in women is a garlic vaginal suppository, so discuss this option with your doctor. You can make one by wrapping a peeled garlic clove in gauze and dipping it in vegetable oil. This will need to be inserted into the vagina. Using a garlic suppository for 3 to 5 days is thought to make a difference but you will need to change the suppository every 12 hours.17
Supplement your treatment with a healthy diet that has less processed foods and lots of fresh produce to cut inflammation and boost your immune system overall. Drink lots of water to flush toxins from the body.
Yogurt contains lactobacillus strains of probiotics, good bacteria that can boost immune system health. This helps prevent diseases that either originate in or impact your urogenital tract like STDs and fungal or yeast infections.18 Probiotics may be useful for those susceptible to urinary tract infections linked to STDs as well.19 Simply have some yogurt at two meals every day. You could also whip up a yogurt drink to increase your yogurt intake.
4. Lemon Balm
Lemon balm's potential as a topical microbicide which can inhibit infections is being studied extensively. Research shows that lemon balm extracts can help fight off HSV-2 and act significantly against HIV-1 in the early stages. Sage and peppermint, from the same Lamiaceae plant family, also had a similar impact in the study.20
Topical gels and herbal creams containing the extract are available for use. Apply to the affected area to soothe irritated skin and reduce rashes. A herbal tea with lemon balm may also work as an immune-boosting and strengthening remedy.21
5. Cranberry Juice
Researchers have found that consuming cranberry juice can help reduce urinary tract infection (UTI) recurrence in women prone to the problem.22 This is invaluable to women dealing with UTIs related to an STD infection.
So how does it work? Cranberry juice can help flush out your system and get rid of any unwanted bacteria clinging to the walls of your bladder. The microbes are then unable to anchor themselves on the walls of your bladder and cause infection. In the study, women had a 240 ml serving of cranberry juice every day for 24 weeks.23 Have a cup of unsweetened juice to avoid having too much sugar.
Echinacea or coneflower has anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce inflammation in the sexual organs. An infusion made using the root of the coneflower can help treat gonorrhea. Having about 10 mg/kg every day for 10 days has been seen to stimulate the immune system.24 Its topical use in the form of gels or creams can also help ease skin problems and soothe irritation.25
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, oregano oil is often suggested as a topical remedy to relieve itching.26 While there are claims that oregano oil can relieve STD symptoms, further studies are needed to back up its effectiveness for these.
Neem or Azadirachta indica is a popular ayurvedic remedy that has antiviral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties. It is even being explored for its use in treating HIV/AIDS.27 Steeping neem leaves in warm water and using this to bathe can bring you relief from skin problems linked to STDs. If you have rashes or warts, diluted neem oil can help. Consult an alternative medicine practitioner about using neem oil correctly as it can be very strong.
Goldenseal may help treat gonorrhea. In fact, researchers found that the extracts from goldenseal could help inhibit the growth of even antimicrobial- and antibiotic-resistant strains of Neisseria gonorrhoeae.28 Traditional Native American medicine also uses goldenseal to treat inflammation in the genitourinary tracts. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and can act like an antibiotic against bacteria as well as fungi. Combined with echinacea, it can help boost the immune system.29
Goldenseal is available in capsule form for ingestion and also as creams for topical use. Consult a doctor or trained herbalist for the right dosage, especially if you plan to ingest it.
9. Aloe Vera
The cooling effect of aloe vera gel is immensely soothing for anyone with an STD that results in irritated or itchy skin. Aloe vera can help hydrate your skin and may help with wound healing. It also exhibits anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity and could help your immune system, both when used as a gel and when taken as aloe vera juice.30
There is anecdotal evidence of its benefits for those with syphilis, helping manage their scars and wounds. Aloe vera extract cream has also been shown to help treat those with genital HSV infection. Healing was also quicker for those using the cream compared to those using a placebo.31
Ayurvedic wonder herb, ashwagandha also has benefits for those with STDs, syphilis in particular.32 It is anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting as well.33
Other Topical Home Remedies To Ease Irritation And Pain
Herbal remedies in cream or ointment form and homemade diluted herbal baths may be fine to use on your own for topical relief. But speak to your doctor about ingesting any herbs - especially if you are pregnant. In fact, it is in your best interest to consult a trained alternative medicine practitioner who can guide you on the right dosage and form for any of these remedies.
There are also anecdotal accounts of people finding relief with some of these remedies. However, these are not medicinal and will not treat the underlying infection. They may also not agree with all skin types, so use cautiously and do a small patch test first. If any of them is causing your condition to worsen, stop using that immediately.
- Ice cubes: Applying ice to painful sores or warts or even inflamed genitals may help bring some relief. Do not use them directly - always wrap them in clean muslin or soft cotton bag first and crush them before use.
- Baking soda is known to be antimicrobial and may help soothe itchiness when used topically on a rash. Dilute with water before use
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is antimicrobial and can be used in a bath or dabbed on affected skin with a clean cotton ball after diluting with water.34
- Lemon juice can be used the same way as ACV, in a bath or dabbed on topically to ease itching and inflammation as well as pain.
- Black tea bags soaked and cooled and then applied to the affected skin may also be beneficial, given the antibacterial properties of the tea.35