This is the time of year that fungi thrive. Heat and humidity are the lifeblood for mold and mildew. Just check your shower curtain or the crawl space under your house in August to see signs of fungal growth.
Your body is also susceptible to a variety of fungal infections when heat and humidity crank up. Yeast is a type of fungus especially likely to occur on the skin. Creases and other warm damp areas are most vulnerable.
Male athletes frequently complain about jock itch this time of year. Men are not the only ones who suffer, however. Women can experience problems with fungus in the groin area. They also complain bitterly of bra itch.
Many have shared their difficulties and their solutions on our website (PeoplesPharmacy.com). Here are some of the favorites:
“I have been using Gold Bond Medicated Body Powder for this problem for years. I use it every morning after showering. Just make sure the area under the breast is dry, then rub a generous amount of powder over the entire region before you put on your bra. It works wonders, you don’t need a prescription and it’s not expensive.”
Gold Bond Medicated Body Powder contains menthol and zinc oxide to protect the skin and ease itching. Zinc and menthol seem to have anti-fungal activity, which may explain the benefit (Molecules, Jan. 7, 2009).
Several people have found that old-fashioned amber Listerine helps keep the fungus and itch under control. Men have been using it (cautiously) to control jock itch. Here is one woman’s report: “I splashed Listerine on under my breast and the itching was gone in a couple of minutes. Eight hours later, the itchiness had returned, so I repeated the treatment. The itching disappeared again. Neither rubbing alcohol nor salt water worked as well.” Listerine contains a number of herbal oils with anti-fungal properties, including menthol, thymol and eucalyptol.
Other women have found that Desenex powder helps. This athlete’s foot treatment contains the anti-fungal drug miconazole along with cornstarch.
Keeping the area dry is oft-repeated common sense. One woman remarks, “Keep it dry and clean and use an anti-fungal product when needed. It’s basically like having athlete’s foot under the breasts so you have to treat it like athlete’s foot.”
Several women warn that the elastic in bras can exacerbate irritation and suggest wearing only cotton bras. Another approach is donning the bra as infrequently as possible, or changing it every day if skipping it is not practical.
Another fascinating approach is milk of magnesia applied to the area: “Once you get the fungus under control, try MoM [milk of magnesia] under the breast. Blow it dry [use a low heat setting] before getting dressed.” People have used this ubiquitous laxative on skin for a variety of conditions from dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis to acne or underarm odor.
The best way to discourage yeast is to deprive it of moisture. That may be why many of these home remedies are so successful. Old-fashioned ingredients like zinc, menthol and thymol can also be surprisingly helpful in the never-ending fight against fungi. You can find more stories and remedies at PeoplesPharmacy.com.

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  1. Lily
    Reply

    Hello,
    I had been diagnosed with oral thrush, but this quickly got worse after using prescribed mouth wash. The thrush stayed at back of throat. I don’t know what to use to get rid of this. I hate not eating all my regular foods. I’ve been on the candida diet for 6 weeks with no relief (just a little weight loss). It really bugs me throughout the day. Any suggestions?

  2. JS
    Reply

    Bra liners or bra guards are a huge help when combined with body powder. They’re a soft strip of fabric that protects the skin from underwire chafing against the rib cage, and they wick away moisture as well.

  3. Diane
    Reply

    He should try hydrogen peroxide for toenail fungus. Full strength! My husband used it and it took awhile, but now gone. Good luck

  4. RJ
    Reply

    I had the breast thing and if you can prevent it from the beginning then a remedy may not be needed as much. I rub deodorant under my breasts when I dress. It prevents me from really sweating most of the time, so I rarely get the yeast/fungal issue. Sometimes just a little, but not like before the deodorant. Don’t leave a wet bathing suit on too long either this really creates a problem especially if it has an elastic or a bra built in under your breasts.

  5. Russ1a
    Reply

    Hi Tracy,
    I couldn’t find the original post that mentioned corn starch, but your comment sure rang a bell with me. In my case, I had always used vasaline to lubricate my anus after every bowel movement to keep my hemorrhoids from becoming engorged. Then Terry mentioned that she used extra virgin olive oil as a vaginal lubricant in a surprisingly forthcoming revelation, on air. So that got me thinking that I should replace the vasaline with EVOO, which I did. It was about two weeks later that I noticed the itching from the fungal infection around my anus, and from then on it seemed the more diligently I applied the EVOO, the worse the itching became. So my guess was that the olive oil was providing a much more hospital environment for the fungus than was the vasaline. After I got rid of the fungal infection with iodine, I went back to vasaline, and have had no problems since then.
    So thanks for reminding me that some “cures” can actually exacerbate the problem.
    Sincerely, Russ

  6. Tracy
    Reply

    Don’t use cornstarch to fight a fungal/yeast infection. The cornstarch “feeds” the infection. That’s why you haven’t gotten relief. It does suffer symptomatic relief, for an hour or so, ultimately, it does more harm than good. I know that some people say they’ve gotten relief from cornstarch, but everyone’s different. I really urge not to use it.

  7. Tracy
    Reply

    Beware of SPANX and other ‘shape wear.’ By pressing the upper thighs, bottom, and belly so close together, I’m convinced these products create a perfect breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. After buying a pair of SPANX panties once…wearing them just once…I contracted a very painful and itchy Candida Albans infection. It cost me a couple of hundred dollars to treat, as I have a very high deductible on my medical insurance. I’d rather let my tummy pouch hang out there, than go through that misery again.
    I wrote to the company in a polite, FYI fashion and they were cordial but very dismissive. Not surprising.

  8. Elizabeth C.
    Reply

    Several years ago I was suffering from fungus under my breasts. I began tucking a thin cotton washcloth or a man’s handkerchief over the vulnerable area and tucking the edge of it into the bottom of the cups of bra.
    It is a fungus-keep it clean and dry.

  9. Bob G.
    Reply

    Hi…I’ve been using full-strength Listerine to treat fungus on the scalp. My first experience was while serving in Vietnam during the mid-sixties. Whenever I have an ‘itch’ I rub in Listerine and after several treatments the problem’s solved. Try it you can’t go wrong! B

  10. jl
    Reply

    I had fingernail fungus several years ago and used Listerine. I dipped my fingers in Listerine and let them dry a short time then rinsed. In a few weeks the fungus was gone. It was a miracle, thanks to Listerine!

  11. Beverly
    Reply

    What is the difference between using apple cider or white vinegar? My husband has been soaking his fungal toenails in white vinegar for several years, using it for 15-20 minutes in the evening. It’s taking a very long time, but they seem to be getting better.
    I’ve had a terrible time with a yeast infection under my full- figured breasts– they will heal and then break out again very quickly and the peeling skin is painful. I use lots of cornstarch baby powder on them when I get dressed, which helps keep the skin dry, but doesn’t clear up the infection. I’ll try the vinegar next time it erupts.

  12. Russ1a
    Reply

    I just had, what I consider to be, a rather severe anal rash with black streaks. So I assumed it was a fungus. I treated it with three applications of 10 drops of 5% iodine solution in a shot glass (applied with my finger), 8 hours apart. After three days the rash was gone. YeeHah! It cost about 10 cents. Eat that, Big Pharma.
    Sincerely,
    Russ

  13. Angela M. R.
    Reply

    Many years ago, I lived in Florida and contracted a vaginal itch that was so bad I went to the doctor. He said it was caused by humidity and prescribed a small tube of ointment, cost? $60.00. Needless to say, the itch continued. I received another tube, quite useless, as the itch continued and my skin was red and leather-like from my knees to chest. I spoke to a friend and she recommended plain vinegar. Charm! It worked.

  14. BT
    Reply

    Coconut Oil is Remarkably Effective! It is also splendid for many, many other things. Moisturizing face and body, rough skin, under breast fungus, athlete’s feet, hangnails, poison ivy itch, insect bites…the list goes on! It is sold in the Cooking Oil department of many grocery stores. I recommend Fresh-Pressed Virgin, Whole Kernel Unrefined – readily available at
    health food stores. It is almost like “magic in a jar.” Google it!

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