An aloe vera plant inside a greenhouse.

Do STD Home Remedies Work?

Many people faced with a possible sexually transmitted disease (STD) are tempted to seek out home remedies for their infection. It’s understandable: Getting tested and treated for an STD can be intimidating. However, it’s important to know that, no matter what STD you may have, there is nothing you can do at home that will cure or treat the STD. If you think you might have an STD, the first thing you should do is get tested: This is the only way to know for sure if you have an STD.

Once you’ve tested positive for an STD, you can get treated, if necessary. If you have a curable STD, you will likely be prescribed antibiotics or other medication to treat the infection. If you have an incurable or viral STD, you may still be able to receive treatment to minimize your symptoms and prevent spreading the disease to your sexual partners.

With that being said, there may be some things you can do at home to help deal with symptoms while you’re undergoing treatment from a doctor.

Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil does have antibacterial properties, although research has not consistently shown that it is effective for treating various skin infections. If you do want to try it, dilute a few drops of tea tree oil in water and apply it gently to infected areas. Skin irritation is possible, though, so ask your provider if you have any concerns.

Garlic

Garlic has been used medicinally for millennia. It is a prebiotic which means it is a food source for the bacteria in your gut. It can balance gut flora and encourage the growth of good bacteria. Research isn’t clear that adding garlic to your diet can help keep your gastrointestinal tract healthy, but if you want to try it, garlic has few downsides.

Yogurt

Yogurt contains probiotics, or live microorganisms, that have health benefits. It specifically contains good bacteria that can help keep your gut flora balanced. If you’re taking antibiotics to treat a bacterial infection or STD, that antibiotic is killing the good bacteria in your gut as well as the infectious bacteria, and that can lead to diarrhea. Eating yogurt may help your body maintain a healthy amount of good bacteria. Some research studies show that taking probiotics while taking antibiotics can decrease the likelihood of getting diarrhea.

Cranberry juice

Some research has shown that cranberry juice may be able to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs) by making it harder for bacteria to stick to the inside of the urinary tract. Although it may help prevent UTIs, cranberry juice likely doesn’t treat them. UTI prevention has been shown only with pure, unsweetened cranberry juice, but not cranberry juice cocktails, which contain little actual cranberry juice and often have added sugar.

Aloe

If you’re dealing with STD symptoms that are giving you itchy or irritated skin, you may find some relief with pure aloe vera gel. Aloe is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, and pure aloe vera gel hydrates and encourages wound healing. Pure aloe (with no additives; be sure to check your label) is also safe for use in sensitive genital areas. Some studies suggest that aloe may speed the healing of herpes lesions.

It’s important to note, again, that while the treatments above might help you deal with the symptoms from an STD or the side effects of treatment, they will not treat or cure the STD. The only way to treat or cure an STD is with medicine prescribed by a doctor. If you have symptoms of an STD, do not try to use home remedies to treat it. Get tested and seek treatment if necessary.