Most women will encounter at least one yeast infection in their lives. Although they’re common and not typically serious, their annoying symptoms make them unpleasant.
The vagina naturally has an acid pH level, friendly bacteria, and some yeast. As long as the pH and bacteria are where they should be, the yeast is kept in check and doesn’t bother you. But when something upsets the pH or good bacteria, it allows the yeast to proliferate. Then, you experience the bothersome burning and itching.
Some women get more yeast infections than others. Often, they occur without obvious cause. But there are some unexpected things that may increase your chance of getting one. Being aware of the risk factors for yeast infections may be the key to avoiding them.
- Using scented powders, sprays, or washes in the vaginal area. These products can irritate the skin and upset the natural balance that keeps yeast under control. Plain water or an unscented, gentle cleanser in the shower is all that’s needed. Use only unscented tampons and pads.
- Douching. We’ve previously talked about the dangers of douching, and this is another reason to never do it. The vagina does a fine job of keeping itself clean. Using douches will inhibit its ability to regulate the natural bacteria and yeast. Your best strategy is to let the vagina balance and clean itself.
- Stress. High levels of stress can wreak havoc on your body, weakening your immune system and upsetting your sleep. Together, these factors may bring down your body’s defenses and allow the yeast to take over. Find ways to relax and de-stress if you need to, and ask for help from your physician if it’s interfering with your life.
- Wearing nylon or synthetic underwear. Underwear that doesn’t breathe well and that traps moisture is a favorite spot for yeast to crop up. Choose cotton or silk and change it after you’ve been sweating.
- Sexual contact. Yeast infections are not a sexually transmitted disease. However, you can pass it to your partner during sexual contact. Using a condom can help prevent spreading the yeast to your partner, and vice versa.
If you notice burning, itching, or unusual discharge, you may need to visit your gynecologist. Yeast infections can be effectively treated, but you need to get a proper diagnosis if you’re not sure what’s causing your symptoms. Other problems like bacterial vaginosis (BV) are often mistaken for yeast infections, and they require different treatment.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.