A vaginal yeast infection, also known as vulvovaginal candidiasis, occurs when the healthy yeast that normally exists in your vagina grows uncontrollably. The medical name for this infection is candidiasis because it is caused by the candida yeast. Yeast infection often leads to itching in the vaginal area and can cause severe discomfort.
Causes of yeast infection
The extra growth of yeast in the vagina occurs due to an imbalance in the vaginal chemistry, leading to an infection. A few factors that can cause this imbalance are:
- Changes in hormonal level during your menstrual cycle
- Antibiotics and other drugs
- A weak immune system
A yeast infection is not an STD but it can still spread through sexual contact. The infection can also spread through the mouth, throat and tongue- this is commonly known as ‘thrush’.
Contracting a yeast infection can be unpleasant, but avoiding the infection is simple once you have the basics down. All it takes is a few simple changes to your daily routine and habits. Here are five easy ways to ensure that you don’t get a yeast infection:
- Eat foods that contain probiotics
Probiotics are the ‘good’ bacteria that are important for a healthy immune system. Eating foods that are rich in probiotics is great for your digestive system as they have the ability to prevent yeast infections. Yoghurt is an excellent probiotic food that contains Lactobacillus acidophilus. This is good bacteria that helps you maintain a healthy pH value and encourages the growth of a beneficial microbiome in your body.
While there is no conclusive evidence that eating yoghurt prevents yeast infections, it is great for maintaining overall vaginal health. It is recommended to eat a small cup of unsweetened yoghurt every day to give your body a boost of extra-good bacteria. It’s important that you don’t eat yoghurt that has added sugar because this can actually encourage candida growth.
- Eat smart
Certain foods can increase your risk of getting a yeast infection. Yeast is most commonly found in processed sugars, gluten-based foods and grains (a candida diet is recommended for people who have a yeast infection). In addition to this, it is also recommended to stay away from meat and starchy vegetables like potatoes and carrots and avoid excessive consumption of alcohol. Restricting the consumption of these foods is not just beneficial for the prevention of a yeast infection, but is also great for avoiding potential health issues like fatigue, dizziness and maintaining your overall health.
- Wear underwear made of natural fabrics
The most important way to prevent a yeast infection is to keep your lady parts as dry as possible. Yeast infections are caused by the bacteria Candida albicans, which thrives in moist, humid environments. To prevent this bacteria from growing and multiplying, it is important to keep your private area dry. One way to do this is by wearing underwear made of natural material like silk or cotton because they help reduce the retention of moisture. This is especially important when you are wearing tight-fitting outfits like leggings as they are known for heat and moisture build-up, which increases the chances of a yeast infection. It is best to stay away from synthetic fabrics such as nylon as they do not absorb moisture quickly.
- Avoid scented products
Another way to prevent a yeast infection and maintain vaginal health is to avoid artificial chemicals added to the scents in feminine hygiene products like pads, tampons and sprays. Perfumes are known to dry out sensitive tissue and can irritate the skin surrounding your vagina, thereby increasing the risk of yeast infection. In addition to hygiene products, scented body soaps, creams and other products that come in contact with your vagina, should be avoided. When it comes to vaginal hygiene, keep it simple!
- Keep your lady parts clean
The best- and maybe the most obvious – way to avoid a yeast infection is to keep your vagina clean. It is important to clean your vagina on a regular basis. Additionally, avoid douching as this irritates the skin and causes an imbalance in your vagina. You need to pay close attention to the inner areas of your vagina as this is where the yeast grows and accumulates. Also, remember to change out of your gym clothes or bathing suit as soon as you get home because damp clothes cause moisture to build up.
Yeast infections are an extremely unpleasant experience but can be avoided with a little self-care and hygiene. A preventative health check-up will help mitigate the infection before it becomes worse. Make sure to get an annual checkup at Neuberg Diagnostics to ensure you are in optimal health. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure!