Last modified: August 2, 2019
Richard Honaker M.D.View Full Profile
Yeast infections can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. Prevent the annoying itch before it starts with seven tips for preventing yeast infections you can’t ignore!
Yeast infections and their symptoms can vary, from person to person and from infection to infection. While you may need to visit your for some yeast infections, others can be treated at home using holistic methods.
Yeast infections are experienced by an estimated 75 percent of women and even a few men!
The best way to know if you have a yeast infection is to speak to your doctor. Connect with one of our doctors for free.
Let’s take a deeper look at fungal infections with some yeast infection tips on how to handle these uncomfortable moments.
What Causes a yeast infection?
The vagina is a balancing act between yeast and bacteria. If that balance is interrupted, an overgrowth of yeast can occur and cause a yeast infection.
A yeast infection is an infection of the vagina. This type of infection is usually caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans. Along with an overgrowth of candida, if the fungus is able to penetrate deeper into the vaginal cell layers, the signs and symptoms of a yeast infection can occur.
While candida Albicans is the most common fungus to cause yeast infections, it is not the only cause. Yeast infections caused by other types of candida fungus are often more difficult to treat and may require more aggressive therapies.
Causes of yeast overgrowth:
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Compromised immune system
- Increased estrogen levels as a result of oral contraceptive use or hormone therapy
Any one of these items or a combination of two or more put you at an increased risk for yeast infections.
When the pH balance in the vagina is disrupted, a variety of uncomfortable symptoms can occur. While the infection is located in the vagina, the symptoms often affect the vulva, which is the area just outside of the vagina. Symptoms can vary from infection to infection and be mild to moderate.
While the symptoms can vary from person to person, many infections can produce the following symptoms:
- A painful burning sensation that may be heightened during sex or while urinating
- itching and irritation of the vagina and vulva
- redness and swelling of the vulva
- A vaginal rash
- Vaginal pain/soreness
- A change in discharge-may appear thick and ‘cottage cheese’ like or watery-should not have a strong odor
7 Easy Ways to Help Prevent a Yeast Infection
Practice Safe Sex
While practicing safe sex is known for preventing unwanted pregnancy and the passing of sexually transmitted infections (STI) to your partner, it can also lower your risk of developing a yeast infection. This is because using a condom or a dental dam can reduce the amount of bacteria that is being spread during intercourse. It can also reduce your partner’s risk of developing a yeast infection as well.
Avoid Scented Products
Scented products, including bubble bath, pads and tampons can disrupt the natural bacteria in your vagina and trigger a yeast infection.
Just Say No to Douching
It is important to think of your vagina as a self-cleaning oven. There is no need to douche. In fact, using a douche will often rob your vagina of the bacteria it needs to keep pH balanced and trigger a yeast infection.
Wear Breathable Underwear
Avoid tight fitting pantyhose and wear breathable cotton underwear to discourage bacterial growth.
Change out of Wet Clothes
Change out of wet clothes, such as swimsuits and workout attire immediately after swimming/working out as bacteria thrives in warm, wet environments.
Skip the (unnecessary) Antibiotics
Avoid unnecessary antibiotic use as it can also cause yeast infections. Viral infections do not require a trip to the doctor’s office.
Turn Down the Temperature
Hot tubs and very hot baths can also cause yeast infections. Keep the water temperature tepid.
Just because you have treated a past yeast infection successfully with a certain method, does not mean another infection will respond to the same treatment. This is important because almost 50 percent of women will experience two or more yeast infections in their life.
It is recommended to speak to a doctor if you suspect you have a yeast infection, especially if it is your first one.
There are many over the counter treatments available, which are often a combination of a cream and a pill that is inserted similarly to a tampon. The treatment is an anti-fungal that should last between 3 to 7 days.
Treatment is generally fairly simple to do at home and it is important to follow the full course of treatment regardless of whether symptoms have subsided. It is also recommended to avoid intercourse during this time.
There are different holistic yeast infection treatments that you can consider. Some include tea tree oil applications and boric acid. These options may have been used by many, but they are still being studied and may not be as powerful as over the counter solutions.
Speak to a Doctor
Two out of three women who purchase over the counter yeast infection treatment do not actually have a yeast infection. That is why it is so important to speak to a healthcare professional about your symptoms to make sure you are seeking out the right treatment.
Failure to treat these types of symptoms could lead to the infection spreading, including to other sexual partners. Yeast infections are common but could become painful if left untreated.
Too embarrassed to go to the doctor’s office? Why not share your symptoms with one of our doctors to get some much needed advice without the embarrassment? Connect with one of our doctors for free today.
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.