Last updated: August 2, 2019
Richard Honaker M.D.
Primary Care Physician
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The weather outside is finally starting to warm up. It may be great news for you, but it can be bad news for your vagina.
Now that the warm months have started, so is the common time for yeast infection. Don’t stress though, there are easy ways to prevent yeast infections before they begin. Check out these eight fungal infection fighting tips to keep you beach ready all summer.
What is a Yeast Infection?
A yeast infection is an infection of the vagina that can cause some uncomfortable and painful symptoms. Yeast infections are common, about 75 percent of women will suffer from a yeast infection at least once in their life and almost 50 percent will have two or more.
Yeast infections occur most commonly during reproductive years. While they can occur before puberty and after menopause, it is much less common.
Why do Yeast Infections Occur?
Yeast infections occur when an overgrowth of the microscopic fungus candida occurs. Your vagina may have yeast present at any given time, but in large amounts it can cause an infection.
There are several things that can cause this yeast imbalance. Check out our article 5 Reasons You Keep Getting a Yeast Infection.
Symptoms of Yeast Infections
The symptoms of yeast infections can vary from person to person as well as from infection to infection. That is why it is so important to speak to a doctor if you are unsure if you have a yeast infection. Yeast infection symptoms can mimic many STDs as well as other vaginal infections.
Some of the Symptoms that May be Caused by Yeast Infections are:
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Pain in the vagina, especially when having sex or urinating
- Vaginal rash
- Itching and pain in the vagina and vulva
- Thick white discharge that may look similar to cottage cheese
- Clear, watery discharge
8 Ways to Prevent Yeast Infections Before they Start
Now that you are more familiar with this annoying and often embarrassing infection, let’s look at the ways you can prevent the symptoms before they begin.
Whether you take a probiotic or eat yogurt infused with probiotics, these collection of live microorganisms can have benefits for your vaginal health.
A bacteria called Lactobacillus makes up some of the most common probiotics. This helps to prevent Candida and other bacteria from growing out of control and causing an overgrowth of yeast.
In a recent study, probiotics were shown to be effective in the prevention of yeast infections in post menopausal women.
A 2012 study showed that combination of yogurt and honey was effective in treating yeast infections in pregnant women.
A 2015 study showed similar results in non-pregnant women, citing the growing resistance to anti-fungal treatments as the reason to conduct the study.
Switch to Estrogen-Free Birth Control
Birth control, while important in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy, can also have a negative affect on your vaginal health. That is because estrogen promotes the production of more yeast. Using birth control that contains estrogen may trigger a yeast infection. Try progesterone only pills or an IUD instead if you are prone to yeast infections.
Wear Cotton Underwear
Yeast thrives in moist warm areas. Underwear made from natural fabrics like cotton absorbs dampness, so your vagina is as healthily dry as possible.
Avoid Scented Personal Products
Perfumes, dyes, and scented soaps irritate the inside of your vagina and increase the risk of getting a yeast infection.
Is your yeast infection really a UTI? Watch this video to get answers:
Clean the Right Way
Cleanse your vagina regularly and pay close attention to the inside folds because that’s where yeast gathers. Do not use any douche or internal cleansing products as these can interrupt your vagina’s natural pH balance.
Use Natural Remedies
Organic cold-pressed coconut oil and garlic are two of the best homemade remedies for yeast infections. Apply the oil as a lotion. Either eat the garlic or make a paste out of it and apply just like the coconut oil.
Get Enough Sleep
Restful sleep promotes proper bodily functions. It also keeps the level of acidity in the vagina stable, and lowers the rate of vaginal yeast growth.
Eat a Healthy Diet
Limit your intake of sugar, starchy vegetables, meat, and dairy products. Yeast thrives on them, especially on processed and simple sugars.
A new Approach to Your Healthcare
Now that you know the best ways to avoid a yeast infection, you can get ready to enjoy the warm weather all season long. Just in case those pesky symptoms do start to creep in, you can always get in touch with one of our doctors 24 hours a day, seven days a week with the Your Doctors Online app. Just a simple download and you can have a physician in your pocket no matter what time of day.
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.
About Richard Honaker M.D.
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