How to prevent a vaginal yeast infection?
How to prevent a vaginal yeast infection?
You may be wondering why you keep getting vaginal yeast infections and what you can do to prevent them from happening again and again. I’ve come up with an extensive list of possible causes of vaginal yeast infections and things you can do to prevent them. It’ll help you understand how your body responds to different factors and try to eliminate them to stay healthy.
- Avoid traditional oral contraceptives which boost estrogen levels in your body. Heightened estrogen levels double the risk of a vaginal yeast infection. If you’re not comfortable using condoms or diaphragms, opt for progestin-only pills, such as Norethindrone or consider getting a pregestin-only implant, it’ll last you 3 years.
- Avoid taking antibiotics whenever possible. Apart from killing the bacteria causing infection in your body, antibiotics also kill friendly bacteria which help maintain healthy levels of Candida in your body. If there’s not enough friendly bacteria, Candida starts to multiply causing a yeast infection.
- Make sure you get enough sleep. Lack of sleep makes your body release more cortisol. Heightened levels of cortisol in your blood decrease your immunity, so you become more susceptible to all sorts of infections and it’s much harder to prevent yeast infections.
- If you’re trying to avoid vaginal yeast infections (or trying to cure one) sleep naked. This way you will let your vagina breathe and reduce humidity to the minimum. Humid vaginal area is a perfect environment for Candida.
- Try to reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol can upset the bacterial balance in your body allowing Candida to spread and cause an infection.
- Cut down on caffeine. It’s not only found in coffee but also in chocolate, ice cream and energy drinks. Caffeine increases the levels of cortisol in your blood which lowers your immunity and makes it easier for yeast to multiply and cause a yeast infection.
- Having sex more than 7 times a week may lead to microinjuries in your vaginal tissue. These tiny wounds are a perfect place for yeast to establish itself and cause infection. Any type of injury of vulva or vaginal tissue provides an opportunity for Candida to start multiplying, producing unpleasant symptoms.
- Make sure that the lubricants and condoms you use, don’t contain a spermicide called nonoxynol-9. This chemical has been shown to trigger yeast infections and has other potentially harmful side effects. Durex stopped using nonoxynol-9 in their products in 2004, but other companies are still using it, so check the ingredients before buying.
- Immune-depressing diseases such as diabetes and HIV will make you more susceptible to all sorts of infections, vaginal yeast infections included. Try to follow a probiotic-rich diet and use probiotic supplements and probiotic suppositories to keep your vaginal flora balanced. You can also use probiotic tampons during your period to boost friendly bacteria levels in your vagina.
- Try not to wear tight, synthetic underwear, trousers, leggings and tights. they don’t let the air circulate freely around the vagina creating a warm humid environment, perfect conditions for Candida to multiply and grow. Wear 100% cotton or silk underwear and choose dresses and skirts or loose trousers over leggings and tight jeans.
- Hormonal imbalance near your period or during pregnancy can trigger vaginal yeast infections. To prevent them, make sure you follow a probiotic-rich diet and use probiotic suppositories and probiotic tampons to maintain healthy vaginal flora.
- Don’t use scented soaps, bubble baths and scented feminine hygiene products. They can change the pH of your vagina creating favorable conditions for Candida growth. Choose antifungal washes and 100% natural feminine washes instead. Also, using scented detergents and dryer sheets, as well as perfumed toilet paper can irritate the skin around your vagina making it more prone to infection, so go for scent-free products whenever possible.
- Whenever possible, avoid steroid medications. There are numerous studies showing that steroid medications trigger vaginal yeast infections. If you have take steroids, ask your doctor to prescribe you oral antifungal medication that you could take once a week as a preventative measure.
- If you suffer from impaired glucose tolerance, try to cut down on sugar as increased glucose levels in your blood are an excellent source of food for Candida. If you’re suffering from recurrent vaginal yeast infections, you should get tested for glucose tolerance to make sure you get appropriate treatment to keep your blood sugar levels balanced. Read my post about how sugar intake affects Candida growth for more information.
- Avoid situations that lead to chronic stress and learn techniques to deal with stress. Chronic stress makes your body release cortisol which will impair your immune system making it unable to fight off yeast infections.
- Avoid swimming pools that use harsh chemicals to sanitize water. They can change the pH in your vagina and triggering a yeast infection. Try to find a swimming pool in your area which uses one of the novel techniques to keep the water clean, such as ozone or UV-sanitized pools. Also, make sure you take off your wet swimming suit as soon as possible, after swimming.
- Similarly, if you tend to sweat a lot, make sure you carry spare panties with you and get changed whenever you feel that your vaginal area is becoming humid. The same goes for those of you who exercise, make sure that you change your underwear after you hit the gym because humidity is a perfect breeding ground for Candida.
- Don’t use vaginal douches. They will further upset your vaginal flora and make the recovery more difficult, as there’ll be not enough friendly bacteria to reestablish a healthy bacterial balance in your vagina. On top of that, a recent study shows that frequent vaginal douching will make you more likely to develop other types of Candida (non-albicans) which are resistant to the common antifungal medication.
As you can see, there are many things you can do to prevent a vaginal yeast infection. It’s difficult to avoid all these things in your day to day life, but being aware of what can trigger a vaginal yeast infection will help you become more aware of how your body responds to different factors and try to eliminate the ones that you think affect you the most.
Is there anything else that you do to prevent vaginal yeast infections? Please share your experiences and questions in the comment section below.