5 Ways to Prevent a Yeast Infection
Simple lifestyle changes in areas of diet, clothing choices and hygiene can make a big difference in your ability to prevent yeast infections. If you can pay attention to these small issues and keep your body and immune system healthy, you stand a good chance of fighting off yeast infections with no medication needed. If you experience more than four yeast infections within a year, see your doctor for antifungal medication to treat them.
Practice Good Hygiene
Keep your vagina clean to prevent yeast from growing there. Make sure to wash the vaginal area thoroughly, including inside the folds of skin. Dry thoroughly after bathing, since yeast flourishes in a damp environment. Yeast also thrives on warmth, so avoid hot tubs and extremely hot baths.
Choose Appropriate Clothing
Wear breathable cotton or silk underwear to allow a free flow of air into the vaginal area; at the very least, make sure nylon or other non-cotton underwear has a cotton crotch panel. Don't wear panty liners, which tend to aggregate moisture that encourages yeast growth. If you're wet after swimming or a workout, change clothes right away, including changing out of a swimsuit and into clean underwear. Avoid wearing tight pants or pantyhose, which increase moisture and heat around the vagina. If you must wear pantyhose, try to avoid wearing them every day, and wear cotton panties under the pantyhose.
Your vagina produces bacteria that fight yeast, and douching removes those bacteria, allowing yeast to grow. Douches also wash away the top protective layer of the vagina, making it more susceptible to yeast infections. In addition, when cleaning up after going to the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to avoid introducing unhealthy bacteria into the vaginal area.
Avoid Vaginal Cosmetics and Scents
Use of scented tampons, vaginal deodorants and fragrant sprays increases the risk of getting a yeast infection. The scents and chemicals in these products inhibit the growth of healthy bacteria, allowing yeast to move in. Perfumes in bubble baths and even dyes in colored toilet paper can also irritate the vagina. When you do need tampons or pads, change them frequently.
Control Your Diet
Diabetics are at particular risk for yeast infections. If you have diabetes or pre-diabetes, make sure your blood sugar is under control. Early studies indicate that eating yogurt with active live cultures may help prevent yeast infections. In addition, because overindulging in sugar may promote yeast infections, cut back on the sweets. Some women also find that beer triggers their yeast infections.
While vaginal yeast infections typically are not dangerous, they can be irritating and annoying to deal with. Most women contract a yeast infection at least once in their lives, and some women are prone to them. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to prevent yeast infections.