How to Prevent a Yeast Infection

woman with yeast infectionWhat’s causing your misery?

Vaginal irritation and itching are frequently caused by overgrowth of normal vaginal yeast, one of the commonest problems in women's health. The yeast lives in the vagina normally and can overgrow under certain conditions. Then the mucous membranes in the area become irritated and intensely itchy and produce a white, odorless discharge that looks like cottage cheese.

What are the conditions that encourage the yeast to overgrow?

  • Moisture - Yeast grows best in wet areas.
  • Diabetes - Uncontrolled blood sugars provide far too much nutrition to the yeast, spurring growth.
  • Perfumes in powder, sprays, tampons and pads - The perfumes cause inflammation of the vaginal tissues, resulting in discharge and moisture; which boosts the yeast population.
  • Douching - The forceful application of water into the vagina can strip off the surface cells of the membranes, again causing irritation, the development of discharge and the overgrowth of yeast.
  • Wiping the area back to front after using the toilet - This can cause an actual infection, either in the vaginal tissues or in the urinary bladder. Bacteria from the rectum can be introduced into the vagina or the urethra. Yeast will often become excessive in the resulting inflammation.
  • Antibiotics - Antibiotics are sometimes necessary, but they can change the pH of the vagina, often causing yeast overgrowth.
  • A weakened immune system - Your immune system fights off infections and numerous conditions that you never notice because your immune system stops them. But if your system has been weakened because of constant stress, depression, lack of sleep, poor diet or illness, your chances of developing a yeast problem are much greater.
  • Pregnancy - The pH of the vagina changes during pregnancy and encourages yeast growth. Similar changes can occur during menopause.

Women's health experts recommend the following:

  • Keep the area dry. Dry yourself well after a shower or bath.
  • Don't stay in a wet swimsuit after swimming or in sweaty clothes after working out, jogging or doing yardwork. Dry off and get into dry clothes.
  • Cotton absorbs moisture best, so make sure your underwear is made out of cotton or at least has cotton in the crotch. And if you wear panty hose or tights, make sure they have cotton in the appropriate place as well. Really tight clothes tend to cause you to sweat in the vaginal area. Avoid tight pants.
  • If you have diabetes, monitor your blood sugars frequently and keep them under good control.
  • Do not douche.
  • Do not ever use scented vaginal products or scented tampons or pads.
  • Never wipe back to front after using the toilet.
  • Do not take antibiotics unless your doctor has prescribed them for a bacterial infection.You may want to ask your women's health professional for fungal treatment when you are given the antibiotic prescription. Then you can start on it as you finish the antibiotics.
  • Try to get exercise on a daily basis, eat a healthy diet and get plenty of sleep to keep your immune system healthy.
  • If you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about yeast infections and what you can do.
  • Probiotics are bacteria that help maintain a normal balance in the bacteria that reside in your gut and in the vaginal area. Yogurt and other products that say acidophillus help maintain a normal vaginal environment and pH.

You don't have to suffer. Contact Dr. Motlagh for all your women’s health needs. Take action today to prevent yeast infections.

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