The material provided below is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the diagnosis or treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. You should always seek medical advice before consuming any new medicines or supplements. AZO products referenced on this website are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as overactive bladder, urinary tract infections, or vaginal infections.
Most women know the symptoms all too well—that unrelenting itch “down there.” Vaginal yeast infections are the second most common cause of vaginal infection symptoms, after BV (bacterial vaginosis). Candida is a common strain of yeast that is typically found as part of the normal vaginal flora. When there is an imbalance in the natural vaginal microbiome due to yeast overgrowth, symptoms of infection are noted.
Yeast is responsible for upwards of 1/3 of vaginal infections and is highest among women of reproductive age.1 Shockingly, the recurrence risk can be as high as 25%.1 Risk factors for yeast infection are numerous. Women with diabetes, whose sugars are poorly controlled and those whose immune systems are challenged (such as women with HIV or on chronic steroids) are at very high risk. Increased estrogen levels due to pregnancy or hormone use are more prone as well. Antibiotic use also increases likelihood of yeast infection.
Vaginal yeast is not considered a traditional sexually transmitted disease; however, infection can be related to sexual activity for some people. When it comes to hygiene habits, wearing tight or non-breathable fabrics, douching and using heavily fragrant feminine hygiene products might be contributing factors as well.
So, what’s a girl to do to promote vaginal health? Here are some useful pearls of advice:
- Get out of wet workout clothes and wet bathing suits as soon as feasible
- Maintain a healthy diet without excessive sugar or alcohol
- Wear undergarments with a cotton crotch
- Opt for unscented feminine hygiene products
ABOUT DR. ALYSSA DWECK:
Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a practicing OB-GYN in Westchester County, NY. She has been voted Top Doctor in New York Magazine and Westchester County. She is proficient in gynecologic surgery, has expertise in female sexual health and provides gynecologic care to women of all ages. Dr. Dweck has co-authored three books, including The Complete A to Z for Your V: A Women's Guide to Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Your Vagina—Health, Pleasure, Hormones, and More, which tells women of all ages what they need to know about their own unique health as a woman.
^Dr. Alyssa Dweck is a paid spokesperson for AZO.
1 Candida vulvovaginitis: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis www.uptodate.com/contents/candida-vulvovaginitis/