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We can all agree; yeast infections are THE WORST. Itching, burning, unsightly discharge…the list goes on! Unfortunately, most women find themselves dealing with yeast infection symptoms at some point in their lives.1 Our vaginas have a microbiome that is made up of good bacteria and delicately balanced pH levels which, when disrupted, often results in infection. But even if yeast infections are a highly likely part of life, there should be ways in which we can lower the risk of their frequency…right?
To understand how to reduce the risk, let’s first look at 5 things that can increase your risk of a yeast infection.
1. Carb Overload
Bagels, biscuits, baguettes—all these delicious treats are loaded with carbs. Unfortunately, yeast bacteria, or Candida, love carbs even more than we do! Diets high in carbs have been shown to result in an abundant presence of Candida. While your vagina always has some amount of yeast present, when something causes an overgrowth of Candida, the chance of getting a yeast infection goes up significantly!1
This means it may be time to consider that lower-carb diet—in the name of vaginal health of course!
2. Yeast Loves Sweets
Given that carbs are a form of sugar, it’s only natural that bad bacteria in the vaginal microbiome would thrive on sugar and processed foods. Excessive sugar intake can cause chaos to your vaginal environment, leading to, you guessed it, a yeast infection!2 We know that reducing our sugar and processed food intake is good for us, but who knew it could be good for our vaginas too?
3. Tight is Not Right
That’s right, ladies. Tight clothes might seem cute and sexy but they aren’t always the best for you! Yeast loves warm and moist environments that lack oxygen—and tight clothing tends to create a breeding ground for yeast to grow!3 Tight clothing including jeans, shorts and non-cotton undies should all be avoided whenever possible and replaced with airy and breathable fabrics. Do yourself a huge favor and remember that loose-fitting clothing can still be cute and chic, but a yeast infection never is!
4. Say No to Scented Soap
The vagina is a self-cleaning powerhouse so skip the fancy, scented soaps and douches! Many women opt for scented products and over-wash their vagina in hopes of avoiding feminine odor. However, these products are loaded with chemical compounds that can change your pH balance, making it easier to develop yeast infections which cause symptoms like odor, discharge and itching.4 Natural is always better, ladies.
5. Take Off That Wet Bathing Suit ASAP
Spending time at the beach or in the pool or hot tub is almost always appealing. While it is important to enjoy yourself, you should know that sitting in a wet bathing suit for an extended period of time increases your risk of developing a yeast infection. There are two reasons for this. The first is one we are familiar with—a wet bathing suit equals a moist environment, which we know yeast loves. The second is that the chemicals found in pools can throw off the balance of bacteria in your vagina. Too little of the good bacteria leaves room for too much of the bad bacteria.5 So, as soon as you know you won’t be going for another dip be sure to take off that bikini and put on dry clothes. Your vagina will thank you!
There you have it, ladies! Five very common triggers of the terrible and annoying itch and burn known as a yeast infection! Knowing these causes can help you to take the necessary precautions to help reduce your risk of getting a yeast infection!
1 Vaginal Yeast Infections https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/vaginal-yeast-infections
2 Recurrent Yeast Infections and Eating Too Much Sugar http://www.livestrong.com/article/525132-recurrent-yeast-infections-and-eating-too-much-sugar/
3 8 Leading Causes of Yeast Infections and How to Prevent It http://www.cycleharmony.com/remedies/vaginal-discharge-or-infections/8-leading-causes-of-yeast-infection-and-how-to-prevent-it
4 Leading Causes of Yeast Infection and How to Prevent It– http://www.cycleharmony.com/remedies/vaginal-discharge-or-infections/8-leading-causes-of-yeast-infection-and-how-to-prevent-it
5 It’s Bathing Suit Season – 6 Tips to Prevent Yeast Infections http://www.uhhospitals.org/myuhcare/health-and-wellness/better-living-health-articles/2014/june/its-bathing-suit-season-6-tips-to-prevent-yeast-infections