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Yeast. Yeesh! Like we women don’t have enough to worry about. Fortunately, as things go, a yeast infection is a very treatable condition. But, as with any health issue, the more you know, the more control you have over your own health. So––let’s talk about yeast infections.
Sex and Yeast Infections
Contrary to common belief, sex is not the main reason why women get yeast infections. Even ladies who aren’t sexually active get them. Yeast infections are most likely due to an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast that is typically part of a healthy vaginal environment. A particularly demanding or tiring work schedule or a body that’s already been taxed by another illness may be a contributing factor to Candida overgrowth. Even the use of oral antibiotics can result in a yeast infection, or conditions such as poor nutrition, diabetes, and pregnancy can all have a significant impact.1
Yeast Infection Symptoms
Nevertheless, just because sex doesn’t necessarily cause a yeast infection, it’s certainly not going to make it very pleasant. If the vaginal area is red or swollen, or if you’re experiencing itching, a thick white discharge, or if there’s pain when you pee, it could be a sign of a yeast infection. Pain during sex can also occur.2
Everyone has yeast in their body—it’s perfectly normal and it’s nothing to be concerned or freaked out about. But when the body’s system of managing yeast is compromised, it can take over. That’s when you need to take action. If these symptoms sound familiar, see your doctor, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner.
Help Prevent Yeast Infection Symptoms
In the meantime, avoid feminine hygiene products like douches or sprays. Not only do they introduce artificial chemicals, dyes, and perfumes into the area, they can upset the body’s natural pH balance and can also mask more severe symptoms. Keep the soap away from the area and use unscented, unbleached or un-dyed toilet paper. Use fragrance-free detergents and softeners in your laundry, and avoid wearing tight-fitting underwear or jeans, as they can foster an environment conducive to an over-production of yeast—resulting in a yeast infection.3
It’s also important to abstain from intercourse (vaginal, anal or oral) during the treatment period. Yeast infections can be passed between partners. About 15 percent4 of men can get an itchy rash from vaginal sex with a woman who has a yeast infection, and the likelihood is higher if they’re uncircumcised or have diabetes. Women can also pass yeast infections between each other during sexual contact. And in both cases, re-infection can occur—particularly if the underlying conditions (ie: stress, overwork, illness,) remain.
Yeast Infection Symptom Treatment: The More You Know
Yeesh—heard enough about yeast yet? The fact is, the sooner you start treating a yeast infection, the sooner you’ll start getting rid of a yeast infection. And the more you can do to prevent it from recurring, the more you can focus on other stuff—like proper nutrition, a full night’s sleep, a night out with your best friends and maybe some quality time with your partner!
1 5 Things You Should Know About Sex and Yeast Infections http://www.livestrong.com/article/14024-5-things-you-should-know-about-sex-and-yeast-infections/
2 Vaginal Yeast Infections http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/yeast-infection.html#
3 Causes of Yeast Infections https://msu.edu/~eisthen/yeast/causes.html
4 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Having Sex with a Yeast Infection http://www.womenshealthmag.com/sex-and-love/sex-with-yeast-infection