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We all feel the effects of a busy holiday season—from late night gift-wrapping sessions to last minute power shopping—we’re overstretched and often unhealthy during the holiday rush. These high levels of stress during the holiday can do more than impact your immune health; it can take its toll on your vaginal health as well. So keep reading to learn how to maintain a healthy lifestyle and lower your risk for a yeast infection symptom over this snowy season.
Vaginal Health 101
Let’s start with the basics of vaginal health. What are yeast infections? Vaginal yeast infections are most often caused by an overgrowth of a fungus called Candidaalbicans, which flourishes in warm and damp environments—a.k.a., your vagina.1 Yeast infection symptoms are uncomfortable: itching, soreness in the vagina, possibly pain or burning during urination or sex, and sometimes a white, thick and clumpy discharge that may look like cottage cheese.2
Stress and Yeast Infections
So how do yeast infections factor into the holiday season? Stress! As the days get busier with shopping, family party planning and cookie baking, it’s easy to start to crumble under the weight of the seasonal stress. When you’re worried about something over an extended period of time, you are less capable of fighting off infection because your body is not performing at its optimal level.3 It’s important to say goodbye to this added pressure, because not only does it compromise your immune system and vaginal health, but many women report getting a yeast infection when they’re facing many challenges at once.4 Reduce your stress levels through meditation, yoga or a brisk walk in the park.5
The Holiday Diet and Yeast Infections
A bonus of the holidays is eating yummy foods with friends and family; however, poor food choices can further stress your immune system,6 which could be a risk factor for a yeast infection. Remember ladies, maintaining a healthy diet is important at all times, even during the holidays! Avoid energy rollercoasters by maintaining a healthy diet low in sugar and high in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy and polyunsaturated fats. At your next holiday party, try picking healthier options like fruit, veggies and hummus, guacamole, nuts or even a lowfat lattes—you’ll thank yourself later!
So there you have it, ladies.Yeast infection symptoms can keep you from jingle bell rocking, so focus on keeping your stress and holiday cravings in check to help maintain optimal vaginal health.
1 Infections: Vaginal Yeast Infections, http://kidshealth.org/parent/infections/bacterial_viral/yeast_infection.html
2 Yeast Infections—Topic Overview, http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/vaginal-yeast-infections-topic-overview
3 Lifestyle Habits That Lead to Yeast Infections, http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/yeast-infection/lifestyle-habits-and-yeast-infections/
4 Life Stress and Chronic Yeast Infections, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6886404
5 Stress and Yeast Infections, http://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/yeast-infection/lifestyle-habits-and-yeast-infections/
6 The Top 10 Immune Busters, http://www.prevention.com/health/healthy-living/habits-hurt-your-immune-system