No one likes getting yeast infections…no one. However, 75% of women will endure the displeasure of a yeast infection once during their lives and as many as 45% of women will experience two or more bouts. During the hot sticky summer months, your likelihood of experiencing this uncomfortable vaginal condition is significantly increased. While you can’t always prevent a yeast infection, there’s no reason why you still can’t enjoy a little fun in the sun. Dallas-area gynecologist Dr. Maryann Prewitt, MD, FACOG suggests these basic guidelines to avoid the itching, burning, and other discomforts of a vaginal yeast infection.
TIPS TO PREVENT YEAST INFECTIONS YEAR ROUND
- Go for 100 % cotton fiber underwear, or at least wear panties with a cotton panel at the crotch. Pass on panty liners, which can increase your risk of recurrent vaginal yeast infections. Yeast thrives in damp, moist environments. So, take care to keep moisture away from your body.
- Avoid wearing tight-fitting jeans, pants and shorts to stay cool, dry, and “airy” below the waist…Skinny jeans look cute, but itching and burning down below? Not so much. Wear the tight, skinny jeans for special occasions and get out of them as soon as possible afterward.
- Avoid wearing nylon pantyhose or synthetic tights on a regular basis. If your workplace requires that you do so, look for the kind with a cotton panel to absorb moisture and wick it away from your body. Slip out of pantyhose as soon as you leave work. Or, try the thigh-high version.
- Get out of sweaty workout gear or wet swimsuits as soon as you can, because a damp environment provides a fertile breeding ground for yeast infections to grow and proliferate.
- Never use scented tampons, douches, scented powders, scented tampons or feminine deodorant sprays. These products contain perfumes and chemicals that upset the natural balance of beneficial bacteria and other microorganisms in the vagina that keep yeast growth in check. Don’t douche when you have a yeast infection. Douching can spread the infection up through your cervix and into the uterus. If that happens, you’ll face a much bigger problem than the pain and discomfort of an infection isolated to the vaginal area.
- After using the bathroom, always wipe from front to back to avoid spreading bacteria from the anus to the vagina.
In general, a healthy well-balanced diet and lifestyle represents one of the best deterrents for infections of any kind. Even so, some women have a higher potential for developing vaginal yeast infections than others. Pay special attention to these guidelines if you take antibiotics as they increase the risk of yeast overgrowth. And, if you engage in sex with a partner, you should know that he could have certain conditions that contribute to your propensity to develop vaginal yeast infections. If you don’t take antibiotics and follow all recommended precautions, yet still develop frequent infections; ask him to see his primary care physician or urologist for an evaluation.
As always, talk to your gynecologist if your symptoms persist or seem extreme. Now, get out there and play!
Medical Translation by Amy E. Shoultz, PhD. in concert with Dr. Maryann Prewitt, MD, FACOG
Photo credit: health.com