75% of women will get at least one yeast infection during their lifetime.
There are several types of vaginitis, including vaginal yeast infections. This fungal infection is caused by yeast overgrowth and its symptoms can be intense. Most women experience one or two vaginal yeast infections during their lifetime, but some women suffer from recurrent fungal infections.
Factors that Increase Your Risk of Yeast Infections
There are many factors that can increase your risk of getting a yeast infection. The most common include:
- Antibiotic use
- Increased estrogen levels
- Uncontrolled diabetes
- Impaired immune system
Fortunately, there are effective ways for women to take control of their wellness and prevent these infections from developing. Consider visiting a candida treatment center to discuss ways of combating yeast overgrowth before it starts.
Why Do Some Women Get Recurrent Yeast Infections
For many women, yeast overgrowth is a recurring problem. Recurrent yeast infections are generally defined as four or more infections per year. There are many issues that can contribute to the recurrence of yeast overgrowth, including hormonal imbalances such as those caused by estrogen therapy, birth control pills, and pregnancy. The use of antibiotics is another common culprit. Antibiotics kill the beneficial bacteria that the gut needs to keep Candida under control.
Another medical condition that may cause recurrent yeast overgrowth includes obesity. Poorly controlled diabetes is another possibility since Candida thrives on high glucose levels. It’s also possible that some women develop recurrent yeast infections because of an allergic reaction to Candida or because of a localized immune defect of the reproductive organs.
Ways to Reduce Your Risk
Diet plays a significant role in the balance of microflora in the body. Yeast thrives on sugar, which means that a high-sugar diet allows the yeast to flourish. For some women who only occasionally develop mild yeast infections, it may be sufficient to eliminate added sugars from the diet.
Other women may need to make more significant changes, such as by following the candida diet. The candida diet eliminates such unhealthy foods as refined carbohydrates, processed foods, alcohol, trans fats, and artificial sweeteners. Yogurt is a commonly utilized food to fight yeast overgrowth. However, the candida diet also eliminates dairy products. Women following this diet may wish to take a probiotic supplement instead.
Another important step to take for the prevention of vaginal yeast infections is the proper management of certain medical conditions such as diabetes. Poorly controlled diabetes is characterized by high blood glucose levels. Glucose is sugar, which yeast feeds on. If you have diabetes, your doctor can recommend a healthy meal plan and exercise program to manage your blood glucose levels.
Often, yeast infections arise as a secondary infection. For example, if you have a respiratory infection caused by bacteria, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics. Antibiotics kill both good and bad bacteria, and this disruption of the balance of microflora permits yeast overgrowth to occur. It’s generally best to avoid the unnecessary use of antibiotics, although it’s also important to remember that in some situations, antibiotics can be lifesavers.
In addition to feeding on sugar, yeast thrives in a warm, moist environment. This is one reason why vaginal yeast overgrowth is so common. It’s important to cleanse the vaginal area daily with a bar of hypoallergenic, unscented soap and to dry the skin thoroughly. Avoid using feminine deodorizing sprays or powders, and never douche. Choose lightweight cotton or silk underwear instead of synthetic fabrics and avoid clothing that is too tight. Change into dry clothes promptly after swimming or exercising.
When to Seek Medical Care
Yeast infections typically are not life-threatening but if you think you have a yeast infection it is best to schedule an appointment with your doctor. Even if you abide by all the recommendations above you can still get a yeast infection.
– Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Mitchell Medical Group, NYC
About the Author – Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D.
Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. is a Board Certified Allergist and Immunologist based out of NYC. He graduated from the Sackler School of Medicine and completed training at the Robert Cooke Allergy Institute in New York City. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, a fellow of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, and the author of Dr. Dean Mitchell’s Allergy and Asthma Solution: The Ultimate Program for Reversing Your Symptoms One Drop at a Time. Dr. Dean Mitchell, M.D. has also been featured in The New York Times, The Huffington Post, Fitness Magazine, Dr. Oz and News NY 1. Dr. Mitchell also hosts the podcast The Smartest Doctor in the Room – a combination of a lively, personal and in-depth interview with top healthcare specialists.