Nobody wants another yeast infection! But if you've had one, there's a 50% chance that you'll have another. Use these four secrets to prevent yeast infections.
Keep your medical conditions under control
Certain medical conditions and medications can increase your risk of yeast infections, such as:
- If you have diabetes, make sure your blood sugar levels are well controlled. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you're having trouble controlling your diabetes.
- If you have a health condition that weakens your immune system (such as HIV), talk to your doctor about how to control your condition and whether you should be taking medication to prevent yeast infections.
- If you are taking antibiotics, steroids, birth control pills, transplant medications, or medications for cancer, talk to your doctor or pharmacist about how to reduce your risk of yeast infections. This may include switching to a different medication, hygiene or clothing changes, or using preventative medications.
Update your wardrobe and hygiene
These simple clothing and hygiene changes may help reduce the risk of yeast infections:
- Keep your genital area clean and dry. Be sure to dry the area thoroughly after you have a bath or shower.
- Avoid using vaginal deodorants, harsh cleansers, perfumed soaps, douches, or antiseptics. They can irritate your vagina.
- Avoid clothing that fits tightly at the crotch.
- Wear cotton underwear (or underwear with a cotton crotch) rather than underwear made of synthetic fabrics.
- Wipe from front to back after using the toilet.
Have a yogurt a day
The role of diet changes is still being studied. Eating 240 mL (about one cup) per day of yogurt containing the healthy active bacteria Lactobacillus acidophilus can reduce the risk of yeast infections. Supplements known as probiotics containing Lactobacillus are also available, but these can be costly and are less likely to contain active bacteria (which are needed to prevent yeast infections). Not all yogurts are created equal - check the label to make sure it contains active Lactobacillus acidophilus (also called L. acidophilus).
Do high intakes of carbohydrates and calories cause yeast infections? The jury is still out. Some studies have shown an increased risk, while others have not. There is also no convincing evidence to suggest that a yeast-free diet will help prevent yeast infections.
Get help for frequent infections
Some of the same medications that are used to treat yeast infectionscan also be used to prevent them. Women who have frequent yeast infections (more than four in the last year) may need to take vaginal medications or pills daily, weekly, every two weeks, or monthly for a six-month period (or longer) as a preventative treatment. If you are suffering from frequent yeast infections, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.
If you follow these four secrets, your yeast infections may be a thing of the past! Still struggling? Time to pay a visit to your doctor! Fill out our "Doctor Discussion Guide" to help you prepare for your doctor visit.
Written and reviewed by the MediResource Clinical Team