What is a vaginal yeast infection?
Yeast live in small numbers within the vagina. Harm only occurs when these fungi began to grow out of control. A growth of fungi can lead to redness, itching, and burning. In some instances, a white, odorless, and thick discharge resembling cottage cheese appears.
Lactobacillus bacteria (a healthy form) normally keep the vagina’s yeast levels and pH under control. The balance can be disturbed by uncontrolled diabetes, corticosteroids, antibiotics, or increased levels of estrogen. In many cases, it can be challenging for the doctor to find the culprit for a yeast infection.
Cotton Undergarments (or none)
A moist and warm environment can stimulate a yeasty infection colony. This is why one should wear cotton-lined underwear. Pantyhose and tight jeans should not be worn. One should also change out of gym clothes and swimsuits immediately. This golden age advice can help women avoid a yeast infection.
Jill Rabin, MD, head of urogynecology at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, stated, “I’m a big fan of wearing long skirts with no underwear to let air get to the perineal area for women who have a history of chronic infections.”
Dr. Rabin, author of Mind over Bladder, advises women not to use body sprays, scented douches, and the like. She believes these items can disrupt vaginal pH levels. Dr. Rabin also advises women to shower with unscented soap after intercourse (especially oral sex) to hinder bacteria from setting up shop.
Progestin -Only Birth Control
Estrogen-based contraception such as combination birth control pills, may lead to an uptick in yeast. “If a patient is very reliant in her on her particular method of birth control, we’ll work around it, but it is worth considering non-estrogen methods such as progestin-only mini-pills and IUD’s,” says Cullen.
Spermidicides, which can change the vaginal environment, may also cause problems. Cullen recommends using a water-based lubricant during sex: “Friction can upset the ecology of the vagina.”
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