Every woman has a small number of healthy yeast cells in her vagina, but when there's an overgrowth of these, it's likely that she's experiencing a yeast infection. With symptoms like unusual discharge, pain, or irritation, a yeast infection may be a big bother, but the issue is very common, relatively easy to treat, and may be preventable if you take the right measures.
Stay dry: Wearing wet bathing suits or staying in sweaty workout clothing is not a good idea, since excess moisture causes yeast (candida) to flourish. Always have a change of underwear when possible; this is especially important if you've been in a hot tub, lake, or river, since bacteria flourishes in these environments.
Don't douche: It may seem like douching would help the cause, but it's just not the case. The process flushes out the good bacteria that keep your pH in balance.
Learn about lube: All personal lubricants are not created equally. If you're prone to yeast infections, then stay away from glycerin-based choices. Yeast thrives on sugar, and since glycerin is a sugar-based liquid, you're better off choosing a different option.
Pick up probiotics: Eating yogurt with active cultures provides excellent protection from yeast infections. If you're not a fan, then take probiotic supplements instead. Going for a diet that's low in sugar will also keep the yeast beast at bay.
Clean up your diet: Candidiasis is by far the most common type of yeast infection. While it hasn't been proven that a full-blown candida cleanse diet clears up infections, many in the holistic health community believe that cutting out sugar, white flour, yeast, and cheese can drastically clear up major candida overgrowth issues. For those suffering from consistent yeast infections, cleaning up your diet might be something to consider.
Slow down: According to the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health, even stress and lack of sleep can cause yeast infections — just another reason to slow down, take time to relax, and get at least seven hours of sleep every night.
When you're dealing with a yeast infection, don't let it go untreated or expect it to clear up on its own. As soon as you've identified your symptoms, you'll want to treat it right away. Otherwise, you could be dealing with a far more gnarly situation later.
Find out the best ways to treat a yeast infection after the break!