A girlfriend of mine has struggled with yeast infections her entire adult life. I remember telling her years back that I must be so lucky, since I had never had one before. But something changed around the time I turned twenty-seven, and I started getting one every few months. The more I discussed this issue with other girlfriends, I began to discover I am not alone.
There are certain factors that can cause chronic yeast infections. For all the lucky women like me and like so many of my girlfriends, knowing what could be causing these sneaky little nasties can be the key to eliminating the potential for infection.
Chronically Taking Antibiotics
I’ve actually mentioned in previous posts that taking antibiotics like candy can be a big, bad No-No. Here’s why: For one, our bodies become used to them, and over time, we need bigger, stronger pills to eliminate infection. Antibiotics can kill off all the lovely, good bacteria we have in our vaginas. Of course, some women can take antibiotics and never have an issue (screw good for them, right?). But, there are times when we absolutely must take a full course of them.
However, a full course of antibiotics can kill off so much of your healthy bacteria, that your vagina begins to overgrow yeast. Now, I’m certainly not going to tell you not take antibiotics at all. If you’ve scored yourself one of those super fun UTI things (an infection I have been plagued with since childhood that I wouldn’t wish on my worst damn enemies), antibiotics are a M-U-S-T, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Taking probiotics can help immensely. You can buy them in pill form, or you can stock up on yogurt packed with acidophilus, which is a bacteria that naturally exists in your vagina.
Just make sure you are taking your antibiotics at least an hour or more before digesting anything dairy.
Okay, Lululemon is not entirely responsible for your yeast infection. However, one of the biggest mistakes I was making was working out in the mornings and then running errands afterwards without changing out of my workout clothes. Can’t blame me — or all the other women who do this — because workout pants are the comfiest things to ever exist, and they make my butt look fab.
But trapped sweat, scented feminine products (thank you, Kali, for giving us the best unscented tampons for our lovely, perfect-the-way-they-are vaginas), wiping incorrectly (ALWAYS FRONT TO BACK, LADIES), living in tight thongs, and spending all day in damp bikini bottoms are all factors that play into getting yeast infections.
Bring a change of clothes to your yoga class, throw out that scented wash (trust me, your vagina does not need to smell like flowers), and let your vagina breathe every now and then.
Honestly, some of us are just genetically cursed. While our vaginas have yeast 24/7, some of us just have a genetic susceptibility to the type of yeast that causes that oh-so-uncomfy itch. If this is the case, your doctor can prescribe preventative anti-fungals that can be taken weekly, or twice weekly if intravaginal. Your best bet is to consult with your doc to find out if this is what’s causing your infections.
Corticosteroids and other meds like ones used for rheumatoid arthritis can suppress your immune system, which creates an environment for yeast to overgrow, since your body’s defense system is weakened.
If you ever notice a white film-like substance on your tongue, this could be an indication that your body is overproducing yeast. You can take probiotics or anti-fungal medications, but your best bet is to talk to your doc to see what changes in treatment can possibly be made first.