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Preventing Yeast Infections

Preventing Yeast Infections

Ask any woman you know and she’ll agree, having a vaginal yeast infection is no fun. It’s a very common infection to contract. About 75% of women have at least one yeast infection in their life, and about 50% will have two or more. Educating yourself about conditions that can raise your risk of infection can make all the difference in helping you heal and avoid another infection in the future.


Yeast is a fungus called Candida albicans. Small amounts of this fungus are always present in the vagina, but when too much yeast grows, it causes an infection. Symptoms of a yeast infection can include all or some of several symptoms, including intense vaginal itching, swelling, cottage cheese-like vaginal discharge, and a vaginal rash. Additionally, the symptoms can range from mild to severe.

A yeast infection is not a sexually transmitted infection, but it shares many of the same symptoms as Chlamydia or gonorrhea. That means if you’ve never had a yeast infection before, it’s important to see your AOA doctor and find out exactly what you have. All your doctor needs to do is a pelvic exam to look for swelling and discharge and take a quick swab to check under the microscope to confirm a yeast infection.

Yeast infections can be treated with creams, tablets, and ointments or suppositories that can be inserted into the vagina. Depending on the severity of the infection, treatments are available over-the-counter or by prescription. Remember though, it is important to confirm that your infection is a yeast infection before you begin your treatment.

Risk Factors for Yeast Infection

There are a lot of things that can raise your risk of getting yeast infection, including stress, lack of sleep, illness, a poor diet with too much sugar, pregnancy, hormonal changes during your period, taking certain medications, and poorly controlled diabetes.

Steps You Can Take to Avoid Getting A Yeast Infection

  • Avoiding douches and any scented hygiene products like bubble bath, sprays, pads, and tampons
  • Change tampons and pads often during your period
  • Change out of wet swimsuits or sweaty exercise clothes as soon as you can
  • Avoid tight underwear or clothes made of synthetic fibers
  • Avoid hot tubs and very hot baths

Repeated Yeast Infections

If you keep getting yeast infections, be sure to tell your AOA healthcare provider. Only a very small percentage (about five percent) of women get four or more yeast infections a year. This is called recurrent vulvovaginal candiasas or RVVC and is more common with women with diabetes or weak immune systems. Treatment with antifungal medicine can take several months.