Common Habits That May Be Causing Your Yeast Infections

Of all the gynecological problems that people across the globe experience, a yeast infection is the most common one. Statistics on the Women's Integrated Healthcare website show that about three-quarters of people with a vagina develop a yeast infection at least once in their lifetime. Meanwhile, about 9 million women living in the United States develop this condition at some point, via Wayne State University School of Medicine.

A person develops a yeast infection when a fungus in the vagina — known as candida — undergoes excessive growth. As Healthline explains, sexually active people as well as those who are not can develop a yeast infection. While the risk is low, this infection can also be passed on from one person to another during sexual intercourse. Nonetheless, it's not classified as a sexually-transmitted disease (STD).

Yeast infections are treatable with home remedies and over-the-counter medicines, but they can also go away on their own. According to Healthline, if you develop a yeast infection, you may experience vaginal itchiness, swelling in the outer and inner lips of your vagina (labia majora and labia minora, respectively), a rash, or a vaginal discharge that looks like "cottage cheese". Aside from that, you may also experience pain and a burning sensation while passing urine or having sex if you have a yeast infection.

What can increase the risk of developing yeast infections?

As aforementioned, vaginal yeast infections are fairly common and can be spread through sexual contact, however, certain habits can put you at a greater risk of developing this condition.

For instance, if you wear super tight panties or clothes, allowing no air to reach your vagina, your chances of developing a yeast infection increase. Similarly, wearing damp clothes or not patting yourself dry properly after urination can make you more susceptible to fungal infections due to excessive moisture, via Glamour. Moreover, if you are diabetic, pregnant, or have a history of yeast infections, you should consider changing your clothes immediately after gymming or swimming to avoid moisture buildup in your nether region, Dr. Jacqueline Ho, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at USC Keck School of Medicine told Well+Good.

Akin to that, if you are on antibiotic medicines, certain hormonal birth control pills, or if your consumption of foods containing sugar and yeast is high, you may be more at risk of developing a yeast infection, per Glamour. According to Healthline, you should also consider changing your tampons or pads frequently during your period and watch out for products such as lubes, shower gels, or feminine washes if you are already prone to fungal infections.

Treating vaginal yeast infections

Since yeast infections are common, they can go away on their own and may not require medication per se. But if the condition is causing discomfort — for example, if you have developed severe itching or a rash — several home remedies can provide relief.

As Healthline points out, you can increase your intake of Greek yogurt or other foods and supplements containing probiotics to treat your infection. Likewise, the application of coconut oil or oregano oil to the affected area can help alleviate your condition. Similarly, adding more garlic to your diet, as shown by studies, could also be an effective way of getting rid of candida, via Healthline.

If you feel that your condition has not improved, you can seek over-the-counter medicines such as vaginal creams or suppositories. According to WebMD, the most common types of creams used to treat yeast infections include "clotrimazole, butoconazole, miconazole nitrate, and tioconazole." You can also opt for oral medication to treat your condition if you do not prefer to apply creams. But before opting for any of these remedies, you must make sure that you have a yeast infection and not some other type of infection, because if you do, you may want to see your doctor immediately to avoid further complications.