6 Habits That Cause Vaginal Yeast Infections

Keeping your intimate area dry and ventilated is essential for preventing vaginal yeast infections, since yeast loves hot and humid conditions.
6 Habits That Cause Vaginal Yeast Infections

Last update: 18 May, 2021

The vaginal area is one of the most sensitive areas in women. Therefore, it’s really important to take care of it to keep it healthy and prevent any discomfort. One of the most common problems in this area is vaginal yeast infections.

A vaginal yeast infection is a fungal infection that causes irritation, discharge, and intense itching in the vagina, vulva, and vaginal opening. Vaginal yeast infections are also known as vaginal candidiasis and can affect any woman at any time of her life.

Know which habits can cause vaginal yeast infections so you can kick them to the curb.

Symptoms of Vaginal Yeast Infections

Before we start talking about the habits or mistakes that may cause this problem, it’s important you know how to recognize it. The symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection can vary from mild to moderate and include:

  • Vaginal pain
  • A vaginal rash
  • Redness and swelling of the vulva
  • Itching and irritation of the vagina and vaginal opening
  • A burning sensation, especially during intercourse or urination

Habits That Cause Vaginal Yeast Infections

Now that you know the symptoms of this infection, it’s time to talk about what causes this problem. You’ll probably think that most of the causes seem trivial, so it’s essential to stay vigilant and make adjustments to reduce your risk of infection.

1. Wearing tight-fitting or damp clothes

bikini bottoms hanging from a washing line

The first habit that can cause a vaginal yeast infection is using clothes and underpants that are too tight and made of materials that don’t allow you to breathe. For that reason, it’s always best to use cotton underpants (and clothing in general on your lower half) that aren’t too tight.

Remember, yeast and bacteria thrive in moist, warm, and dark environments. For that reason, the increase in humidity caused by tight clothing creates the perfect environment for yeast to grow and develop into an infection.

How to prevent it

  • Wear cotton underwear and if you’re going to wear leggings or jeans, ensure they’re not too tight. Similarly, we recommend you avoid wearing tight underpants and tight pants at the same time.
  • Also, change your clothes after about 8 to 12 hours or immediately after exercising if you’ve sweated. Never “recycle” your gym clothes.
  • If you go swimming, take off your wet bathing suit as soon as possible.

2. Using vaginal douches

You can find products to wash the vaginal area in any supermarket and pharmacy. The problem is that douching alters the natural balance of the vaginal flora and can cause vaginal yeast infections.

How to prevent it

  • It’s best not to douche unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
  • Your body cleans this area naturally without the need for any extra help. Alternatively, you can wash it was water.

3. Swimming in public pools

woman swimming in a pool

Pools can cause vaginal yeast infections because the chemicals used to treat the water can alter the vaginal pH. Although these chemicals are used to keep pools in good condition, they make Candida multiply.

How to prevent it

  • Avoid spending too much time in pools. If you swim as a sport, it’s important that you change out of your wet bathing suit as soon as possible and dry the vaginal area with a clean cotton towel.
  • When drying the vaginal area, do it carefully and don’t rub too hard to prevent irritation.

4. Leading a stressful life

Stress can compromise the immune system and facilitate the development of vaginal yeast infections. When you combine this factor with others, your body will struggle to fight the issue of candidiasis.

How to prevent it

Although stress is common nowadays, it’s important to learn techniques to lessen its effects. Try meditation, yoga, and regular exercise.

5. Taking antibiotics

taking antibiotics; person tipping entire bottle of pills onto their hand
Using antibiotics in excess alters your normal microbiome. This imbalance may be related to chronic diseases.

Taking antibiotics for a long period of time can cause, among other issues, vaginal yeast infections. This is because antibiotics not only kill harmful microorganisms in your body but also make the vaginal pH less acidic.

How to prevent it

To prevent vaginal candidiasis when taking antibiotics, take probiotic supplements every day for the duration of the treatment and at least one week after finishing it.

6. Not changing pads and tampons frequently

As we already mentioned, yeast thrives in humid environments and pads and tampons hold humidity if you wear them for a long time.

How to prevent it

  • Be sure to change your pads and tampons frequently, especially as the weather becomes warmer. If you can, at least during the days where you have a heavier flow, it’s a good idea that you wash before inserting a new tampon.
  • Some women don’t do this because their flow isn’t heavy, but you should ideally change them every 3 to 5 hours.
  • We also don’t recommend using scented pads or tampons.

What to do in case of a vaginal yeast infection

Under normal circumstances, a vaginal yeast infection isn’t serious and can be treated with medication. However, it’s always a good idea to go see your gynecologist to get the right treatment and rule out any serious problem.

You can consult the following article so that you have an idea of what your doctor may tell you: Guide to the Clinical Practice of Vaginal Infections.

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