Yeast infections can be a pain.
So if you are prone to them (or if you are taking antibiotics or certain medications) it’s essential to know these different hacks to preventing them before they happen. Of course, every person is different, so if one of these prevention methods doesn’t work for you, don’t get discouraged. Try a different one!
1. Watch Your Sugar Intake
The most common yeast infection is caused by a yeast called Candida. Candida thrives off of sugar, and therefore, eating a lot of sugar can trigger overgrowth. So if you’re prone to yeast infections, consider avoiding excessive sugar intake in your diet. A great sweetener alternative to sugar is Stevia, which does not trigger Candida overgrowth.
2. Eat Yogurt and Probiotics
The probiotics in yogurt can help to restore healthy bacteria in your gut and is thought to help keep the vagina healthy— though there is little research on how much yogurt would be necessary to create a significant change in vaginal health.
In a recent Italian study, however, participants who suffered from chronic yeast infections inserted a probiotic tablet, Lactobacillus, into their vaginas (once a night for seven nights, then every three nights for three weeks, then once a week) and their rates of yeast infection occurrences dropped by 87%! These probiotic pills can be found at drug and health food stores.
3. Drink Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is kind of amazing. It is a natural antibiotic, and can aid the body in fighting off bacterial and fungal infections. It also helps to balance pH levels, control blood glucose levels, and boost the body’s immune system. There are also some pretty delicious ways to make ACV cocktails. Yum!
4. Avoid Scented Tampons and Body Washes
Scented tampons and body washes can cause yeast infections because they often disrupt the pH balance of the vagina with their harsh chemicals. Your vagina cleans itself—you don’t need to wash it with soap—just use warm water to wash your vulva.
5. Wear Cotton or Silk Underwear
There are a lot of different synthetic fabrics for underwear, and these fabrics do not breathe. Cotton and silk underwear absorb moisture and keep you dry, whereas synthetic fabrics hold moisture in—creating the perfect environment for yeast to grow! So if you’re struggling with chronic yeast infections, consider switching out your panties.
6. Don’t Wear Tight Pants, Leggings, and Tights
Ugh, this one is hard; we live in a society of skinny pants and Under Armour. But these fabrics—similar to synthetic underwear—trap heat and moisture and can unfortunately encourage yeast infections.
So if you’re working out in tight leggings, bring a change of clothing (and underwear) to the gym and change out of them as soon as you’re done working out. If you’re swimming, you’ll also want to change out your bathing suit when you’re done—yeast thrives in moisture, so the drier you can keep your vulva, the better.
7. Consider Oral Contraceptive Alternatives
Oral contraceptives, such as the birth control pill, increase estrogen levels and make women more susceptible to vaginal yeast. If you notice a connection between beginning birth control and having recurrent yeast infections, consider some of the alternatives to the oral contraceptive.
8. Don’t Douche
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and most physicians recommend that women avoid douching—and one important factor in this advice is the fact that douching changes the “delicate balance of vaginal flora (organisms that live in the vagina) and acidity in a healthy vagina.” Douching pretty much demolishes all bacteria—good and bad—in the vagina, and can result in an overgrowth of “bad bacteria” and yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis.
Yeast infections are annoying to say the least. But once you know these simple hacks, it’s easy to prevent them. Do you have any yeast infection prevention hacks? Let us know in the comments below!