Why Am I Getting So Many Yeast Infections
Women come to Dr. Jen Gunters vaginitis clinic in San Francisco and tell her they havent eaten cake or chocolate in two years because they think it will make their recurrent yeast infections worse. Others believe gluten is the culprit , while some think sex is partially to blame. Meanwhile, many of them have been using over-the-counter yeast infection treatments as well as douching and overwashing, all of which could lead to more itching and irritation in the long run. Gunter, a gynecologist and the director of pelvic pain and vulvovaginal disorders at Kaiser Permanente San Francisco, says true recurrent yeast infections, defined as four or more per year, are pretty rare only 5 to 8 percent of women have them, though theyre more common among people with diabetes. But she says she sees patients every week who swear they have them and are desperate for relief.
The problem is that women in the United States have become encultured to believe that any bothersome vaginal symptom is a yeast infection and they automatically go to treat that, when its not, she says.
How To Get Rid Of Chronic Yeast Infections: What Are Your Treatment Options
Over-the-counter medications can work for occasional yeast infections. But for chronic yeast infections, its best to see a healthcare provider for an accurate diagnosis and medical advice. They will first determine if youre in fact dealing with a yeast infection or another conditionsuch as a sexually transmitted infection , bacterial vaginosis, or urinary tract infection that has similar symptoms.
Once the doctor confirms you have recurrent yeast infections, they will work with you to identify the underlying cause. If its something that can be changed with lifestyle adjustments , thats a great place to start.
Whatever your healthcare provider recommends, be sure to follow their directions. Doing so gives you the best chance of knocking out the current yeast infection and preventing future infections.
Heres How To Help Prevent Yeast Infections
- Change out of wet swimsuits and exercise clothes as soon as you can
- Avoid scented hygiene products like bubble bath, sprays, pads, and tampons
- Change tampons and pads often during your period
- Avoid tight underwear or clothes made of synthetic fibers
- Wear cotton underwear and pantyhose with a cotton crotch
- If you keep getting yeast infections, be sure and talk with your doctor
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Should I Call My Doctor Or Nurse If I Think I Have A Yeast Infection
Yes. Seeing your doctor or nurse is the only way to know for sure if you have a yeast infection and not a more serious type of infection.
The signs and symptoms of a yeast infection are a lot like symptoms of other more serious infections, such as STIs and bacterial vaginosis . If left untreated, STIs and BV raise your risk of getting other STIs, including HIV, and can lead to problems getting pregnant. BV can also lead to problems during pregnancy, such as premature delivery.
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Heres When You Should See A Doctor
First, in general, you should see a doctor if this is your first time experiencing yeast infection symptoms, if youre not sure you have a yeast infection, or if your symptoms arent going away with the typical over-the-counter antifungal vaginal creams or suppositories that have treated your yeast infections in the past, per the Mayo Clinic.
Beyond that, if youre dealing with chronic yeast infectionsfour or more a yearits definitely worth talking to your gynecologist so they can help you figure out what might be going on. Like we mentioned earlier, one reason you might be getting recurrent yeast infections could be that yours are caused by an atypical type of fungus, which could require a different type of treatment.
To see whats going on, your doctor will likely take a sample of your vaginal fluid and get it tested to figure out which fungus is to blame for your yeast infections, according to the Mayo Clinic. IDing the fungus is critical because it can help them prescribe more effective treatment so you can kick your chronic yeast infections for good.
When To See A Doctor About Recurring Yeast Infections
See your doctor if you’re experiencing more than four yeast infections a year, or if at-home treatments haven’t been enough to clear your yeast infection after two weeks, Dr. Gersh recommends.
Your provider can prescribe a more powerful antifungal to help clear the infection, and if needed, help you address any underlying factors that could be causing the yeast infections to recur.
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How To Avoid Frequent Yeast Infections
Yeast infections are not only annoying, they are very common. Three out of four women will have a yeast infection at some point in their lives, and most women experience at least two infections. Those with recurrent infections may experience as many as four or more a year.
Most yeast infections are easily treated. However, for some women, recurrent problems require a more specialized plan of care. In these cases, itching can become so severe that it causes swelling and sores. Weve been very successful at treating these chronic infections and helping women avoid them, said Dr. Anne Martinelli.
Keep Getting Yeast Infections Here’s What Your Body’s Trying To Tell You
The majority of people with vaginas will get a yeast infection at least once, or maybe even twice, in their lifetime. But is it normal for them to practically be a regular thing?
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Vaginal yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans. They’re typically marked by intense vaginal itching or irritation, redness or swelling, burning while urinating and vaginal discharge that can be watery or white and cottage cheese-like, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Yeast infections are considered recurring if a person has four or more of them per year. When that happens, they’re typically triggered by an underlying cause that needs to be addressed.
Here are the most common culprits behind recurrent yeast infections and what you can do to find relief.
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Does Yogurt Prevent Or Treat Yeast Infections
Maybe. Studies suggest that eating eight ounces of yogurt with “live cultures” daily or taking Lactobacillus acidophilus capsules can help prevent infection.4,5
But, more research still needs to be done to say for sure if yogurt with Lactobacillus or other probiotics can prevent or treat vaginal yeast infections. If you think you have a yeast infection, see your doctor or nurse to make sure before taking any over-the-counter medicine.
Your Clothes Are Too Tight
Frequently wearing tight bottoms â especially ones made of synthetic materials â won’t alone cause a yeast infection. But it can increase your odds, especially if you have other risk factors.
“If all of the variables are aligned with an infection, it’s possible that recurring yeast infections will be the default position and occur continuously,” Dr. Gersh says.
âFix it: âStart by talking with your doctor to address any potential underlying issues that could be setting the stage for yeast infections, like those mentioned above. While you take steps to address those, make it a point to wear bottoms that are made of natural, breathable materials and have a looser fit.
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How Are Yeast Infections Treated During Pregnancy
During pregnancy, physicians recommend vaginal creams and suppositories only. The oral medication, Diflucan , has not been proven safe during pregnancy and lactation. Not all vaginal creams and suppositories are okay to use during pregnancy, so it is best to consult your doctor or pharmacist to get the right one. If left untreated, yeast infections can pass to your babys mouth during delivery. This is called thrush and is effectively treated with Nystatin.It may take 10-14 days to find relief or completely clear up the infection while you are pregnant. After the infection has cleared up and any sores have healed, it may be helpful to use a starch-free drying powder, or Nystatin powder to prevent a recurring infection.
How To Manage Chronic Yeast Infections
The sooner you treat a yeast infection, the faster you can get rid of the associated discomfort. Call your doctor if your yeast infection seems persistent.
Once your doctor confirms the diagnosis, its important to take the necessary steps to make sure you get rid of it for good. This will also help manage the possibility of chronic cases. Consider the following tips to manage chronic yeast infections:
- Make sure you take your full course of medication, even if symptoms go away before the medicine is gone and even if you dont think its working right away.
- If youre sexually active, ask your partner to get tested for Candida, too. This will help prevent the infection from spreading.
- Change and launder your clothing and fabrics, like towels and sheets, regularly and separate from other clothing. Consider adding bleach, or distilled white vinegar to the wash.
- Wash items that come into contact with infected areas directly after use to prevent spreading yeast cells or re-infecting yourself.
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Is It Time To See My Doctor About My Yeast Infections
The infection keeps coming back. If your last infection was less than 2 months ago, or if you have had 4 or more infections in the last year, see your doctor. Frequent yeast infections can be a sign of an underlying health problem or ineffective self-treatment. Your doctor can help uncover the cause and find a treatment that works.
The treatment you tried isn’t working. Even though you checked to make sure that you used your last treatment exactly as recommended, it may just not be the right one for your infection. You may have a resistant infection, or you may be infected with a type of yeast for which the medication you tried was not effective. Your doctor can help you find out why the treatment didn’t work, and can recommend one that will.
You’re pregnant or breast-feeding. Your doctor can help you choose a treatment option that is effective for you and safe for your baby.
You’re having other symptoms or are not sure if it’s a yeast infection. If you have a fever, pelvic pain, or a smelly or coloured discharge, see your doctor. These are signs that you may have a different type of infection. Yeast infection treatments will not work for infections that aren’t caused by yeast. It’s important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis and treatment if you have other symptoms.
Do Guys Get Yeast Infections
Guys who are not circumcised need to take extra care to clean properly beneath their foreskins. The warm, moist folds of the foreskin are the perfect environment for yeast to thrive. Keeping the area clean and dry may help prevent an infection. If symptoms do show up, a doctor can treat the infection.
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How Is Yeast Infection Treated
Your healthcare provider will consider your age, overall health, how widespread the infection is and other factors to determine your treatment.
Yeast infections can be easily treated with ointments or other anti-yeast creams.
- Yeast infection in the mouth may be treated with a medicated mouthwash. Or it may be treated with lozenges that dissolve in the mouth.
- If you have a severe infection and have a weak immune system, you may need to take an oral anti-yeast medicine.
- Esophageal yeast infections are usually treated with oral or intravenous anti-yeast medicines.
- Yeast infections of the nails are treated with an oral anti-yeast medicine.
- Yeast infections in the skin folds can be treated with anti-yeast powders.
Is It Safe To Use Over
Yes, but always talk with your doctor or nurse before treating yourself for a vaginal yeast infection. This is because:
- You may be trying to treat an infection that is not a yeast infection. Studies show that two out of three women who buy yeast infection medicine don’t really have a yeast infection.2 Instead, they may have an STI or bacterial vaginosis . STIs and BV require different treatments than yeast infections and, if left untreated, can cause serious health problems.
- Using treatment when you do not actually have a yeast infection can cause your body to become resistant to the yeast infection medicine. This can make actual yeast infections harder to treat in the future.
- Some yeast infection medicine may weaken condoms and diaphragms, increasing your chance of getting pregnant or an STI when you have sex. Talk to your doctor or nurse about what is best for you, and always read and follow the directions on the medicine carefully.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Yeast Infections
The symptoms of a yeast infection may include one or more of the following:
- Discharge that is usually white/tan in color, similar to cottage cheese and may smell like yeast/bread
- Other discharge may be greenish or yellowish, also similar to cottage cheese and may smell like yeast/bread
- An increase in discharge
- Burning sensation during urination or intercourse
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Dont Use Antibiotics Unnecessarily
Try to avoid using antibiotics for minor infections, such as an ear infection. In these cases, antibiotics will only shorten your healing time by a day or two.
Ask your doctor if theres anything else that might help before starting antibiotics.
But if your doctor does recommend taking them, make sure to finish the entire course. Not doing so can contribute to antibiotic resistance, which makes antibiotics ineffective against harmful bacteria.
Why Do Utis Return Despite Treatment
There are about a half-dozen oral antibiotics that treat UTIs. Sometimes a doctor will prescribe one drug, then switch to another after a urine culture identifies which bacteria is at work. Adjusting the medication can take time, and recurrent infections may occur in the meantime.
Sometimes a person starts to feel better and decides to stops taking the antibiotic contrary to the doctors instructions and another infection soon follows. Its never a good idea to stop taking antibiotics before your dosage is complete.
But even people who take medication as the doctor prescribes may get recurrent infections, Dr. Vasavada says.
If youre a younger woman who is sexually active, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic to take before and after sexual activity. For post-menopausal women, a vaginal estrogen cream may help reduce infections.
If infections persist, your doctor may test for other health problems in the kidney, bladder or other parts of the urinary system.
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What Could Be Happening
Most yeast infections are caused by a type of fungus called Candida albicans. Other kinds of fungus can cause yeast infections, too, but antifungal treatments usually only target the most common one. If your infection is caused by something different, antifungals used to treat yeast infections may not be effective for you.
Or, while it may seem as though youâre getting new infections, you may not have gotten rid of the first one. Be sure to follow your treatment instructions carefully and finish all of your medicine.
Using antibiotics too often can lower the amount of good bacteria in your . This can allow candida to grow and raise your chances of a yeast infection. The longer you use antibiotics, the more likely you are to get one.
High blood sugar from uncontrolled diabetes makes it easier for yeast to feed and thrive.
Hormonal birth control, including oral contraceptive pills and spermicidal creams and jellies, may alter the balance of bacteria in your , allowing more candida to grow.
Wearing wet or tight clothing, like sweaty gym clothes that you don’t change out of right away, or a damp bathing suit after a swim, creates a warm, damp place that yeast likes.
How Can I Prevent A Yeast Infection Or Recurring Yeast Infections
Most yeast infections can usually be avoided by doing the following:
- Wear loose, breathable cotton clothing and cotton underwear.
- After regular, thorough washing , use your blow dryer on a low, cool setting to help dry the outside of your genital area.
- Always wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
- Shower immediately after you swim. Change out of your swimsuit, workout clothes, or other damp clothes as soon as possible.
- use sanitary pads and tampons that contain deodorant
- take a bubble bath/use scented soaps
- use colored or perfumed toilet paper
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