How To Cure A Yeast Infection
If you're dealing with the uncomfortable sensations of a yeast infection (also known as vaginal candidiasis), you're in good company: according to the CDC, yeast infections are the second most common vaginal infection in the United States. In fact, Mayo Clinic estimates that three out of four women will get a yeast infection at some point in their life. Even though they're common, they can still be pretty annoying and embarrassing (I've had my fair share), especially when it feels like you can't seem to make that yeast infection go away. The good news is that with the right treatment and some simple lifestyle changes, you can be well on your way to feeling normal again.
Why Do I Get Yeast Infections Often?
About 8% of women get chronic or recurrent yeast infections, which are defined as yeast infections that you get at least four times a year. Sound like you? Read on—you're not alone if you're getting these infections over and over...and over.
Some bodies have a balance of conditions that promote yeast overgrowth, which makes you more likely to get chronic infections. Candida overgrowth causes most instances of yeast infections — and this yeast appears naturally in all of our bodies.
You may be getting recurring vaginal yeast infections because:
Your vaginal bacteria is out of whack
You're providing a damp environment for Candida to thrive
You have a weakened immune system
Vaginal Bacteria Imbalance
A healthy balance of Vaginal bacteria typically prevents Candida from (over)growing too much. However, any variation or imbalance in that bacteria may let Candida start growing unchecked. These imbalances and variations in vaginal bacteria commonly happen when you do things like take antibiotics (unavoidable sometimes) or douche (more soon on why you should stop douching), which can remove too much bacteria from your vagina. A good way to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria is by taking a daily probiotic.
Candida also loves wet conditions like saliva or sweat. If you're providing a continuously damp environment, like when you leave on bathing suits or workout clothes for too long, Candida will move in like a friend crashing on your couch—and can make a mess of your life for a few weeks.
Weakened Immune System
You're at risk for getting chronic yeast infections if your immune system is weaker than usual. Some factors that can cause a weakened immune system include:
Taking certain kinds of medication
Other health conditions
What Are Some Causes of Recurrent Yeast Infections?
If you're getting yeast infections frequently, some common causes may be behind it. Possible reasons for your recurring yeast infections include:
Your initial infection wasn't treated completely
You're transmitting an infection back and forth
You're getting the infection through sexual activity
You're creating humid or moist conditions
You have a drug-resistant strain of yeast
Untreated Initial Infections
Many patients want to know, "how long does a yeast infection last?" But the answer is not always straightforward. One cause of chronic yeast infections is not treating the first infection completely. If you have a yeast infection that doesn't respond to the first treatment prescribed, a doctor may suggest long-term antifungals such as weekly oral or vaginal medications. You may need to take these medications for up to six months. I know that feels like forever, but knowing how to cure a yeast infection with the right treatment will help you get back to a normal life, sans itchy vagina.
Passing an Infection Back and Forth with Skin-to-Skin Contact
Candida infections don't only happen in the vagina. They can also occur in the mouth (Oral Thrush) and on other parts of the skin. This happens most often between babies and breastfeeding mothers. Preventing recurring transmissions means making sure both baby and mom are cured completely. If you're breastfeeding, you may need to bottle-feed instead while you're treating the infections.
Transmitting through Sexual Activity
Although yeast infections aren't classified as STIs, you can transmit yeast infections through sexual activity. If you're getting yeast infections that keep coming back (or that's happening to your partner or partners), wearing dental dams and condoms can help. You can try showering after sexual activity, too. Just make sure you don't douche, as this can increase problems with Candida.
Moist and Humid Conditions
If you live in a humid area, you're sweating all the time and you're staying in damp clothing, this can lead to the growth of yeast or fungus. Wearing breathable fabrics and cotton underwear can make your body less tempting for yeast.
Drug-Resistant Strain of Yeast
While uncommon, drug-resistant strains of yeast could be the culprit of your chronic issues. Your doctor might suggest that you take an antifungal medication you haven't taken yet or try a multifaceted strategy, including changes to your overall lifestyle and/or taking probiotics.
Can You Be Prone to Yeast Infections?
Along with external factors like douching, antibiotic use, moist conditions and poor hygiene that can make getting infections more likely, you may just be prone to these pesky infections due to heredity. Other factors that put you at a higher risk include:
High levels of estrogen
Weakened immune system
Dealing With Recurrent Yeast Infections
Telehealth is a great way to connect with a doctor when you can't get out of the house—or simply if you want to be discreet. After taking a 2 minute, online Symptoms Quiz, our doctor may prescribe antifungal medications, or recommend maintenance treatment, depending on your type of recurrent yeast infection to help stop the infection from returning.
I get that talking about your vagina isn't always the most comfortable thing, but wisp makes it easier to have these necessary chats. After all, you know what's more uncomfortable than talking about it? Having to deal with yeast infections all the time!
Wisp doctors help you get advice about yeast infections you need without ever leaving your own couch. Once diagnosed, they'll prescribe medication you can pick up the same day from a local pharmacy. If you'd rather get your prescription sent to you in discreet packaging so no one has to know you're taking it, we'll ship it to you for free.
You might not be able to prevent all yeast infections, but you can manage your symptoms by sticking to treatments and plans you discuss with your doctor. You'll get back to feeling like your usual self more quickly if you do.
Here are a few daily life hacks that may help prevent yeast infections, too:
Avoid douching and scented hygiene products: Society would have us assign nasty adjectives to vaginas, but you know what? Vaginas are naturally pretty good at keeping clean. Douching can cut down on healthy bacteria, while scented sanitary pads, bubble baths or shower gels can irritate sensitive skin and increase the risk of infection.
Practice good feminine hygiene: Wipe from front to back when you use the bathroom, and make sure you frequently change any panty liners, pads and tampons you're using.
Wear the right underwear: Loose, breathable underwear, especially cotton, allows excess moisture to move away from those warm and damp areas of your body.
If you feel like you have a yeast infection all the time, you're not alone. Speak with a doctor to figure out what's behind your recurrent yeast infections so you can start managing your symptoms.