Are You Helping Yourself Get Those Annoying Yeast Infections?
If you’re a woman, odds are you’ve had at least one yeast infection in your life. Overall, three out of four women will have a yeast infection over their lifetime.
While usually harmless, but annoying, infrequent yeast infections are not a big deal. But, if you have frequent yeast infections, we should see you at Women’s Health Medical Group.
Here’s some info about the causes of yeast infections and some things you may be doing to encourage them to develop.
What causes a yeast infection?
Candida albicans are behind up to 90% of yeast infections. This fungus lives in various locales of your body: your vagina, mouth, nose, digestive tract, and on your skin. It’s the job of bacteria to keep this yeast from growing too fast. But certain conditions help this yeast grow out of normal balance, leading to a yeast infection.
Yeast infection symptoms
Since most of us have had one, we are pretty familiar with the symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection. Common symptoms include:
- Extreme vaginal itching
- Soreness and redness in the vaginal area
- Painful intercourse
- White, clumpy vaginal discharge that can resemble cottage cheese
These factors make developing a yeast infection more likely
- Taking antibiotics — This is the most common cause of yeast infections. There are two ways that antibiotics lead to yeast infections. First, antibiotics, as is their job, kill bacteria and other organisms in the vagina. Unfortunately, this includes the bacteria lactobacillus acidophilus, whose job is to keep yeast cells under control. Medications can also alter the pH balance in the vagina, creating the environment where yeast can overgrow.
- Changes in hormone levels — Pregnancy, hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, even specific times during your period can all lead to yeast infections. High levels of estrogen can cause yeast infections, and this is the case during pregnancy and HRT.
- Douching — The commercials may sound sensible, but douching upsets the natural balance of yeast and bacteria living happily in your vagina. This balance is what keeps the yeast in check.
- Diabetes — Yeast love excess glucose. So, if you’re not managing your diabetes properly, allowing blood sugar levels to elevate, you’re setting up for a yeast infection.
- Weakened immune system — Conditions that weaken your immune system, obviously HIV and AIDS, but also being overly stressed or having a cold can all raise your odds of getting a yeast infection.
While very annoying and uncomfortable, yeast infections are not usually serious. But if you have frequent yeast infections, you need to call us at Women’s Health Medical Group, (817) 346-5336, because this may be a sign of a different kind of infection.