Yeast lives naturally in the body and on the skin. A yeast infection occurs when it grows out of control and is one of the most prevalent health problems in today’s society. It is common in women as a vaginal yeast infection. Oral yeast infection or oral candidiasis is also common and is caused by certain types of yeast. (1)
Yeast infections may also occur in infants and toddlers. Superficial infections caused by yeast occur in moist and damp body areas. These commonly show up as a diaper rash. These rashes can be managed with frequent changes and medicated powders if necessary.
Among yeast infections, vaginal yeast infections are more prevalent. It is characterized by vaginal itching and discomfort. Women with vaginal yeast infections may also experience redness and swelling in the vagina or labia and adjacent tissues. Certain infections might produce intense itching or burning, leading to sexual pain and vaginal soreness. These yeast infections often cause a discharge of thick white liquid from your vagina. (2)
Most yeast infections clear up within a week with therapy. They can also be controlled with clean habits, prescribed medications, and by following preventive measures. This article covers all the aspects of yeast infection, its symptoms, and the most important preventive measures that one should adopt to avoid these infections. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned below or need more information for preventive measures, consult a professional expert or a yeast infection advisor.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene
Thrush is an infection caused by yeast, which can occur at several body sites. When an overgrowth of Candida fungus infects the mouth and throat of a person, it causes an oral yeast infection or oral thrush. (3)
Oral thrush is more common nowadays. It is due to the excessive use of antibiotics and immunosuppressant drugs. People that wear dentures or have diabetes are also at a greater risk of oral yeast infections. Some of the major symptoms of oral thrush are:
- Redness and soreness in the mouth
- Pain during eating
- White patches on the tongue, inner cheeks, the roof of the mouth, and throat
- Cracking of skin at the corner of the mouth
You are more likely to experience thrush problems if your immune system is weakened. The fungus that causes thrush can get into your bloodstream and spread to the heart, brain, eyes, or other parts of the body if left untreated. This is called systemic or invasive candidiasis. But the incidence of invasive candidiasis can be controlled by following certain preventive measures.
A person can prevent oral yeast infections by practicing good oral hygiene, eating healthy food, and avoiding high potency antibiotics that weaken the immune system. The use of antifungal and antibacterial mouth wash is also important to prevent oral thrush. Unhygienic oral conditions are considered favorable for yeast and support the growth of yeast. (4)
You can maintain good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day to prevent yeast infections. The use of antifungal mouthwash cleanses the oral cavity of yeast-like fungus as well. (5)
People using inhaled corticosteroid therapy could lower the chances of oral yeast infection by washing their mouth with a medicated mouthwash.
If you wear dentures, they need to be removed overnight. Then, soak them in the solution of chlorhexidine and white vinegar. This mixture removes the fungus from the dentures.
Always follow your prescribed treatment plan by your physician if your mouth is chronically dry. Get a regular dental checkup, particularly if you have diabetes or wear dentures. It would be best to get your teeth cleaned by your dentist every six months, even though you may be healthy and have no dental problems. Take actions to control blood sugar levels if you have diabetes.
An unhealthy diet may also affect oral thrush. Studies show that the intake of probiotic food and supplements might help limit the growth of Candida albicans. So, they help to prevent oral thrush. (6)
Avoiding certain food helps to prevent the growth of yeast infections. For example, limiting refined carbohydrates and sugar consumption can prevent oral thrush and other yeast infections.
Oral thrush can also be prevented by avoiding third-generation antibiotics and their long-term use. Their negative impact involves the growth of fungi and bacteria in the mouth, leading to chronic yeast infection that may spread to the esophagus.
Limit High Sugar and Refined foods
High sugar or carbohydrate-rich foods act as a stimulator that supports yeast overgrowth. Sugary conditions allow the yeast to multiply rapidly and cause yeast infections. One must avoid using high sugary foods and refined foods to prevent all sorts of yeast infections. If you have diabetes or eat food high in sugar content, your body is more likely to be prone to yeast infections. (7)
The right choice of foods can contribute to minimizing your risk of yeast infections. A probiotic diet or probiotic supplements may be recommended if you are at a greater risk of yeast infections. A healthy diet is recommended, particularly if you take antibiotics for a long time or birth control pills. Probiotic supplements are recommended as a preventative and treatment method for yeast infections.
It is suggested to increase the consumption of low-sugar foods, yogurt, and other products to prevent recurrent yeast infections. (8)
Douching is the cleansing of the vagina with a liquid solution. Vaginal douching has been a common practice for a very long time. It is used for personal hygiene. It is the intravaginal cleansing – cleansing of the internal area – to prevent bacterial and viral infections. Women from different cultures use different products for douching. In addition, the use of products and techniques for douching varies from culture to culture. For example, some women use a mixture of vinegar and water for douching. In contrast, others use chemical liquids for douching.
Women think douching is good for their vaginal health. But in reality, it does more harm than good. It has been stated in various studies that douching is not safe for your vagina. It causes several potential health complications. When douching, you use a chemical liquid that enters your vagina and causes irritation. This liquid disrupts the normal conditions of your vagina, such as pH. This change in pH disturbs the balance of natural microbes necessary for maintaining vaginal health. (9)
Douching should be avoided to prevent vaginal yeast infections. Any disturbance in the balance of good bacteria favours the overgrowth of yeast in the genital area. It wipes off good bacteria, making your genital area more prone to infections. Douching not only disturbs good bacteria but also increases the chances of vaginal rash, irritation, and discomfort. It is due to the presence of harsh chemicals in the products used for douching. So, it is better to wash your genital area with clean plain water. Your vagina is healthy enough to fight infections. There is no need for external treatments for it. (10)
Avoid Scented Sprays and Bath Products
Genital areas are the most sensitive areas of your body. Exposing these areas to artificial products is not safe. Usually, people use scented soaps for cleaning purposes. Scented sprays, perfumes, and tampons are in demand to get rid of the smell. All these practices are not healthy for your genitals. Scented sprays and bath products remove the healthy bacteria and act as a yeast growth enhancer. These products create favorable conditions for yeast and cause yeast infections. (11)
The vagina is a self-cleaning organ. The pH of the vagina washes away all harmful microbes and dead cells, thus maintaining vaginal health. There is no need for additional products for cleaning. On the other hand, scented bath products are made from harsh chemicals and artificial fragrances. Your vagina is sensitive. These scented products may react with your skin and cause itchiness, so don’t risk your vaginal health. Always opt for scent-free, chemical-free products to avoid unnecessary problems.
Moisture-Wicking Underwear for Yeast Infection Prevention
One of the finest things you can do to prevent yeast infections from recurring is to wear moisture-wicking underwear. Such moisture-absorbing underwear is the best option to prevent yeast infection. It is advised to wear breathable cotton underwear to keep your vaginal area dry and moisture-free. Because yeast blooms in wet, moist, and damp environments. (11)
The overgrowth of yeast may be enhanced by wearing underwear that does not absorb moisture and leaves your vaginal area wet and moist. Specialists recommend using underwear made from natural fabric such as cotton for daily use. As the cotton fabric is very breathable, making it the finest moisture-wicking underwear to prevent yeast infections.
Moreover, avoid wearing a wet swimming or bathing suit as this can promote yeast growth due to moist and wet conditions. Instead, change your gym or yoga suit immediately after the workout. This is recommended to keep your skin clean and dry to prevent yeast infections.
Another dressing pattern one should adopt is to wear loose-fitting clothes. Moist and damp areas allow the yeast to grow rapidly. Wearing loose clothing provides a breathable space for the body, which prevents sweating and controls yeast growth. On the other hand, tight clothes like jeans and pants trap the moisture around your private parts. Thus, increasing the risk for yeast infections. So, opt for the breathable dressing options to avoid recurrent yeast infections. (11)
About the author: Dan Jackowiak, Nc, HHP, is the Founder of Yeast Infection Advisor. Dan is a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner and Nutritional Consultant that personally suffered from yeast and bad bacterial overgrowth of the gut for most of his life. The information on his website is a combination of his own nutrition and holistic training, life experiences, collaboration with fellow experts on his team, and over 18 years of studying medical research on candida yeasts infections of all types, which has allowed him to take his life and health back help others overcome yeast-related health problems and digestive problems of all kinds.
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