Learn why some women are more likely than others to contract yeast infections.
Yeast infections, also known as candidiasis, are infections caused by a yeast (a type of fungus) called Candida. Yeast infections are more common than you might think. About 75 percent of women have had a yeast infection, and about 45 percent will have them more than once. About 1.4 million outpatients of candidiasis are seen annually in the United States.
Why do Women Get Yeast Infections?
All healthy vaginas have yeast. Candidiasis is caused by an overgrowth of yeast that causes infection. Any woman at any age can get a yeast infection, although it is rare before puberty and after menopause.
Learn more about yeast infections here, including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. In this blog, we’re going to dive deeper into why some women are at greater risk.
Who is at Risk of a Yeast Infection?
Some women are at greater risk of getting a yeast infection. Here are some risk factors.
Pregnancy: If you are pregnant or on birth control, the risk is heightened because estrogen is a factor in maturing the vagina and making a thicker lubricated vaginal lining. Damp places increase the growth of yeast, and estrogen is increased with birth control and pregnancy.
Diabetes: Diabetes increases the risk of yeast infection because it is caused by excess glucose in the blood. Because of this excess glucose, more is secreted from the vagina, which is normally an acidic environment that has little nutrients. This glucose promotes the growth of yeast.
Immune System Deficiencies/Antibiotics/Steroids: Women with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for developing yeast infections because their bodies aren’t capable of defending themselves from infections. Additionally, immune system problems are often treated with antibiotics or steroids, which increase the risk of yeast infections because antibiotics kill off the bacteria that maintain and limit the growth of yeast. Without that bacteria to do its job, yeast has an ideal environment to grow rapidly and turn into an infection.
Sex: Sexual interactions are not the cause of yeast infections, but yeast can be spread vaginally and orally. The chemistry of the different yeasts may be different and unbalanced, which can cause it to grow. Yeast infections aren’t an STD, but a person’s body chemistry can have a bad reaction to another person’s yeast and bacteria.
How to Prevent Yeast Infections
It’s important to know who is most at risk for yeast infections, and it’s also smart to learn prevention. Here are a few key preventions:
- Watch antibiotic use. Only take antibiotics when prescribed by a doctor.
- Wear cotton underwear. The cotton allows airflow, which prevents the vagina from getting too damp. (Yeast prefer damp environments.)
- Don’t douche or use scented feminine products. These products can kill the healthy bacteria that limits yeast growth.
- Wipe from front to back after using the restroom.
- Avoid moist environments, such as tight, wet clothes, hot tubs or hot baths.
Conclusion: Yeast Infections are Common
Yeast infections are common occurrences among women of all walks of life. Luckily, there are ways for women to lower their risk of contracting a yeast infection. If you think you have a yeast infection, there are many treatment options. Make an appointment with your physician to ensure you receive the correct care and advice.Tweet
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