Yeast infections are relatively common. This is especially true of vaginal yeast infections. However, yeast infections don’t just affect the vagina. They can occur on the penis and other areas of the body, like in the mouth and throat.
Most often, an overgrowth of Candida is the reason behind a yeast infection. Candida is a family of yeasts that naturally occur on the skin. It’s usually harmless in normal amounts. Yeast is part of the fungi kingdom.
Keep reading to learn more about preventive measures for the most common yeast infections.
A yeast overgrowth causes most cases of yeast infections. Three common types of yeast infections are:
To help you prevent a yeast infection, it’s good to know which factors contribute to one in the first place. While yeast infections can happen to anyone at any age, there are certain risk factors that can increase your chances.
The core of a yeast infection is the overgrowth of yeast, so simply having too much in the body can automatically put you at risk.
More specific factors that increase your risk include:
- Taking antibiotics. While antibiotics get rid of harmful bacteria, they also kill good bacteria. Without healthy bacteria to keep Candida at bay, it can quickly multiply and become a potential problem.
- Taking high-estrogen birth control pills. Estrogen in birth control pills can lead to yeast overgrowth. Pregnant women are also at a higher risk of yeast infections due to naturally higher estrogen levels.
- Humidity. Candida yeasts and other fungus tend to thrive in wet, humid conditions.
- Moisture in your clothing. Sweaty clothes and wet bathing suits can increase moisture in the genital area, making it a breeding ground for fungal overgrowth.
- Having certain conditions. Diabetes or a compromised immune system may also increase your risk.
Keep in mind you may simply be prone to frequent yeast infections or genetically predisposed to yeast infections. Still, preventive measures may help a lot with preventing a yeast infection.
Preventing genital yeast infections
For the prevention of genital yeast infections, consider the following:
- Avoid sexual activity while a partner has a yeast infection, even if they don’t have active symptoms. Yeast infections can be passed back and forth. They can also be transferred from one area of the body to another, like genitals to mouth.
- Wipe front to back to help prevent additional microorganisms from being pushed up in the vagina or introduced into the urinary tract.
- Wear cotton underwear and change it regularly. Also wear loose, cotton clothing. Tight clothing might trap in moisture and cause friction on your skin, making areas more susceptible to yeast overgrowth.
- Wash certain garments like underwear in hot water. Add bleach if necessary. Also, be sure to use gentle detergents that are free of fragrances and colors. These will be less irritating to your skin should an infection develop.
- Let your bathing suit dry fully. Avoid constantly re-wearing the same wet bathing suit.
- Eat foods that help balance out microflora in the body. These can include yogurts containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, a type of natural probiotic.
- Take a probiotic supplement. Always let your doctor know what supplements you take.
- Take antifungal medications (fluconazole) whenever you’re prescribed an antibiotic. Speak to your doctor or pharmacist if you’re prone to yeast infections.
Keep in mind that complementary treatments or prevention, like taking probiotics or using garlic or tea tree oil, aren’t medically proven for safety and efficacy in treatment. However, some people feel they do help with balancing natural bacterial balance. Make sure to discuss all supplements and over-the-counter treatments with your doctor.
Preventing oral and throat thrush
Preventing oral and throat thrush requires a combination of good oral hygiene practices. Antifungal drugs may also be used to treat recurring infections. Here’s how to prevent oral and throat thrush:
Mild yeast infections are the easiest to treat, especially when they’re caught early. Severe or recurring yeast infections can take more time. Keep in touch with your doctor if symptoms of a yeast infection get worse or come back.