Yeast infections are not something that get talked about on a daily basis…or ever. Even woman to woman, this isn’t something that we are particularly open about. My girlfriends and I can dish about periods and sex all day, but for some reason, this topic has never come up on our weekly wine nights.
Female intimate health issues are not something that is often openly discussed. Don’t believe me? Just ask your brother to pick you up some tampons or tell your male boss you need to stay home because you are having your insides torn apart by cramps. If it’s that taboo to talk about periods – something that over half of the population experiences monthly – then there is NO hope for conversations about vaginal infections.
Luckily there is the internet. Yet, I equate this to learning about sex as a kid. If your parents do not sit you down and give you “the talk” then you are forced to gather your info on the playground, which can leave you with some pretty strange understandings. The internet is the playground in this scenario and there is a lot of wacky and nonsensical things out there.
The goal here is to shed some light on the myths and misconceptions on the web.
Myths about Treatments:
Douching – It’s believed that 20% – 40% of American woman use a vaginal douche for freshness, to remove unpleasant odors, wash away menstrual blood, prevention of STI’s and pregnancy, and prevent/cure vaginal infections. However, health experts say that douching is not effective at any of the former and can ACTUALLY increase risk of infection and other health issues.
Itch creams – External itch creams are used to treat symptoms, so while you may feel that you are better it is not curing the underlying infection. This is like taking aspirin for a toothache, it may help the pain, but you still have a cavity and need to get a filling.
Yogurt – There are many home remedies that claim they can heal a yeast infection, however none of them have the scientific proof to back them up. You can eat yogurt and rub coconut oil on your vagina all you want, but at the end of the day you will probably not get any better and it is also incredibly dangerous to put foreign objects in and around the vagina. We suggest not putting yourself at risk.
Cut out bread – Some believe that if they stop eating bread or limit bread intake, this will help cure a yeast infection and prevent future ones. Makes sense, right? NO! The yeast used for baking is a completely different species of single-celled organism.
Misconceptions about Causes:
Sex – Vaginal yeast infections are usually not spread by having sex. However, if your partner has a rash, itching or discomfort in the genital area, a healthcare professional should be contacted to find the cause of the symptoms. If you are using FemiClear to treat a yeast infection you should refrain from sex until the end of treatment.
Swimming – It is often assumed that swimming causes yeast infections, this is not true. Yeast infections are not contagious, and you cannot “catch” one from swimming. Just make sure to not spend extended periods of time hanging out in wet or damp clothing or swimsuits.
Men can’t get yeast infections – Yeast infections are most common in women, however in some cases men can become infected. Therefore, you should refrain from sex while infected, not only because it is uncomfortable. If a man does become infected he might have white spots, redness, or a peeling itchy rash on his penis.
Laptop – Technology is the scapegoat for everything these days. You will read that yeast infections can be caused by being too warm and damp, you must remember a vagina is always warm and damp and a laptop will not significantly change this. Sorry, no excuse to not work.
What causes a yeast infection?
- Menstruation: Changes in hormone levels during a normal menstrual cycle can result in occasional or recurrent yeast infections.
- Increased estrogen levels: Women who are taking birth control pills that have a high-dose of estrogen as well as those on estrogen hormone therapy are more susceptible to developing a yeast infection.
- Pregnancy: Increased levels of estrogen during pregnancy make women more susceptible to recurrent yeast infections.
- Antibiotics: Broad-spectrum antibiotics kill healthy lactobacillus bacteria in the vagina, which enables yeast to overgrow.
- Diabetes: Whether controlled or uncontrolled, diabetes puts women at higher risk for developing a yeast infection.
- Cancer Treatments: Undergoing chemotherapy treatments creates a greater risk for developing a yeast infection.
- Impaired immune system: Women with weakened immunity from corticosteroid therapy or HIV infections are at greater risk for developing a yeast infection.
How to prevent future yeast infections?
- Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes.
- Change out of damp clothes or a wet bathing suit as soon as possible.
- If you use panty liners when you are not having a menstrual period, change them out often.
- Maintain vaginal health by cleaning your vagina with safe cleaners or just water and wearing fresh panties.