Yeast infections are annoying, to say the least. They’re uncomfortable, they’re a little embarrassing (although they shouldn’t be!) and they’re just plain not fun. The good news? If you know what causes them, you’re less likely to get them. So what does cause yeast infections, anyway?
Before you figure out what causes yeast infections, you should know what exactly yeast is – it’s a fungus in your vagina. That may sound gross, but all healthy vaginas have it in small amounts. All an infection really means is that there’s too much of it there.
Yeast is everywhere in the vagina, so why one gets a yeast infection has more to do with factors related to bodily resistance than to exposure. Diabetics, for example, are more likely to get yeast infections and biking with wet shorts can get you an infection also. Taking antibiotics is a common way of getting an infection, as is non-ventilated clothing and maybe even your diet.
To figure out what’s causing your yeast infections in particular, you need to sort out what is the risk factor predisposing you to the infection and address it, whether it’s wet shorts, poor blood sugar control, etc. You can talk to your doctor about it if you want to narrow down the possibilities.
You can prevent yeast infections by keeping your vaginal area clean, wearing cotton underwear (since it doesn’t hold moisture in), changing your pads or tampons often and not wearing a lot of really tight clothes.
Just a word about cleaning: no douches and no scrubbing. Both of these actives could actually promote yeast and other vaginal infections, making things worse. Besides, the vagina is self-cleaning – you don’t really need to do it on your own.