Vaginas are really pretty amazing when you think about it. Not only are they a part of our body that self-cleans AND contributes to giving us orgasms, they are also how life happens – literally. It’s really cool to have a vay-jay-jay, because so many cool things are happening down there.
However, there is one thing that really sucks about vaginas, and that is vaginal infections. Every girl who has experienced one knows that infections down there are the absolute worst. Whether you’re dealing with a yeast infection or bacterial vaginosis (BV or sometimes just called a bacterial infection), it’s annoying, frustrating, and very uncomfortable. I go out of my way to ensure that I don’t get either of these things, but a lot of girls don’t really give them a second thought.
You should, though, because while BV and yeast infections are common and happen to everyone, they can also be easily prevented. You probably weren’t aware that there are some things you do that can actually cause one of these infections. Want to know more? Read on for 10 surprising causes of yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis:
Getting Your PeriodHormonal changes in your body can be enough to cause a yeast infection. Some women experience yeast infections more around the time they get their period because hormone changes can cause an overgrowth of yeast. So, take note of when you get yours. Source: ShutterStock
Wearing PantylinersA lot of girls wear pantyliners even when they don't have their period to keep discharge off their underwear. But it actually might just be making things worse. Wearing pantyliners all the time may cause yeast infections. According to one doctor, "pantyliners cause a low-grade irritation that can decrease the skin's immunity. When our defenses go down, we get more symptomatic." Pantyliners also contain synthetic fibers that block airflow, and that's exactly the kind of condition in which yeast thrives.
A Bubble BathUsing any kind of scented soap can irritate your vaginal area because it's so sensitive down there. You should already know that douching is bad for you, and so are other scented soaps - but you probably didn't consider that bubble bath can cause an infection also. Keep your baths limited, and try to find the least sensitive bubble bath you can. Source: ShutterStock
Tight, Synthetic UnderwearCotton underwear is the best if you want to avoid infections down there. Wearing a pair of synthetic, lacy, fun underwear isn't going to automatically give you an infection, but it will definitely contribute to giving you one. Try to find cotton underwear, since they breathe and give you more air down there. Remember, yeast likes to grow in environments where there is little air. Source: ShutterStock
The Wrong Laundry DetergentIf you remember what I said about scented soaps being bad for your vaginal area, then this one makes sense. If you start using a super strong laundry detergent on your underwear, it can actually be enough to disrupt the environment down there. If you notice that you're getting infections, check out the detergent you're using and try changing it up. Source: ShutterStock
Eating Too Much SugarYou might not realize it, but what you eat can affect your down there area. Too much sugar causes blood sugar spikes, which means there's a lot of glucose in your system - and yeast thrives in these conditions. Things get even worse when you drink a lot of coffee. It's hard to avoid sugar, but doctors say it's the worst in the morning, so try to avoid too much sugar in the AM. Source: ShutterStock
Certain AntibioticsIf your doctor gives you an antibiotic because you're sick, make sure you start eating a lot of yogurt - antibiotics can cause yeast infections pretty quickly, and some are worse than others. Antibiotics make the vaginal environment less acidic, which encourages yeast overgrowth. To combat this, you can eat yogurt, which has natural ingredients that can balance things out. Make sure you ask your doctor if there is a higher risk of infection. Source: ShutterStock
Using Spermicidal CondomsIf you're using condoms with spermicide on them to stay even safer during sex, good for you! But be warned that spermicidal condoms can cause yeast infections. One of the active ingredients in these condoms is something that is harsh on your down there area, and can encourage yeast growth. Basically any kind of spermicide can do this.
Smoking CigarettesThe tobacco found in cigarettes is doing way more harm than good - even when it comes to your vagina. Tobacco can increase susceptibility to bacterial vaginosis because it comprises the anti-bacterial functions of cells in our body, basically making it harder for our body to fight off an infection. Stop smoking! Source: ShutterStock
Having SexThis shouldn't come as much of a surprise, but having sex can cause a bacterial infection like bacterial vaginosis. While it's not considered an STD, women commonly get BV after having sex with a new partner - or even an old partner. Think about it: your junk is mixing with their junk. Some girls have very sensitive vaginal areas, and sex alone can disrupt their environment down there and cause an infection. Source: ShutterStock
Do you suffer from regular infections down there? What causes did I forget to include? Tell me in the comments.