Most women get a fungal infection at least once in their lives, but they may catch it more than once. But is it normal for these to be a regular thing?
Vaginal fungal infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida albicans. This typically results in intense vaginal itching, swelling with redness, a burning sensation when urinating, and unpleasant vaginal discharge, which can be watery or white and curd-like.
A yeast infection is considered recurrent if someone has four or more of these infections a year. In such cases, there is usually some underlying cause that needs to be addressed.
Here are the most common culprits behind recurrent fungal infections and what we can do to find relief
1. We take antibiotics too often
While antibiotics can kill the bad bacteria that cause the infection, they can also kill the beneficial bacteria, including the good bacteria in the vagina. This creates a hotbed for yeasts like candida that break free and cause infection.
If you take antibiotics regularly or often, reducing your use (or switching to another antibiotic) can help restore the balance of vaginal bacteria, making it harder for yeast infections to develop. (Consuming certain foods while taking antibiotics may also help.)
2. The contraceptive is not suitable
According to the Cleveland Clinic, hormonal fluctuations similar to birth control pills can create a vaginal environment that makes you more prone to fungal infections. The predisposition to fungus seems to depend on the individual, the dose of hormone, and the route of administration (e.g., oral vs. vaginal) and how our body responds to these together. However, recurrent infections may also be signs that the contraceptive is inadequate.
Talk to your gynecologist about possibly prescribing another method of contraception or other methods of contraception. According to research published in the November 2012 issue of Contraception, a vaginal ring can be a good choice.
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3. Use of vaginal lavage and irrigator
Both can disrupt the normal bacterial environment in the vagina and increase the chances of fungal overgrowth or other infections such as bacterial vaginosis. And if you already have a fungal infection, an internal shower can even make the problem worse.
While showering or bathing, wash your vulva (the outside of the vagina) with warm water and odorless soap, according to the Office on Women’s Health. The sleeve is self-cleaning, so no cleaning agents or irrigators are needed for washing. If you are worried about the smell of vagina, talk to your gynecologist.
4. For blood sugar problems
Insulin resistance due to prediabetes, diabetes, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is another common cause of recurrent fungal infections. Due to changes in blood sugar levels, excess sugar can build up in the urine, which can affect the vaginal environment, which helps the yeast to multiply.
Lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, can remedy the problem, but medication may be needed to rebalance our blood sugar levels.
5. Weakened immune system
According to UpToDate.com, diseases such as HIV or certain medications (such as chemotherapy, steroids, or post-transplant medications) can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight infections, including yeast infections.
Talk to your doctor if you experience recurrent yeast infections with a disease or medication that suppresses our immune system. Your doctor will know what are the best steps to reduce the risk of infection and whether it is possible to change your medication.
6. The dress is too tight
Frequent wear of tight underwear, especially those made of synthetic materials, does not in itself cause a fungal infection. But you can increase your chances, especially if you have other of the above risk factors.
“If all variables are associated with infection, it is possible that recurrent yeast infections will reset and occur continuously.” Says Dr. Gersh.
In all cases, try to wear looser underwear made of natural, breathable materials (such as cotton).
How to eliminate a fungal infection?
Infections can usually be treated with over-the-counter antifungal creams, ointments, suppositories or tablets. However, if you get fungal infections all the time, you may need up to six months of prescription antifungal treatment.
“There are already new effective drugs for vaginal yeast infection on the market to treat resistant strains. ” Says Dr. Gersh.
Lifestyle changes do not eliminate an existing infection, but may help reduce the likelihood of the infection returning. Here are some strategies to try:
- Avoid vaginal rinsing and the use of vaginal cleansers, sprays, or powders that can upset the balance of healthy bacteria in the vagina and promote yeast overgrowth.
- Wipe from front to back after showering.
- Wear breathable, loose-fitting underwear made of natural materials such as cotton.
- Eat yogurt regularly or take probiotics. Taking Lactobacillus acidophilus capsules may help reduce the risk of infection
- Support your overall health by getting enough sleep and trying to stress less.
Source: Napidoktor by napidoktor.hu.
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