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Yeast infections are common, and almost every woman will have at least one or two throughout their lifetime. However, some women are plagued by recurring – or chronic – yeast infections. In addition to being extremely uncomfortable, chronic yeast infections deserve immediate attention because they signal an imbalance in your vaginal chemistry – specifically yeast (candida) vs. bacteria.

7 Common Reasons for Chronic (Recurring) Yeast Infections

Yeast InfectionsHealthy bodies depend on a balance between bacteria and yeast (a fungus called candida). Any imbalances cause issues, and the vagina is particularly susceptible. Yeast infections are diagnosed when candida populations grow unchecked by healthy bacteria levels.

Always connect with your OB/GYN if you think you have a yeast infection so we can discuss your next steps. If you’ve had more than two infections over the course of three months or multiple infections throughout a single year, odds are you’re experiencing chronic yeast infections, and it’s time to get to the bottom of it.

Here are seven of the most common reasons women keep getting yeast infections:

1. It’s not a yeast infection

Symptoms like vaginal itch, excess discharge, or stinging/burning when you pee may be a yeast infection, but it’s not always. If you’ve assumed you have a yeast infection but have not seen a doctor, it’s time for an official diagnosis.

Bacterial vaginosis occurs when bacteria populations grow unchecked by candida. So, if you treat a bacterial infection like a yeast infection, things will get worse because you’re killing the exact fungus you need to keep the bacteria in check. There is also the chance you have some other type of infection. Regardless, an official diagnosis is the best way to clear things up and get your nether regions feeling normal again.

2. Your male partner has a yeast infection

Men get vaginal yeast infections too, but they don’t always know it. In fact, yeast infections in men are far more common than people think. If your partner has an infection and is relatively asymptomatic, he’ll continue to reinfect you because his candida added to your candida equals too many candida in your personal space.

Speak to your gynecologist or have him check with his g.p. He may need to use an OTC yeast infection cream for seven to 10 days to clear everything up. During that time, you should abstain from having sex…even a condom may not cover all of the yeast blooms living on the skin of his penis.

3. You’re not using the right yeast infection treatment

Some of the OTC options advertise one or three-day options. However, this is not long enough for a serious yeast infection. We recommend using the seven-day suppository versions to start. Follow the instructions precisely, and do not skip days or stop taking it after symptoms disappear. You need to finish the course of medication the same way you have to with antibiotics.

If you aren’t feeling significant relief after the first three days, call your OB/GYN. You may have a medication-resistant yeast strain, and we’ll prescribe a different antifungal medication.

4. You’re pregnant

Fluctuations in pregnancy hormones make pregnant women more likely to get yeast infections. It is one of the most common pregnancy discomforts. Most of the time, the combination of over-the-counter yeast infection suppositories will do the trick, and then you’ll be less likely to continue getting them once the baby is born.

5. Urinary incontinence (including mild stress incontinence)

Yeast prefers a warm, moist environment, which is why vaginas are an ideal candida habitat. If you are prone to incontinence, including minor stress incontinence (you pee when you sneeze, cough, jump/run, laugh too hard, etc), you’re at higher risk for yeast infections.

First, let your OB/GYN know you’re experiencing incontinence so we can treat it. No woman should have to live with incontinence if she doesn’t have to. In the meantime, using pads and frequent underwear changes will help keep your crotch and vagina dry in between episodes.

6. Your body provides a candida-friendly environment

In addition to a warm, moist environment, yeast love sugar. If your blood sugar levels tend to be on the high side, you may need to start using your diet to control candida. First, we recommend adhering to a candida cleanse diet for at least three to six weeks. This significantly decreases sugar in your system, which starves the candida.

Once you’ve completed your candida cleanse diet, focus on an anti-inflammatory diet that reduces sugars and processed foods for the long term. The good news is that this type of diet is proven to reduce the symptoms and onset of multiple diseases and medical diagnoses, including things like endometriosis or PCOS.

7. Your vagina doesn’t stay dry enough

Vaginal hygiene is essential to supporting a healthy bacteria/yeast balance. The more you can keep your vagina clean and dry the better. Douching is NOT the answer. Instead, we recommend that you:

  • NOT use antibacterial soaps in the shower as they kill off healthy bacteria.
  • Wear underwear that is 100% cotton so it doesn’t trap moisture.
  • Be diligent about changing pads/period underwear/tampons so your period doesn’t contribute to excess moisture.
  • Wear loose pants and exercise clothes so your parts have room to breathe.
  • Taking a shower or sponge bath after having sex and thoroughly drying off.
  • Change your underwear every day.
  • Leave underwear off at home when wearing a robe, a long t-shirt, or a skirt/dress for more breathing room (as long as you feel safe and comfortable doing so).

Contact Women’s Health Associates If You Suffer from Repeat Yeast Infections

Do you suffer from chronic yeast infections or vaginal itch? That’s not normal, and you deserve to be itch-free ASAP. Contact Women’s Health Associates to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss your symptoms and then figure out the main cause. Once we create your treatment plan, it should be the end of recurrent yeast infections once and for all.