What’s that itching? Oh no, it’s a yeast infection…
The majority of women will experience this uncomfortable problem at some point in their lives. But did you know that yeast infections can be more than just bad luck, particularly if you seem to be getting them repeatedly? Dr Eskander, renowned gynaecologist and director of The Gynae Centre, explains some of these hidden villains…
1. Eating Too Much Sugar
Don’t shoot the messenger, but spikes in your blood sugar can provide a fertile breeding ground for yeast. Obvious culprits for blood sugar hikes are our favourite ice creams and cakes, but did you know that many things that seem virtuous (like fruit or pure fruit juices, for example) are actually full of natural sugars? Add caffeine into the mix with them and your blood sugar does a dance, particularly in the morning when your levels tend to be low to begin with. So you might want to rethink that double shot espresso with frosted flakes for breakfast…
Wearing pantyliners every day in the hopes of having ‘flawless’ underwear, is actually totally self-defeating. Dr Eskander explains: “Pantyliners are made of synthetic materials that restrict air flow, creating a hospitable environment for yeast. They also tend to cause irritation, reducing your skin’s immunity to infection.”
3. Not Changing Your Tampon Often Enough
“Yeast thrives in environments with a lot of moisture,” Dr Eskander explains. “Tampons and sanitary pads obviously hold moisture, so it’s best to change them often, especially in the warmer months.”
Yes, antibiotics can be a godsend for all sorts of issues but they also have side effects that you should be aware of. “Antibiotics can actually kill off some of your vagina’s helpful bacteria, enabling yeast to run amok.” The solution? If you must take antibiotics, take a probiotic supplement with them. Lactobacillus acidophilus is a good bet because lactobacillus is actually the key bacteria that lives in healthy vaginas. You can also try eating yoghurts labelled ‘live active cultures’.
5. Tight Underwear
Snug, synthetic underwear that doesn’t let your vagina ‘breathe’ can create extra heat and moisture, offering an open invitation for an overgrowth of yeast. At least once or twice a week, it’s helpful to sleep without underwear, because this gives your lady garden a chance to air out naturally.
6. Scented Feminine Hygiene Products
Wouldn’t it be nice to smell like a rose garden down there? Sure, but you’re not meant to. Scented washes, wipes, sprays, even sweet-smelling bubble baths can create a fall in the acidity levels of your vagina, leading to an infection. Instead, you should opt for gentle, unscented bar soaps. And douching? Absolutely not!
Many kinds of condoms, and of course diaphragms, contain spermicides. Most spermicides contain the active ingredient nonoxynol-9, which can be irritating for some women. This irritation can decrease the immunity of your vagina, leaving a breeding ground for yeast. If you keep getting yeast infections and you use spermicide or spermicide coated products, it might be worth reviewing your contraception choices. Indeed some brands, such as Durex, offer spermicide-free condoms.
If you are experiencing repeated yeast infections, or are simply looking for first class gynaecological care in state of the art surroundings, call The Gynae Centre on 020 7580 8090.