Yeast infections are relatively easy to diagnose and treat in most cases. however they can cause itching, a vaginal discharge and just be uncomfortable. Here are some health behaviors that make you susceptible to getting yeast infections and in some cases turn them into chronic conditions.
1. Sugar consumption, yes, moderation is reasonable for the holidays! But look for hidden sugars that you aren’t counting (like that goblet of red wine in your hand!)
2. Diabetes and un-diagnosed glucose intolerance. This is the consequence of your body having sugar it cannot metabolize.
3. Antibiotic overuse, a ubiquitous American Problem. The FDA even had to weigh in on dog antibiotic overuse! This could be from dietary exposure, think twice before taking antibiotics for respiratory conditions that may be viral.
4. Untreated gut yeast colonization, this is the ultimate reservoir that causes many infections. Your gut health is one of the most important ways we control all infections.
5. Untreated vaginal dryness or atrophy, possibly the best reason to have vaginal rejuvenation procedures that can keep the lining tissue healthy without introducing hormones to your body that you may not need
6. Wearing chronically tight clothing and not changing out of wet workout gear
7. Weak immune system: from too much stress, to too many cigarettes, to too many late nights, any health behaviors that weaken your immunity will lead to less resistance to infection, even yeast infections.
8. New partners: not completely confirmed, men have yeast (more typically in a foreskin rather than someone circumcised) they could pass on, but we actually have our own colonies that we harbor that are more likely the cause. So condoms, and condoms with spermicide might be protective against yeast infections.
9. Wearing tampons too long: not confirmed either, but anything that changes pH of the vaginal environment can have the effect of triggering another infection.
10. Hormonal imbalances. Oral contraception can balance some women’s hormones, and yet for some women the balance is tipped in the direction of getting infections. Pregnancy hormone levels are far greater, and being pregnant can predispose a woman to yeast infections. This is a matter to work out with your gyno..
Prevention is easier than treatment! And in a report issued in September there are over 2 million infections each year in the USA that are resistant to antibiotics! The CDC is warning people regarding these infections and the consequences of overuse of antibiotic treatments. Once we thought all fungal (yeast) infections were very susceptible to the treatments available and that testing for susceptibility (like the culture tests we do for UTIs to say whether the antibiotics should work) didn’t have to be done. But we are finding more cases of resistance, an there is a known way to check for susceptibility. But these tests are difficult, they may not be available in every laboratory, and they are mostly used for extremely ill individuals with systemic infections. For the average chronic yeast sufferer, the best advice is to not self diagnose.