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7 Ways to Avoid a Yeast Infection

Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans, the resulting imbalance of bacteria in your vagina creates intense itching and discomfort. Even something as simple as staying in your sweaty yoga pants too long will get you 3 days of torture.Thank goodness there are ways to avoid them. Here are 7 ways that you can help to stop them:

 

1. Keep dry
Hot, moist environments are ideal yeast-breeding conditions, according to Prevention advisor Andrew Weil, MD. Do your best to stick to underwear made from cotton, which is breathable and allows moisture to escape. Also, change out of tight, wet, or sweaty clothing—such as workout wear and swimsuits—as soon as possible.
2. Avoid antibiotics

Antibiotics kill bacteria – including the beneficial kinds in the body that help keep yeast under control, Weil says. Use antibiotics only when necessary, and never stray from the recommended dosage.

3. Limit unnecessary chemicals
Feminine hygiene products—including sprays, douches, and even some lubricants—can throw your delicate ecosystem’s balance way off. While many are safe, use sparingly.

4. Take care of yourself
A weakened immune system makes you susceptible to infection. Be sure to manage your stress with activities like yoga and meditation and make sleep a priority.

5. Tweak your diet

Yeast feeds on sugar, so cut down on foods that cause blood sugar to spike—stuff like sugary desserts, soft drinks, and processed grains. Stock up on probiotic-rich yogurt or kefir, as well as raw garlic, a potent antifungal agent.

6. Try a supplement
If you get more than three yeast infections a year, consider taking a daily probiotic that contains Lactobacillus bacteria. Studies show these microorganisms encourage production of lactic acid and other substances that maintain a low pH in the vagina, which can prevent Candida overgrowth.

7. Or an antifungal drug
For women who suffer from frequent yeast infections, antifungal drugs like fluconazole (Diflucan) can help ward off a fresh attack. Talk to your doctor if you suffer from four or more yeast infections a year.

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