How to Prevent Vaginal Yeast Infections

Most women will experience at least one yeast infection during her life. Many will also experience recurrent infections.

Practicing some of these prevention techniques may help reduce your risk.

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How to Reduce Your Risk

There are a number of things you can do to reduce your risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection.

  • Always wear cotton underwear in order to allow your nether regions to breathe. Nylon and Lycra may trap air and create a breeding ground for yeast. Also, never wear pantyhose without wearing cotton underwear underneath.
  • Avoid using petroleum-based lubricants for vaginal lubrication during sexual intercourse. Always use water-based lubricants when vaginal dryness is an issue, as other types have been shown to increase the likelihood of a yeast infection.
  • Practice good personal hygiene. Always wiping from front to back after a bowel movement in order to prevent the yeast that normally inhabits the intestinal tract from being transferred to the vaginal area.
  • Try yogurt. Eating a cup of yogurt a day helps some women prevent yeast infections that often follow antibiotic treatment; however, it must be noted that eating yogurt will not cure a yeast infection.
  • Don't use perfumed bath products or powders in the vaginal area, as these can cause irritations that can lead to infection.
  • Don't use douches. Douching washes away the natural protective mucus of the vagina, leaving the vagina more susceptible to yeast and other vaginal infections.

If You Already Have a Yeast Infection

At the first sign of a yeast infection, call your physician for prescribed medication or go to your pharmacy to buy one of the FDA-approved products that are available OTC. Consider whether you prefer prescription or over-the counter (OTC) treatment.

Never self-treat a yeast infection unless you have previously been diagnosed for a yeast infection by a healthcare professional.

Finally, always call a healthcare professional for diagnosis if you are not sure a subsequent infection is yeast-related. Other vaginal infections or STDs may have similar symptoms.

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Article Sources
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  1. U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. Office on Women's Health. Vaginal yeast infections. Updated April 1, 2019.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaginal candidiasis. Updated April 12, 2019.