Chronic yeast infections
While most women experience at least one yeast infection—characterized by itching, swelling, discharge and vaginal pain—in their lifetime, about eight percent of women face four or more a year. These chronic yeast infections occur when the normal balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is altered. They can be caused by a variety of factors such as antibiotics, pregnancy, diabetes, genetics, sexual activity and wearing wet clothing. Sometimes, the cause is unknown.
“If you are experiencing regular yeast infections, the best thing to do is talk with your doctor about potential causes and solutions,” said Dr. Erin Stevens. “Once you have an accurate diagnosis, it is that much easier to get the treatment you need so that you don’t have to experience the pain and discomfort that comes with yeast infections.”
A diagnosis entails a thorough medical history, discussion of your symptoms, a pelvic exam and, potentially, additional testing. In addition to over-the-counter antifungal creams or oral medications, treating recurrent yeast infections may include long-term therapies and lifestyle updates.
In general, eating a healthy diet and wearing breathable, cotton underwear can help prevent future infections as can avoiding scented bath products and changing out of workout clothes or swimsuits as soon as possible. Managing other health conditions can also reduce the occurrence yeast infections.