Summer. Moist, hot, sweaty, sticky summer. Everyone’s favorite time of year. Most people look forward to the leisurely days of summer, lounging round the pool. However, yeast thrive in moist, warm environments. As a gynecologist, I know that once the heat hits 80 degrees, the number of patients I see for yeast infections is going to increase exponentially.
Yeast ‘infection’ is a misnomer. Your vagina is an ecosystem of various bacteria and yeast that normally live together in harmony. But when something upsets the balance causing the good bacteria to decrease or the yeast increase, then you get the miserable classic symptoms of a yeast infection: itching, burning and a white thick ‘cottage cheese-esque’ discharge.
Pregnancy, with its increased vaginal discharge and lowered immune system, can predispose you even further to yeast infections. However, following these helpful hints can hopefully keep your Monistat purchases to a minimum.
5. Let Your Vagina Breathe
It’s hot and sweaty. Increased moisture is a part of summer but do what you can to get that moisture away from your body. Wear cotton underwear. Avoid tight fitting clothes in non-breathable fabrics. Use a blow dryer on your lady parts after showering (on cool of course). Sleep naked.
4. Change Your Clothes
Avoid spending an excess amount of time in wet clothes. After working out or swimming, change your clothes right away. Avoid lounging around in a wet swim suit all day.
3. Don’t Douche
There is never a need to douche. Your vagina is a ‘self-cleaning oven.’ Douching merely messes with your ecosystem even further.
2. Just Say, “No!” to Bubble Baths
We all love a nice long soak in the tub with the fragrant smell of bath salts and bubbles, but soaps are not good for the ecosystem either. Soaking in the tub is fine but avoid fragrant bath products if you are prone to yeast infections.
1. Avoid Antibiotics
The biggest disruption of the vaginal ecosystem is antibiotics. Antibiotics kill good bacteria as well as bad. Obviously they can’t always be avoided, but if you do need antibiotics, ask for the one most specific for the condition being treated. While on antibiotics make sure to eat yogurt with probiotics to support healthy bacteria and avoid intake of simple sugars which can make some women more prone to yeast.
Hopefully your summer is yeast free, but if not, remember that over the counter yeast creams are safe in pregnancy.