Yeast is a fungus, which means it behaves like one too. So like all other fungi, yeast will flourish in dark, moist places. That’s why summertime—the season of not only sunshine and pools but also of profuse sweating and wet bathing suit bottoms—is the term of choice for irksome and unpleasant yeast infections.
Yeast is present in the vagina all the time in modest amounts. But when the fungus grows uncontrollably, the condition can be extremely uncomfortable.
Most often caused by the species Candida albicans, yeast infections can give rise to many symptoms, including itching and burning sensations in the vaginal area and around the vulva, and discharge that gets commonly compared to cottage cheese.
Practice good hygiene
You should periodically clean the outside areas of your vulva and vagina (only!) with gentle soap and water.
Wear clothes appropriate for the weather
Clothing that is tight-fitting and made from synthetic material can keep the vaginal area moist and warm—the perfect breeding ground for infection. Instead, opt for cotton underwear (or even none at all).
Avoid scented products around the vaginal area
The fragrance in scented sprays and bath products (like tampons, bath bombs, and more) can affect your vaginal pH balance—which throws off your overall vaginal health. Skip these items, and opt for their routine versions instead.
Experts always advise women against douching, but somehow the practice persists. Douching can kill good bacteria in the vagina that prevent infections, so just don’t do it!
Avoid certain medications (when possible)
The use of antibiotics has been linked to an increased risk of yeast infections because the drugs can kill beneficial bacteria in the body along the way, allowing the yeast to proliferate. Other harmful medications are things that alter your normal hormone balance, including birth control pills and estrogen therapy.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Some experts have suggested that diet, sleep, and exercise might have an effect on a woman’s likeliness to develop a yeast infection.
Keep the vagina dry
Walking around clammy, sticky, or wet increases your risk for developing a yeast infection by making the vagina the ideal state for the fungi to grow. Avoid running errands right after working out or eating lunch straight out of the pool. Simply changing your clothes can seriously help prevent an infection.
Take an oral antifungal
For 5 percent of women, vaginal yeast infections are chronic, returning at least four times a year. If you’re one of these people, and none of the simpler tips above are working for you, it may be worth taking an oral antifungal on a regular basis.