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How To Prevent Yeast Infections

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Updated November 13, 2009

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Three out of four women will experience at least one yeast infection during her life, many experience recurrent infections. Practicing some of these prevention techniques may help reduce your risk.
Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Always wear cotton underwear. Nylon and Lycra may trap air and create a breeding ground for yeast. Never wear pantyhose without wearing cotton underwear underneath.
  2. Never use petroleum-based lubricants for vaginal lubrication during sexual intercourse. Always use water-based lubricants when vaginal dryness is an issue.
  3. Always wipe from front to back after a bowel movement to prevent the yeast which normally inhabits the intestinal tract from being transferred to the vaginal area.
  4. Eating one cup of yogurt a day helps some women prevent the yeast infections that often follow antibiotic treatment; however, eating yogurt will not cure a yeast infection.
  5. Don't use perfumed bath products or powders in the vaginal area, these can cause irritations which can lead to infection.
  6. Don't use douches! Douches wash away the natural protective mucous of the vagina leaving the vagina more susceptible to yeast and other vaginal infections.

Tips:

  1. Before you get a yeast infection, decide if you prefer prescription or over-the counter (OTC) treatment.
  2. At the first sign of 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.
  3. Never self-treat a yeast infection unless you have previously been diagnosed for a yeast infection by a healthcare professional.
  4. Always call a healthcare professional for diagnosis if you are not sure a subsequent infection is yeast. Other vaginal infections or STDs may have similar symptoms.

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