For most women, discussing issues “down there” isn’t a standard topic of conversation.
Sure, we talk about fashion, family, career and nutrition; but we often skip the topics that seem too personal or might cross the line of “over sharing.”
It’s kind of unfortunate though, don’t you think? Who better to provide anecdotal advice or support on common women’s health issues than our trusted lady friends? While your doctor is always the best person to discuss health issues with, it can be reassuring to hear that a) you’re not the only one who’s experienced something like this and b) you’re totally normal.
Yeast infections are one of the most common issues faced by women. Yeast infections have been blamed on plenty of things: sex, swimming, hygiene, douching and more. And while these things can play a role in the development of an infection, most yeast infections are caused by an imbalance in vaginal flora, increased vaginal pH and compromised immune health.
Yeast infections start with an overgrowth of the organism Candida albicans. Candida is opportunistic; so when your body’s defenses are down, which occurs when your vaginal flora and vaginal pH aren’t where they should be, you’re more susceptible to Candida growth. The growth of Candida is what leads to the development of a yeast infection.
So how do you improve your health and decrease your chances of getting a yeast infection? It starts by dispelling these three myths:
1. Diet has little to do with yeast infections or vaginal health
Excessive sugar in the diet is a well-known culprit for yeast infections. The reason? Yeast feeds off sugar; so when you’re consuming an abundance of sugar, there is a never-ending food supply for yeast to grow. A healthy diet, low in sugars and refined carbohydrates helps your body protect itself. In addition to feeding yeast, a poor diet can alter your vaginal pH. Healthy pH levels (between 3.5. and 4.5) help maintain an environment that hinders the growth of organisms like yeast. Once your pH rises above 4.5, you’re in the zone that promotes the growth of pathogenic organisms. You can maintain healthy pH levels by using a product like RepHresh Vaginal Gel.
2. You only need antibiotics to get rid of a yeast infection
We all know that the purpose of an antibiotic is to kill off bacteria. That means all bacteria, not just the bad stuff. In order to have optimal vaginal health, you need a healthy population of vaginal flora. The best way around this is to follow every course of antibiotics with probiotics. Probiotics, especially those formulated specifically for a woman, contain the right flora for vaginal health.
3. My lifestyle can’t cause a yeast infection
Stress plays a significant role in the function of your immune system, which in turn plays a role in how well your body defends itself against invading organisms, like yeast. There are lots of ways to boost immune health: getting enough sleep, taking a multivitamin and eating a balanced, nutritious diet, to name a few. To really boost your immune system, find ways to manage your stress like regular exercise, yoga or meditation practices. Having a healthy immune system can support a healthy balance of vaginal flora and reduce your risk of yeast infections.
Keep in mind that these are simple ways to keep your body aligned and balanced, which can help prevent future yeast infections. If you suspect something isn’t right, it’s always best to check with your doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Disclosure: This post is part of a collaboration between the makers of RepHresh products and SheKnows