Summer – a time for sun, swimming... and uncomfortable yeast infections. You may wonder why you're more prone to yeast infections during the warmer months.
A vaginal yeast infection can cause the following symptoms:
- Vaginal itching and/or soreness
- A thick, white discharge which may resemble cottage cheese and smell like baking bread
- Burning discomfort around the vaginal opening, especially when urinating
- Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
Here are four reasons why women are more prone to yeast infections during the warmer months – and what you can do to avoid the problem.
1. Wet swimwear
If you make a habit if lounging around in your wet swimming costume straight after getting out of the pool or ocean, stop doing it. While water from pools and seawater won’t cause a yeast infection, the prolonged wearing of wet swimming costumes will increase your risk of yeast overgrowth.
Avoid this: Always take a dry set of clothes when you go swimming. If you plan to lounge around the pool, a dry swimming costume might be a good idea. Rinse yourself and change into dry clothes straight after swimming if you are prone to yeast infections.
2. Synthetic materials and tight clothing
You may be tempted to wear lace underwear, or may live in your bikini bottoms all summer long. But synthetic materials like lycra can trap heat, which can cause you to sweat more, creating the ideal environment for yeast to grow.
Avoid this: Stick to cotton underwear. It’s more breathable and less likely to cause a yeast overgrowth or irritation.
3. An unhealthy diet
We are all guilty of overindulging during the summer months – more sugary treats, more cocktails. Unfortunately, refined sugar causes blood sugar spikes, which can increase your risk for yeast overgrowth, leading to a yeast infection. On top of that, excessive sugar compromises the immune system, making it harder for your body to fight yeast infections.
Avoid this: You don’t have to skip the treats completely, but maintain a balanced diet by getting plenty of nutrients from fruits and vegetables. You can also take a daily probiotic to optimise your gut bacteria. You can also swap the ice-cream for yogurt as this contains probiotics to fight yeast infections.
The summer months mark the end of the year in the Southern Hemisphere, adding additional pressure to our lives. Trying to meet deadlines, end-of-year exams, getting ready for the festive season all cause stress, challenging your immune system and making you more susceptible to yeast infections.
Avoid this: Make time for relaxation in your day, even if it’s just a couple of minutes to meditate or de-stress. Get regular exercise and take a probiotic.
Image credits: iStock