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Causes Of Vaginal Yeast Infection – Here’s What You Need To Know
The details about yeast infections are surprisingly few, and the prevalence of them is significantly higher than many people realize. Before we go any further, what exactly are yeast infections? Yeast is a type of fungus that can live on the skin and around the vagina, mouth, esophagus, stomach, or intestines. It exists all around us in tiny amounts. A yeast infection happens in these areas when there is too much yeast growth.
What causes this to happen? There are three primary causes to look into: stress, a weakened immune system, and changes in hormones from puberty through menopause that cause an imbalance in vaginal acidity levels.
Weakened Immune System: When a person has a weakened immune system, yeast infections can happen whenever the person is stressed from their own health conditions. Studies have shown that the immune system is affected when one has a compromised liver or kidney. The same is true for stress and poor sleep. Any kind of stress can kill off the good bacteria in our bodies that are essential for health. These changes make it easier for yeast to grow out of control, causing an infection in these locations.
What should I do about this? If you have a weakened immune system – such as cancer treatment, HIV or AIDS, or even from vaccines – you should get more sleep and eat healthier foods to help your body restore its balance again.
Acidosis: There are several ways that a person’s body can become acidic. For example, a person may have too little buffering in their system or not enough healthy bacteria to help to balance the acidity levels in the stomach. Another issue comes when the vaginal pH changes as estrogen levels drop during menopause. This change causes the vagina to be too acidic and this condition is known as vaginosis.
What should I do about this? Eat more fruit and vegetables, drink alkaline water (like fizzy water) and eat yogurt with live bacteria cultures for more beneficial bacteria to aid in digestion and keep the vagina’s pH level more normal. Acidosis can also cause or worsen some types of yeast infections.
Stress: Just the fact that a person is stressed can cause yeast infections by causing the immune system to be compromised. Stress can also suppress the immune system, and this allows for an overgrowth of yeast to take over. Studies have shown that during times of stress, people are more likely to develop a vaginal infection like a yeast infection. These infections may also happen when a person’s exercise routine causes too much sweat to come out into the underwear – especially if it isn’t changed often enough.
What should I do about this? Stress can be difficult to avoid, but try healthier food choices to help your body make fewer stress hormones – like sugar, refined carbohydrates, and alcohol. Exercise regularly, but in a way that doesn’t sweat too much. Get more sleep and get involved in activities that help you to reduce stress. Yoga can be a great way to clear your mind and get centered again with peace and calm.
The key is always prevention: Taking care of your health will reduce yeast infections by balancing the bacteria levels in the vagina so that it stays acidic enough to kill off bad bacteria.
Other Ways to Prevent Yeast Infections
There are a few other things one can do to lower yeast infection risk, such as:
Avoiding sugar. Avoid sugar-laden foods and drinks. Avoid refined carbohydrates – like white bread, pasta, many kinds of canned fruits, and canned vegetables. These foods have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients and can cause spikes in insulin levels that lead to yeast infections. Eat whole grains instead, which are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates that keep blood glucose levels more balanced. For example, oatmeal is a great breakfast choice for this reason since it is also packed with antioxidants that have been shown to help reduce oxidative stress-related yeast infections.
Drink plenty of water. Drink plenty of water every day to keep your body well hydrated, which can help prevent yeast infections. Drinking 1.5 liters or more of water per day can be very helpful in keeping you well hydrated and preventing yeast infections.
Heal from emotional trauma. This one is not always easy, but if you have a lot of emotional wounds inside you, then it’s important to start facing them and healing from them. Yoga can also be a great practice that helps us heal from deep wounds on the inside and actually heal all the way down to the cellular level.
Yoga is also helpful for managing the symptoms of depression.
One way that it does this is by helping to manage stress and a type of stress called “perceived stress”. Perceived stress refers to how much stress we think we are experiencing, not actually how much actual stress is happening. For example, a person might be experiencing very little actual stress in their life, but if they believe that they are going through a lot of stressful circumstances then their perceived stress will be high. Yoga can help to decrease perceived stress by actually decreasing our perception of how many stressful things are actually happening in our lives.
This type of stress can also lead to serious health problems – including many types of cancers and infections like yeast infections.
Get more sleep. While you can only get so much sleep each night, getting more sleep does help you to have fewer irritable moods, lower stress, and lower the frequency of yeast infections. The average number of hours for an adult to sleep is 8 hours and anything less than that can cause a person’s immunity to decrease. It is especially true if a person is sleeping for fewer than 5 or 6 hours per night on a regular basis. Good quality sleep from 7-8 hours per day helps your body restore its energy, balance hormones, and stay healthy overall.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only and should not be used instead of or contrary to that of a medical professional. Before taking supplements, starting a new diet, or embarking on a new exercise regime please consult a medical or nutritional professional. The owners of “Getting Healthy After 50” are not medical professionals and are simply redistributing information that is freely available on the internet.