How to Prevent Recurrent Yeast Infections

Three Parts:Making Lifestyle ChangesConsidering MedicationsUnderstanding the Risk Factors

Yeast infections are a common complaint among women. A yeast infection occurs when the balance of the vaginal flora is disrupted due to a number of causes. If you have four or more yeast infections a year, that is called a recurrent yeast infection.[1] If you suffer from recurrent yeast infections, you can take a few steps to help prevent yeast infections in the future.

Part 1
Making Lifestyle Changes

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    Change up your underwear. Underwear made from synthetic materials (such as polyester) can be bad because it keeps the area moist. In other words, these fabrics aren't breathable, and therefore, they trap moisture. Instead of synthetic blends, choose natural fabrics, such as cottons, which let air through.[2]
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    Skip douching.[3] Douching can upset the balance of bacteria in your vagina because it carries away some of the bacteria. In turn, that can allow the yeast infection fungus to take over. It's best to skip douching altogether.[4]
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    Avoid products with Nonoxynol-9. Nonoxynol-9 is a spermicide. However, some studies have linked it to an increase in yeast infections. Therefore, if you have trouble with yeast infections, it's best to avoid this substance. It is often included with latex condoms, so read your packages.[5]
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    Skip scented products. Scented products, such as pads, tampons, bubble baths, and vaginal sprays, can also lead to problems with yeast infections. They can upset the delicate balance of your vagina or cause irritation, both of which can lead to yeast infections. Try to avoid these products.[6]
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    Clean from front to back. Whenever you wipe or clean your vaginal area, it's always best to do it from front to back. If you do it the other way, you can introduce more fungus and bacteria into your vaginal area, which can increase your chance of getting a yeast infection.[7]
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    Change out of damp clothes. Moisture is the enemy when it comes to yeast infections, as it encourages fungal growth. Therefore, change out of bathing suits or sweaty clothes as soon as possible. If you're going to the gym, be sure to bring a change of clothes if you don't plan to shower there.[8]
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    Skip the heat. Hot tubs can contribute to fungus in the area by encouraging fungus growth. Similarly, hot baths can cause similar problems. Stick to warm showers instead, which will keep you clean without contributing to your yeast infection problem.[9]
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    Keep it loose. Tight-fitting clothing can cause you to be sweaty. In addition, it keeps moisture close to your body. Therefore, try to pick clothing that is loose-fitting to help reduce moisture. If you must wear tight-fitting clothing, remember to pick a fabric that's breathable.[10]
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    Try yogurt. Some women have found that yogurt with probiotics helps to keep yeast infections at bay. Many grocery stores carry a variety of these types of yogurts.[11] Look for one with lactobacillus.[12]

Part 2
Considering Medications

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    Ask about a maintenance plan. A maintenance plan helps reduce the recurrence of yeast infections. Once you have rid yourself of a yeast infection, you essentially continue on antifungal pills, such as fluconazole, for about half a year. You take these pills by mouth once a week. Alternatively, you can insert a vaginal suppository, such as clotrimazole, into your vagina once a week.[13]
    • Remember to ask your doctor about the risks and side effects of taking such a strong anti-fungal for so long.
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    Ask about a more aggressive treatment. Most of the time, your yeast infection is caused by the fungus Candida albicans. However, if it's caused by another type of Candida fungus, you may need to change treatments, as it can be more serious.[14] A yeast culture performed by your doctor can demonstrate this if the infection is recurrent.
    • More aggressive treatments include longer vaginal therapy (creams or suppositories lasting up to two weeks) or several doses of the antifungal pill fluconazole, rather than just one dose.[15]
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    Talk about boric acid. Boric acid isn't often used to treat yeast infections because it can be toxic if you swallow it. It can also cause irritations.; however, used as a suppository, it can help get you off the cycle of recurrent infections. You can only get boric acid with a prescription.[16]
    • You cannot allow someone to perform oral sex on you if you are using boric acid as it is toxic to your partner.
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    Try probiotics. Some people have had luck taking probiotics on a regular basis to help prevent yeast infections. You can either take them orally or insert them into your vagina.[17]

Part 3
Understanding the Risk Factors

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    Watch for yeast infections with pregnancy. Pregnancy can increase your chances of having a yeast infection because it increases your estrogen levels. Other conditions that increase your estrogen level can also put you at risk, such as taking high-dose birth control.[18]
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    Pay attention if you've had a round of antibiotics. Antibiotics are essential to cure certain diseases; however, sometimes they can mess up the balance of bacteria in your vaginal area by killing off good bacteria, too. Because you have beneficial bacteria that keep fungus like yeast infection at bay, yeast infections can develop after you've had a round of antibiotics.[19]
    • While you should take antibiotics when you need them, always ask your doctor if they are necessary. If you have a virus, antibiotics are not going to help.
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    Keep your blood sugar in check. Being diabetic can also put you at risk for yeast infections, as high glucose levels can encourage fungus growth. If you have diabetes, do your best to keep your blood sugar under control to help prevent yeast infections.[20]
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    Watch for yeast infections if you have an impaired immune system. Your immune system helps to fight against infections like yeast infections, too; therefore, if your immune system is compromised, you are more likely to get yeast infections.[21]
    • For instance, HIV can cause you to have a compromised immune system. Similarly, being on corticosteroid therapy can mean your immune system is compromised.[22]
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    Skip unprotected sex. While sex is not the most common way to get a yeast infection, it can be passed from person to person; therefore, it's always best to practice safe sex by using male or female condoms.[23]


  • Always see a doctor for proper diagnosis, especially if you find your yeast infections continue to occur.

Sources and Citations

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Article Info

Categories: Feminine Hygiene