- Lifestyle Habits That Lead to Yeast Infections
- The Rub With Wipes
- Harmful Chemicals Found in Wipes
- Problematic preservatives found in wipes:
- Other chemicals of concern found in wipes:
- Alternatives to pre-moistened wipes
- DOWNLOAD this fact sheet – Español
- Are Baby Wipes OK For Your Vajajay?
- 5 Vagina-Friendly Cleansing Products That Gynecologists Don’t Hate
- Your vagina doesn’t need special products, but your vulva might benefit
- Stress and Yeast Infections
- What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?
- What are the Symptoms of Yeast Infections?
- Here’s What Stress Can Do To Your Yeast Infection
- Being dehydrated can lower your libido and even make sex painful — here’s why
- Water and internal and external infections
Lifestyle Habits That Lead to Yeast Infections
Want to cut your chances of developing a yeast infection? Doctors say modifying some everyday habits can alleviate yeast infection symptoms and reduce the odds you will have a vaginal infection. “Many women don’t realize they have the ability to reduce their chances of developing a yeast infection,” says Robert Goldfarb, MD, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital in West Bloomfield, Mich.
If you’ve had more than two yeast infections in a year, consider making a few of these lifestyle changes to reduce your risk of developing another one.
Control Your Sweet Tooth
A diet rich in refined carbohydrates, such as white sugar, white flour, and white rice, including bagels, sugary sweets like cookies, cakes, and candy, and alcohol, which has a lot of sugar in it, has led some women to experience vaginal itching, odor, and other classic symptoms of a yeast infection.
The exact link between a sugar-filled diet and a yeast infection is unclear, but one theory is that elevated glucose levels in the blood make it easier for the yeast organism Candida albicans to “stick” to the vaginal cells. High levels of blood sugar may also affect the immune system. Women with weakened immune systems are at higher risk for yeast infection because the body can’t fight off the yeast as well.
Clean Out Your Closet
Tight jeans, thongs, and underwear not made from cotton don’t allow air to circulate around your vagina. “Yeast thrives on moist, dark environments,” says Dr. Goldfarb. “And the increased moisture caused by these clothes creates the perfect environment for yeast to grow.”
If you have recurrent yeast infections, switch to cotton underwear and alternate between jeans and clothes that allow better air flow. In addition, Goldfarb suggests changing out of damp clothes immediately after working out. “And don’t spend hours in a wet or damp bathing suit after swimming,” he adds.
Tossing and turning all night long or not getting a full eight hours of sleep can lead to a weakened immune system. “Getting a restful sleep helps your body repair itself and maintain optimal health,” says Goldfarb.
A weakened immune system can lead to higher levels of naturally occurring vaginal acidity, which lowers your vagina’s pH level, creating an environment that allows vaginal yeast to grow. “Some women aren’t able to naturally fight off yeast when their vaginal pH dips low,” says Goldfarb. “And they develop a yeast infection.”
Say Goodbye to Stress
Stress compromises your immune system. That’s why many women develop a yeast infection when they’re going through stressful, major life changes like planning a wedding, getting a divorce, facing unemployment, or moving.
To lower your risk of a yeast infection, consider stress-reduction techniques, such as meditation, yoga, and regular exercise.
Forgo Feminine Sprays
Whether they’re scented or unscented, douches and feminine wipes and sprays strip your vagina of bacteria — and not all bacteria need to be cleaned away. Feminine wipes and sprays alter the vaginal environment and may reduce the bacteria needed to fight off yeast growth. They may also irritate the skin around the vagina.
To freshen up, Goldfarb recommends that you skip feminine wipes and sprays, and instead wash with a mild soap and warm water. “Always use a clean washcloth,” he adds.
Monitor Your Medications
A yeast infection is one of the most common side effects women experience as a result of taking certain prescription medications, including oral contraceptives, antibiotics, and steroids.
Birth control pills increase estrogen levels, which can increase a woman’s chance of developing vaginal yeast. And some women are more susceptible to that excess yeast growth.
While antibiotics kill bacteria that may be causing disease, they also kill “friendly” bacteria, which have antifungal properties, giving more space for yeast to grow. Steroids can lead to yeast infections because they dampen the body’s natural immune defenses.
If you develop a yeast infection while taking a certain medication, talk to your gynecologist or primary care doctor. Your doctor may be able to switch you to another medication. You can also ask your doctor about eating yogurt that contains live and activate cultures or taking a probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus to try to prevent a yeast infection while taking antibiotics.
Not all women will develop a yeast infection as a result of these habits. “But for women who are predisposed to yeast infections,” Goldfarb says, “making some lifestyle adjustments can greatly reduce the number of yeast infections they experience in their lifetime.”
The Rub With Wipes
More and more these days, marketers are misleading women to believe that dry toilet paper just isn’t doing the job. They claim that women will feel better, fresher (and sexier) by using pre-moistened wipes. Through claims of “freshness,” “confident clean” and yes, even “odor control,” wipes are being advertised as the better option for the health and happiness of women. But the truth is, wipes may be doing you (and the planet) more harm than good.
Impact on your health:
Many feminine wipes contain chemicals of concern linked to cancer, hormone disruption and fertility problems (see list of chemicals in wipes below). The long term health risks of exposure to these chemicals from using wipes have never been studied and are largely unknown but concerning. In 2015, Women’s Voices for the Earth researched women’s experiences using feminine wipes. We compiled over 150 examples of online product reviews from 11 different brands of feminine wipes, which detailed associated adverse health effects. Specifically, complaints of itching, burning, irritation, allergic reactions and bleeding rashes were commonly reported. In addition, there were several reports of associated urinary tract infections. Several women noted that they used wipes in order to alleviate symptoms, but found that the wipes merely exacerbated the problems they were experiencing. Women of color are disproportionately impacted by toxic chemicals in feminine wipes, as they’re more frequent users of these products.
Impact on the environment:
Wipes are disposable products that do not degrade well. Numerous reports have demonstrated that the use of wipes is wreaking havoc by clogging sewer systems and septic tanks . An ever-growing number of wipes are also washing up on beaches. The Marine Conservation Society in the UK found an astonishing 50% increase in wipes found on beaches between 2013 and 2014 . Environmental impacts also include the additional solid waste from both the wipes and their excessive packaging.
Impact on your pocketbook:
Wipes are expensive! Costs vary from six cents per wipe to as much as forty cents per wipe (especially for individually wrapped “on-the-go” packages). This compares to mere fractions of a cent for toilet paper use.
Wipes are marketed to women in a manner that suggests they are not clean, or there is something wrong with their bodies. Remember, you are ok just the way you are.
The bottom line is that, despite what marketers are trying to sell you, wipes are not necessary for everyday cleansing for most women. The chemicals they contain may, in fact, have adverse effects on your health. While there may be certain situations, and/or medical conditions where wet wiping can be advantageous or preferred, pre-moistened wipes do not have to be the solution, given their many drawbacks. Women must demand accountability and transparency of product ingredients and challenge the marketing practices that prey upon them for unnecessary items.
Harmful Chemicals Found in Wipes
“Fragrance” represents an unknown bouquet of unnecessary but potentially toxic chemicals. Fragrances are well known to cause allergic skin reactions – and can also include hormone disrupting chemicals, cancer-causing agents, and harsh irritants. Unfortunately, most fragrance ingredients are kept secret from consumers, so toxic components are difficult to identify from reading product labels. Results of a chemical analysis of twenty brands of wet wipes published in 2015 revealed that 95% of wipes tested contained fragrance allergens, 90% contained phthalates (including DEP, DBP and DEHP), and 55% contained synthetic musks .
Preservatives are mandatory for pre-moistened wipes in order to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold. (In contrast, toilet paper is dry, so it does not need chemical additives to prevent bacteria growth.) Unfortunately, many people are sensitized to preservatives and get allergic skin reactions in response. Certain preservatives are formaldehyde releasers, and formaldehyde exposure has been linked to cancer. Other preservatives, like parabens, are potential endocrine disruptors which may play a role in breast cancer and fertility issues.
Problematic preservatives found in wipes:
Methylisothiazolinone and Methylchloroisothiazolinone (MI and CMI)
MI and CMI in particular have been called out in numerous dermatology journals; severe allergies to these chemicals from the use of pre-moistened wipes have been well documented . Due to numerous reports of adverse reactions in recent years, several companies have reformulated their wipes to replace MI and CMI with alternative preservatives. However, watch out, because there are still wipes containing these chemicals on the market.
Iodopropynyl butylcarbamate (IPBC)
IPBC is a well-known skin allergen. Its use has been severely restricted by regulations in the European Union. These regulations have led to numerous recalls of wet wipes in Europe due to the presence of IPBC in the product . There are currently no restrictions on IPBC used in wipes in the United States.
Parabens (methylparaben, propylparaben, ethylparaben, butylparaben)
Parabens are of concern because they have been shown to have estrogenic properties . Parabens have been detected in breast cancer tissue, with concern that their presence may be connected to the disease . Higher levels of parabens in a woman’s urine have also been associated with ovarian aging, which leads to reduced fertility . Parabens are also allergens, commonly causing reactions in patients with dermatitis . A 2015 chemical analysis of wet wipes found 55% of wipes tested contained some form of paraben, predominantly methylparaben .
Formaldehyde releasers (DMDM hydantoin and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol)
DMDM hydantoin and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol are formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. The formaldehyde released by these chemicals does an effective job of killing bacteria, but can cause allergic reactions for those who are sensitized to formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is also a human carcinogen. The potential cancer-causing impact of formaldehyde exposure to vaginal and vulvar tissue is virtually unstudied, but certainly of concern.
Other chemicals of concern found in wipes:
Octoxynol-9 is a potent contraceptive drug that effectively kills sperm. However, wipes containing octoxynol-9 are not considered contraceptives, nor are they required to have any caution labeling to their potential effect on a woman’s fertility. Use of octoxynol-9 in spermicides has been associated with genital irritation and increased vaginal discharge . Octoxynol-9 has also been linked to reproductive harm in laboratory studies, but further research is needed to confirm these findings.
Neutresse™ is a trademarked name for an odor-controlling ingredient found in wipes. The chemical structure of Neutresse is not disclosed. The potential hazards of this mystery ingredient are simply unknown.
Alternatives to pre-moistened wipes
Good old fashioned toilet paper can do the trick just fine in most situations.
Moisten toilet paper with water immediately before use. This is easier to do in a home or private bathroom with easy access to the sink.
Fill small portable spray bottles with water for your purse or your bathroom. Spray toilet paper, or yourself before wiping to aid with cleaning. To prevent any growth of bacteria, refresh the water in the spray bottle regularly.
Make your own cloth wipes and wet them with water. Flannel or other soft fabric can be less abrasive than toilet paper for those with especially sensitive skin.
For those circumstances where you may want to use a wipe, there are safer options on the market from companies conscious of keeping chemicals of concern out of their products. Read labels and look for wipes free of fragrance and parabens, and avoid wipes that contain the problematic preservatives listed in this fact sheet.
If you are concerned about odor, remember that a certain amount of vaginal odor is normal. If the odor has distinctly changed, or is strong and noticeable, an infection or other medical condition could be the cause. Talk with your doctor about this concern. Vaginal deodorants, douches, sprays and wipes are not recommended and could make things worse.
Celeiro M, Pablo Lamas J, Garcia-Jares C, and Llompart M. (2015) Pressurized liquid extraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of fragrance allergens, musks, phthalates and preservatives in baby wipes. Journal of Chromatography A. Vol. 1384, pp: 9-21.
Higgins E, Kirby B, Rogers S and Collins P. (2013) Methychloroisothiazolinone and methylisothiazolinone allergic contact dermatits and the effect of patch test concentration. Dermatitis. Vol. 24, No. 2, pp: 73-76. March/April 2013
Celeiro M, Pablo Lamas J, Garcia-Jares C, and Llompart M. (2015) Pressurized liquid extraction-gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of fragrance allergens, musks, phthalates and preservatives in baby wipes. Journal of Chromatography A. Vol. 1384, pp: 9-21.
Are Baby Wipes OK For Your Vajajay?
In short, yes! If it helps you feel more clean and fresh, that is certainly okay. There are also wipes made for women, sometimes referred to as feminine hygiene wipes but there’s nothing wrong with using baby wipes. If they are safe and gentle enough for a baby, they should be fine for a teenager or woman. You may have to use caution with scented wipes since they could be irritating.
Before starting your period each month, it may be prudent to stock up on wet wipes (same as baby wipes, just without the baby smell). Sometimes when you’re on your period, all you really want to use are wet wipes – they’ll do the job and really clean things up down there. Also, they’re really refreshing. So worry not, it is absolutely okay to use baby or wet wipes when you’re on your period. All of you ladies out there who haven’t tried using wipes when your own your periods, go pick some up – they’ll change your periods for the better.
Before you get into it though, here are a few suggestions for any type of wipe that you choose:
- Choose an unscented version. Scents often cause more irritation.
- Follow the front-to-back wipe rule with these, too, and use them ONLY on the outside of your body.
- Use them only when needed; e.g. when you change your pad even once or twice a day, there’s no need to use one every time you use the restroom.
- If they cause any irritation, make sure to stop using them right away.
Other things you can do to help stay clean and feel fresh are to make sure that you change your pad about every four hours or to take an extra bath or shower. Even just rinsing with water can help.
Source disclaimer: Article is adapted from original article source U by Kotex – USA
5 Vagina-Friendly Cleansing Products That Gynecologists Don’t Hate
Share on PinterestDesign by Alexis Lira
The vagina is taking over the world of beauty products and skin care.
One report predicts that the “feminine hygiene” market — which includes sanitary pads, tampons, panty liners and shields, internal cleansers, sprays, and disposable razors — will grow to $42.7 billion by 2022.
As Dr. Kimberly Langdon, OB-GYN, medical advisor at Medzino, a digital health company based in California says, “It seems we’re in the midst of a massive wave of products for vaginas and vulvas.”
Your vagina doesn’t need special products, but your vulva might benefit
Marketing may use the two terms interchangeably, but the vagina and vulva are two separate parts of the body.
An anatomy refresher The vagina is the muscular canal inside the body that the menstrual flow — and babies, during childbirth — passes through. The vulva refers to the outer portions around the vagina which includes the inner and outer vaginal lips (labia), the clitoral hood, the clitoris, pubic mound, and the urethra.
“The vagina does not need to be washed because the vagina is a self-cleaning organ,” explains Dr. Renjie Chang, OB-GYN and founder of NeuEve, a women’s sexual health product startup. “A healthy vagina has an effective ecology of bacteria that help it maintain the right pH.”
That would be a pH value of 3.5 to 4.5, which is slightly acidic. At this pH, our vaginas can prevent “bad” bacteria from thriving, Chang explains.
Washing inside or douching the vagina can disrupt this natural balance, which can result in irritation, bacterial vaginosis, or a yeast infection. Further, Langdon says, “Douching actually increases the risk of pushing STIs upwards toward the fallopian tubes and can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that can cause infertility.”
So, does the vulva need to be washed?
“Cleaning the vulva should be a part of your daily hygiene routine,” says Sherry Ross, MD, OB-GYN and women’s health expert in Santa Monica, California.
Warm water is all you need to adequately clean your vulva. However, there are products you can use if you really want to cleanse, moisturize, or freshen up between showers down there.
Anything you use on the vulva can easily enter the super-sensitive vagina, so what’s in the product matters. “It is important to minimize ingredients like scents which can cause dryness and alter the pH of the vagina, leading to irritation or infection,” says New York-based obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Kameelah Phillips. Besides, you don’t need to cover up the natural smell of your vagina with perfumes.
If you do invest in soap, wipes, or other products for your nether bits, go for something that’s as mild as possible. Ideally, it should be dermatologist-tested, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free.
Here are 5 gynecologist-approved products you can try out:
1. Dove Sensitive Skin Bath Bars
In general, you want to use a product that’s the least toxic and least likely to contain potentially allergenic ingredients around the vulva and vagina, says Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, OB-GYN at Yale-New Haven Hospital and clinical professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive sciences at Yale School of Medicine.
“I encourage my patients to use unscented soap like Dove bar soap, and to use the least amount of soap possible,” she says. It’s fragrance-free.
Cost: $13.99/6 bars, available on Amazon
Langdon recommends other fragrance-free, gentle soaps, too:
- Aveeno Fragrance-Free Bar Soap
- Basis Sensitive Skin Bar
- Dial Basics
- Neutrogena Liquid Cleanser
2. Summer’s Eve Cleansing Cloths
“I am all for feminine hygiene wipes and some companies do this better than others,” says Ross. “I am a big fan of Summer’s Eve as they tend to be formulated specifically not to disrupt the pH balance of the vagina.”
The wipes are also free from dyes and parabens, and gynecologist-tested.
When should you use these? According to Ross, when changing pads or tampons.
“Wearing sanitary pads each day can bring unwanted bacteria to this very sensitive and delicate area. These wipes can be used to clean the blood from the vulva whether you are home or out on the go.” You might also use them after a workout to wipe away groin sweat.
Cost: $3.60/package, available on Amazon
Note: Summer’s Eve also has scented versions of this product, but the fragrance may be irritating to the delicate skin of the vulva. “There is nothing wrong with the natural scent of a healthy vagina or vulva,” says Dr. Jessica Shepherd, MD. “If you’re experiencing a strong or unpleasant odor, you don’t want to cover that up. You want to actually address the issue.”
She suggests a visit to the gynecologist or your healthcare provider of choice.
3. Vagisil Sensitive Plus Moisturizing Wash
“Vagisil has a line of intimate washes specifically for the labia that are formulated with no ingredients to disrupt the normal pH balance of the vagina,” says Ross. She suggests only using this to clean the labia.
It’s pH-balanced, hypoallergenic, as well as dermatologist- and gynecologist-tested. Keep in mind that this product does include a fragrance, which may be irritating to folks who are especially sensitive or prone to yeast infections.
Cost: $10.00/bottle, available on Amazon
4. Fur Oil
How you choose to groom your pubic hair is your choice. If you decide to keep some or all of your pubic hair, Fur offers a great moisturizing oil.
Does your pubic hair need pube oil? No. “Your pubes are not exposed to the elements like hair on our head. This means that it gets plenty of moisture and sebum to keep it healthy,” says Langdon.
Still, you may be interested in keeping the area feeling hydrated. “Fur Oil has been both dermatologist and gynecologist tested, which helps a buyer know it’s a safe purchase,” says Ross. To use it, apply one to two drops onto your fingers then run it through your pubes. It also has vitamin E to nourish dry skin, clary sage seed oil for inflammation, and it’s free of parabens and fragrance.
Friendly warning: “The oil includes tea tree oil and peppermint, which both astringent properties. So if there is broken skin or a shaving nick it can lead to burning and irritation,” says Phillips.
One way to test how your skin may react is to put a drop on your inner elbow, cover with a bandage, and keep it there overnight to make sure there’s no reaction before using it.
Cost: $46.00/2 ounce, available at Ulta
5. Lola Cleansing Wipes
“These wipes look promising,” says Phillips. “The ingredients are mild and don’t include common vaginal irritants.”
What are they made of? 100 percent bamboo soaked in a simple, purified water solution. The product is alcohol-free and there are no parabens, sulfates, synthetic preservatives, dyes, or fragrances.
Cost: $10.00/box, available on mylola.com
Remember, always test the product first and stop use if it causes issues
Questions to ask before purchasing something for your vulva:
- Is this fragrance-free?
- Is this dermatologist- and gynecologist-tested?
- Does this product or its marketing use shame to get you to purchase it?
- Are there any ingredients I can’t pronounce?
If you’re interested in trying a new product, make sure to do a patch test on your arm first to make sure you don’t have an allergy or reaction to any ingredients.
If you do start to experience irritation, redness, or excessive dryness on the vulva or vagina after using a product, stop use immediately. Always talk to your gynecologist if you have any concerns.
Gabrielle Kassel is a New York-based wellness writer and CrossFit Level 1 Trainer. She’s become a morning person, tried the Whole30 challenge, and eaten, drunk, brushed with, scrubbed with, and bathed with charcoal — all in the name of journalism. In her free time, she can be found reading self-help books, bench-pressing, or pole dancing. Follow her on Instagram.
Whether you’re rushing around your city on a busy day or changing out of sweaty clothes after a killer workout, you may notice that things look, feel, or smell a bit…funky in your nether regions as you peel off your undies. As you likely know, there are various solutions out there marketed toward helping you freshen up. Enter: feminine wipes.
You may find feminine wipes useful for various reasons, whether it’s a quick wipe down after exercising when no shower is available, to clean up possible menstrual leakage in the vulva area, or as a quickie shower alternative when you’re strapped for time.
“Most women have a natural scent (and are familiar with what that scent is, and it may vary with the cycle),” says Alyssa Dweck, MD, an ob-gyn in Westchester County, New York. Some women just like the feeling of clean they get from using a wipe to get rid of some of that scent, but you certainly don’t have to. It’s just personal preference. “Your natural scent doesn’t need to be masked with heavy fragrance nor should the vagina or vulva need to smell like flowers, for example,” says Dr. Dweck.
You also don’t NEED wipes to keep yourself clean. “The vagina is self-cleansing and often does not need excess soaps or solutions to keep it clean,” adds Jessica Shepherd, MD, an ob-gyn in Dallas. “Externally, the vulva can be cleansed with wipes but douching or over washing the vagina internally can lead to yeast infections or bacterial vaginosis or BV, an imbalance in the vagina’s natural pH, the protective barrier that prevents unhealthy bacteria and yeast from multiplying too quickly and causing infection.”
But if you like how they feel, you do you. Just make sure you’re using them properly, as explained ahead:
What ingredients should I look for in feminine wipes?
It’s important to know that not all wipes are created equal, and there may be some instances where they could do more harm than good. The best feminine wipes will be made of natural ingredients and free of irritating parabens, dyes, and fragrances. (One note: If an unfamiliar odor is the reason you’re reaching for wipes, Dr. Dweck recommends getting checked for an infection, like BV, rather than simply trying to mask it with wipes, especially if you have sensitive skin down there.)
Are feminine wipes always safe to use?
If you’re on the go, or prone to sweating in hot environments, then wipes can be useful to decrease sweat and build-up in the vaginal area, says Dr. Shepherd. However, if you’re prone to yeast infections, or currently have a discharge that is abnormal or any sores or lesions, it is best to not use wipes at all. In some cases, vigorous and constant use of wipes could also disrupt the vagina’s natural pH. Using body washes and soaps that have the wrong pH and use harsh ingredients like sulfates, glycerin, and parabens can help cause yeast infections or irritation, says Dr. Shepherd. Lastly, don’t forget that wipes do not treat or prevent STIs or pregnancy.
If you are a fan of wipes and want to guarantee your pick is vulva-friendly, these are the expert-recommended options.
Spring is almost here, which means feminine product lines like Summer’s Eve are advertising more than ever. You could start to believe you need a soap or powder to keep yourself fresh down there, but before you run to the store in fear, hear me out.
I am not a gynecologist, but as a living woman with a vagina and the internet, I have had my fair share of experiences. I know many women struggle with embarrassment and shame when it comes to their vaginas, and these feelings may be exacerbated in the bedroom. I know that teenage girls on the verge of becoming adult women and having sex for the first time can be even more vulnerable. Because of commercials on TV by brands like Summer’s Eve, they may feel like they need to use soap to clear up any odor they think they have. Poor sex education in the United States has also led to a tragic misunderstanding between many women and their bodies. All the stereotypes regarding women’s bodies may lead you to believe you have to smell like a bed of roses at all times, but that’s just not true.
Though you may feel fresh after using soap or baby powder or even a deodorant spray, use of those products can throw off the pH balance in your vagina. An imbalance will keep your natural flora from coexisting as they should, resulting in an increased odor, irritation or yeast infection.
Your vagina naturally cleanses itself, and should be left alone to do her job herself like any capable, independent woman. Summer’s Eve and its cohorts are gimmicks to be avoided. In the shower, you should simply wash your body like normal and use only water to clean “down there” (note that I have said water, and any body wash or bar soap you use should be avoided as well).
If you feel like you’re experiencing a problem with cleanliness, try wearing thinner, 100 percent cotton underwear and looser pants or shorts in hot weather. Try going commando at night if you feel comfortable with it to give yourself some air.
If the problem is in the bedroom, use open communication with your partner to express your fears. Your partner will most likely let you know that nothing is out of the ordinary.
Above all, be sure to schedule an appointment with your gynecologist if things seem to be going awry. Your doctor will know the proper way to address your problems, and you won’t waste your time on commercialized products that you don’t need.
Stress and Yeast Infections
Home ” Women’s Health News ” Stress and Yeast Infections
- December 21, 2016
- Cheyenne Women’s Clinic
- Women’s Health News
- Tags: women’s health, yeast infections
The spirit of the holidays isn’t all jolly and magic between the demands of finding the perfect gifts, hosting the ultimate Christmas party, and sticking to our everyday responsibilities. The holidays can be stressful! And while we hope to be immune to stress, our immune system is a bit of Grinch and often has a different agenda.
Yeast infections (candidiasis) are one of the most common types of vaginal infections. A yeast infection is caused by Candida, a fungus found in the normal vagina. However, when the balance of bacteria and yeast in the vagina is disturbed, the yeast may overgrow and cause symptoms.
What Causes Yeast Overgrowth?
Candida overgrowth can stem from a number of factors. But, if you’re under stress for a prolonged period of time like many of us during the holidays, the body may begin to produce increased levels of cortisol, a hormone that can weaken the immune system, and simultaneously cause elevated levels of blood sugar. And, since yeast feeds off of sugar, candida is able to grow faster than normal. While Mrs. Claus means well, stress gets the best of us and we get carried away baking one batch of cookies too many.
What are the Symptoms of Yeast Infections?
The most common symptoms of a yeast infection are:
- Itching and burning of the vulva, the area outside the vagina
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Vaginal discharge, usually white, lumpy, and has no odor
Bah humbug! If you have some or all of these symptoms, we encourage you to come see us so we can make an accurate diagnosis and identify the best treatment options for fast relief. While over-the-counter treatments are safe and often effective in treating yeast infections, the concentration of antibiotic may not be sufficient for your level of candida overgrowth.
De-stress and get back to the season of cheer and merriment by making an appointment with Cheyenne Women’s Clinic today!
This is not an ideal topic, but since most females will get a yeast infection in their lifetimes — and almost half of women will experience two or more — let’s get informed.
First off, according to Womenshealth.gov, your vaginal yeast infection comes by way of a host of uncomfortable symptoms, which include burning, itching, pain during urination and sex, and thick, white discharge. The infections are caused by an overgrowth of the fungus candida. Various everyday lifestyle factors contribute to getting a yeast infection. Wearing really tight jeans or leggings, staying in sweaty workout clothing for too long, highly scented feminine products, and wiping the wrong way (should always be from front to back!) are just some of the things that might increase your risk of getting a yeast infection.
Turns out, our close friend stress is an important link in the wellness of our vaginal health, too. Since the mind has a great effect on the body, Dr. Mashfika N. Alam, a family physician, told POPSUGAR, “A weakened immune system does predispose the body to fungal infections including vaginal yeast infections. Since chronic stress does tend to lower the body’s defenses, it can trigger vaginal candida infections.”
Dr. Sean McCaffrey, a health and wellness professional who specializes in integrative health, also told POPSUGAR, “When under chronic stress, your body has to allocate all of its resources differently. The adrenal glands then take the majority of these resources to deal with the stress, which weakens the immune system. This causes the body to have an imbalance in its systems.”
Essentially, your stress — emotional, physical, or nutritional — allows things that are more opportunistic to get started and those things can be infection, disease, and a lot of discomfort. Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, echoes this sentiment, as he explained to POPSUGAR, “The mind affects to the body to a great degree, and when we are stressed out chronically, it can most certainly aggravate different kinds of illnesses.”
Similar to having an ulcer or high blood pressure or muscle tension, practicing self-care techniques that will increase relaxation and decrease stress are going to help your vaginal health, too. Try yoga and meditation. Go for a walk. Eat calming foods.
Over and over, we see correlations between physical and mental health, so do yourself a favor and take steps to rein in your stress and positively keep yourself out of discomfort’s way. There is no better excuse than your health to give yourself a spa treatment (even at home) as often as possible.
Image Source: Flickr user Mitya Ku
Here’s What Stress Can Do To Your Yeast Infection
By Nicole Charky
Yeast infections are sneaky. But let’s get a few things straight and answer this: Is stress the ultimate factor behind the discomfort?
“The brain and digestive system actually share a two-way connection, so not only does a healthy gut affect your mental state, but your mental state affects how your gut functions,” says Dr. Amy Meyers, physician and author based in Texas.
When you’re stressed out it can actually worsen an autoimmune disease and its effect on your immune system. Chronic stress itself can damage your gut, which is the gateway to your health.
WHAT KIND OF YEAST ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
There are hundreds of types of yeast. Sometimes women can get yeast overgrowth, known as candida. Candida is a fungus that lives in your mouth and intestines to help you digest and absorb what you eat. It keeps your good gut bacteria in check and immune system running smoothly. Sometimes the balance can be off and that’s when the yeast begins to multiply rapidly. Candida can take over your gut and damage the lining of your digestive tract, and exit through your bloodstream to impact your whole body.
There are more than 20 species of candida, according to the CDC. You can get it in the mouth, known as “thrush” or and Candidiasis in the vagina is known by all of society as a “yeast infection.” Invasive candidiasis happens when Candida species enter the bloodstream.
WHAT STRESS HAS TO DO WITH IT
Stress can really wreck your digestive and immune systems. Stress can be physical, mental or emotional and can push your adrenal glands to go into overdrive.
Your adrenal glands are the hormone powerhouse and when you’re stressed they release a flood of stress hormones, and the mother of them all: cortisol. Cortisol creates inflammation and affects your digestive system and immune system. Its day job is to tell your immune system when it’s time to respond to a wound or injury. As we have evolved and develop different types of stress, such as work or relationship-related stress, those are long-term and often chronic forms of stress. They literally don’t go away that easy and your body is like ‘WHAT THE HELL?’
And when your stress response kicks in, your digestive system starts to shut down, Meyers says.
SHAKE UP YOUR SYSTEM
There are steps you can take to prevent yeast infections with what you eat and your lifestyle.
“Before I tell you how I like to de-stress, I want to be clear – there is no one best way to relax and relieve stress,” Meyers says. “Everyone manages their stress differently, so don’t stress yourself out over trying to follow the perfect de-stressing routine.”
You can do stress relief practices to help prevent yourself from yeast infections. Meyers recommends you find what works best for you and stick with it:
- Spending time with family and friends
- Meditating, going to church or temple
- Adopting a health or sleep app that can increase your rest time.
- Relaxing bath
“Drink more water” is probably one of the most common pieces of health advice out there. Among other things, experts say, it can help improve your skin, help you feel more energetic, and boost your immune system, so clearly there’s a lot of benefit to it.
But you’re not alone if you find you end up drinking less H2O than you should. If promises of great skin and more energy don’t entice you, here’s another incentive to keep in mind if you’re trying to increase your water intake: It’s good for your vagina. Really!
“A healthy vagina needs the same hygienic attention as any other part of the body, similar to the way we care for our face,” points out Sherry A. Ross, M.D., a women’s health expert and author of She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period. “The skin of the vagina is susceptible to dryness if not taken care of properly.” When your body isn’t properly hydrated, the outside skin of your vagina—including the labia majora and labia minora—are more likely to be dry, Ross says. The same goes for the inside of your vagina: If you’re drinking enough water, your vagina should be well-lubricated.
But the opposite is also true: Failure to drink enough water can dry you out down there, especially since the vagina has sensitive skin. If your vagina is regularly dehydrated, you can get itchiness, burning, and pain down there, Ross says—and it could lead to or exacerbate a yeast infection.
Here’s why: The inside of your vagina is normally acidic and is perfect for the protective organisms that live in there, Dr. Ross says. Anything that disrupts this delicate balance could lead to issues like an infection, dryness, itching, or burning. “Yeast and bacterial infections occur when there is a disruption of the normal pH balance caused by dehydrated skin in and around the inside of the vagina,” she explains.
How much more water are we talking about? The amount you actually need every day depends on a few factors, including how active you are, but the Mayo Clinic says that most people should aim for eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day. (Just keep in mind that alcohol and caffeine dehydrate you as well, so you may want to drink a little more water than usual when you have either.)
Of course, water intake alone isn’t the key to a healthy vagina—there are other factors, like your diet, exercise, weight, sexual health practices, and hygiene, that make an impact too—but it can help. “More than drinking water will need to be done to keep the vagina healthy,” says Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and director of minimally invasive gynecology at The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. “However, it does definitely improve the healthy state of the vagina.”
So try to have a little more water every day if you can. If you’re not a “water person,” add fresh fruit or herbs to your H2O to give it a little flavor and incentivize you to drink more. Your body—your whole body—will thank you.
Being dehydrated can lower your libido and even make sex painful — here’s why
- When you’re not adequately hydrated, your body might react in plenty of surprising ways that you might not think are related to how much water you’re drinking.
- Being dehydrated can impact your sex life — from headaches and fatigue preventing you from getting in the mood, to erectile issues and vaginal dryness.
- Here are the signs you should look out for when it comes to your sex drive and water intake.
When you’re not drinking enough water, your body can react in some seriously weird ways, including sleep disruption, headaches, and dry skin. But one of the most surprising signs of dehydration involves your sex life, because being dehydrated can have both physical and emotional effects on your bedroom routine.
From fatigue and irritability, which could secretly be killing your sex drive, to erectile issues and vaginal dryness, here are the ways that dehydration can affect your sex life, and how you can remedy the situation.
Not drinking enough water can cause a host of unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms that you might not immediately link to your fluid intake, such as fatigue and irritability to headaches. But how exactly does this impact your activity between the sheets?
A 2011 study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that even mild dehydration impairs cognitive performance and mood in young men, showing a marked increase in anxiety and tension even when at rest.
Dehydration can impair cognitive performances and mood in young men. yacobchuk/ iStock
This link exists with all genders, though, which makes sense. After all, how easy is it to get in the mood when you’re feeling tense and anxious?
It turns out that drinking enough water and stress levels are actually closely linked. Our bodies need enough water to run efficiently, and when we don’t have enough, that can impact just about everything from the inside out.
Registered dietitian Amanda Carlson told WebMD that “studies have shown that being just half a liter dehydrated can increase your cortisol levels,” adding, “Cortisol is one of those stress hormones. Staying in a good hydrated status can keep your stress levels down. When you don’t give your body the fluids it needs, you’re putting stress on it, and it’s going to respond to that.”
Of course, drinking more water won’t magically lower your stress levels, but it will help your body respond to outside stressors more seamlessly. And the less stressed you are, the more likely it is that you’ll want to get it on.
If you’ve ever experienced a throbbing headache on a hot day or after a rigorous workout, or even just when you’ve failed to get in those six cups of water that day, you know firsthand how important it is to remain hydrated. And when your temples are pounding, you’re probably not excited about the prospect of having sex.
When your head is pounding from dehydration, you probably don’t want to have sex. vadimguzhva/ iStock
“Often a headache is our body’s signal that we’re becoming dehydrated,” explains Patricia Johnson, co-author of “Partners in Passion: A Guide to Great Sex, Emotional Intimacy and Long-term Love,” who recommends drinking a tall glass of H2O and taking an over-the-counter pain reliever of your choice, and waiting it out a bit. As Johnson told SheKnows, “Chances are, your headache has vanished and you’ll be able to focus on the pleasurable activities you’re planning.”
Dehydration can also cause dry skin, which can be the culprit for more than just chapped lips and itchiness. It turns out that if you’re dehydrated, your vagina might be too.
Vaginal dryness can cause pain during sex, which probably won’t make you excited about the thought of getting busy. But can not drinking enough water seriously dry out the skin down below?
Yes, says Sherry A. Ross, M.D., a women’s health expert and author of “She-ology: The Definitive Guide to Women’s Intimate Health. Period”. Dr. Ross told Glamour magazine that “A healthy vagina needs the same hygienic attention as any other part of the body, similar to the way we care for our face,” adding, “The skin of the vagina is susceptible to dryness if not taken care of properly.”
Dehydration can lead to vaginal dryness. George Rudy/
That dryness can occur on the skin outside the vagina (the labia majora and labia minora) as well as the skin on the inside, and failing to drink enough water can lead to itchiness, burning, and pain down there … all of which can cause or exacerbate a yeast infection, says Dr. Ross.
The vagina has a delicate pH balance and a healthy vagina is normally acidic, but dehydration can send that balance out of whack, upping your risk for a yeast infection. “Yeast and bacterial infections occur when there is a disruption of the normal pH balance caused by dehydrated skin in and around the inside of the vagina,” explains Dr. Ross.
Of course, it’s worth mentioning that “more than drinking water will need to be done to keep the vagina healthy,” explained Jessica Shepherd, M.D., an assistant professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology and director of minimally invasive gynecology at The University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. Dr. Shepherd told Glamour, though, that remaining adequately hydrated “does definitely improve the healthy state of the vagina.”
Dehydration can also impact your ability to orgasm, as Johnson told SheKnows. She said, “Being sufficiently hydrated is important for female sexual response, in part because it may facilitate natural lubrication, and also because it can make it easier to experience orgasms.”
The better hydrated we are, the more oxygen we have traveling through our bloodstream, helping things run smoothly all over the body. That also includes our sex organs, which need all that oxygen to help us climax more easily.
According to Healthline, there’s a solid link between dehydration and erectile dysfunction as well, and it might surprise you. Just as our bodies need sufficient oxygen to run properly overall, they also need that oxygen to help get and maintain an erection, due to the need for adequate blood flow to those sex organs.
There is a link between dehydration and erectile dysfunction. paolo81/ iStock
In 2009, French researcher Simon N. Thornton looked at the link between erectile dysfunction and hydration levels, finding that blood volume impacts erectile function. When fluid levels fall, the body responds by releasing angiotensin, a hormone that can cause blood vessels to constrict or tighten, according to Healthline. This prevents blood flow throughout the body, which includes the penis.
There are tons of reasons why it’s important to drink plenty of fluids even when you don’t feel thirsty, but how much water is actually necessary to stay hydrated?
Of course, we’ve all heard the classic “eight glasses of water a day” rule, but there are so many variables, based on a person’s overall health, climate, and activity level, to getting enough H2O. A good rule of thumb to follow is that if you’re feeling thirsty, you might already be already experiencing dehydration, so drinking enough water throughout the day is never a bad idea, even if you’re not particularly thirsty.
Plus, alcohol, caffeine, and salty foods are all dehydrating, so you’ll want to increase water intake alongside these foods and drinks. And if you’re exercising heavily, feeling ill, or in hot and humid weather, you’ll definitely want to guzzle enough water accordingly.
Drinks lots of water alongside dehydrating drinks. Aleksandrs Muiznieks /
Paying attention to your body’s hydration can benefit you in more ways than you’d think, so drink up as often as you can.
Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
Water and internal and external infections
|1 | 2|
There are many types of infections that can affect the young and old, the sick and the healthy. These types of infections are bacterial, viral and fungal. The most common of these are vaginal and oral yeast infections, skin, inner ear, sinus, lung or nose and throat infections. Next on the list would be tooth, mouth, intestinal, urinary tract, bladder, liver and kidney infections, followed by prostate, bone and blood infections. Water can be used in many of these cases to help aid in the recovery process, as well as even help prevent these common and not so common infections.
We all know that sometimes infections can be the result of contaminated water, either from the tap or from a hot tub or swimming pool. However, when another health ailment strikes, such as one of the aforementioned infections, water can be used in several different ways.
There are several ways to cure and combat yeast infections like garlic and yogurt, but water is one of the best! With higher water intake, you will urinate more, thus flushing out the sugars that can cause yeast infections. If you have diabetes, control your sugar intake because yeast infections and diabetes are linked. Thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth, tongue and throat. Cold water can be used to soothe the pain in the mouth and also used with salt water to rinse the mouth. Finally, try to eat a healthy diet and manage stress. Although it is not proven, some say that too much stress and sugar can trigger yeast infections.
Kidney infections can be the result of a urinary tract or bladder infection that worked its way up. In a bladder infection, usually caused by E.coli, water is very highly recommended as it will flush out the bacteria that is located in the bladder. Many times when people find out they have a kidney infection, they also find that they are severely dehydrated. Frequently replenishing the water running through the bladder is a great way to clean out this organ. If in the hospital, being hooked up to an IV is very common to replenish those fluids. It is always recommended to drink plenty of water during treatment. Urinary tract infections are much like bladder infections, which are just located in the urinary tract. Of course with all of these, medication (usually antibiotics) is also important.
|1 | 2|