Preventing yeast infections starts with taking good care of yourself, including avoiding stress, getting enough rest, and consuming a healthy diet. If someone has diabetes, keeping the blood sugar level under control is essential.
Uncontrolled blood sugar levels can elevate the risk of yeast infections and make it difficult to get rid of them. Suppose someone is taking antibiotics or consuming birth control pills. In that case, it is essential to ask a doctor if probiotics should be taken along with them so that the “good” bacteria can be protected from destruction so that yeast won’t overwhelm different parts of the body. In addition, good hygiene is helpful for the prevention of the environment that is suitable for the growth of yeast.
Following specific steps can help to prevent yeast infection:
- Practice good hygiene
- Wear the right clothes
- Avoid scented sprays and bath products
- Don’t douche
- Avoid certain medications (when possible)
- Maintain a proper diet, sleep, and exercise
- Keep the vagina clean and dry (1)
These preventive measures are more imperative for those who experience three or more yeast infections every year, a condition called chronic or recurrent yeast infections. (2)
Following are the detailed daily habits that can help in the prevention of yeast infection:
- Clothing Habits for Prevention of Yeast Infection:
Wear loose-fitting underwear and pants. Leave some room for airflow.
Wear absorbent cotton or silk underwear instead of nylon or other synthetic fabrics.
Cotton and silk underwear are good at absorbing moisture, keeping the skin dry.
On the other hand, nylon and other synthetic fabrics hold moisture close to our skin, encouraging yeast growth. Underwear made of synthetic material may also result in allergic reactions or hypersensitivity that may lead to alteration in the vagina environment and contribute to the development of yeast infection.
Pantyhose, tights, and leggings can cause heat and moisture to build up in the crotch area.
Avoiding snug-fitting pajamas is a good option. Instead, a loose, flowing nightgown is better and preferable. And going without underwear while sleeping will help keep the genital area dry and discourage yeast growth.
If wearing pantyhose is essential, wear cotton panties underneath, and choose a pantyhose with a cotton crotch.
It’s also super important to change out of workout clothes and to shower immediately after exercising. Sitting around in sweaty gym clothes provides an environment in which yeast can thrive. So it is essential to change into dry clothes as soon as possible.
The same thing goes for bathing suits, change out of a wet bathing suit right after swimming and change into dry clothes.
Always wipe front to back because if not, this can foster harmful bacteria’s from ensuring your vagina and can break out into a yeast infection.
- Cleanliness and Hygiene Habits for Prevention of Yeast Infection:
Prevention of yeast infections requires keeping the body parts clean. For example, to prevent yeast infection in the vagina, it is vital to keep it clean, keep the individual smelling fresh and help prevent yeast infections.
Avoid cleaning your genital area with soap. Instead, rinse thoroughly with water only and dry completely with a soft towel. If wanted, you may use a mild soap.
Cleaning the inside folds of the vagina when bathing reduces the chances of yeast growth as the folds are more prone to get these kinds of infections. As yeast can thrive in a moist environment, it is vital to dry the entire area of the vagina after taking a bath or shower. (3)
Sanitary pads and tampons which are scented should also be avoided. Avoiding printed or colored toilet paper is also a preventive measure as dyes can also irritate.
Douching should be done sparingly as it has a destructive effect not only on harmful bacteria but also on those which are helpful to keep the growth of yeast in check. Products used for douching also wash away the natural protective lining of the vagina, which leaves the skin of the vagina more susceptible to yeast and other vaginal infections. This also might result in the introduction of harmful substances that may cause allergic or hypersensitivity reactions and alter the normal pH balance (acidic) of the vagina.
Take extra care during menstruation. Keep your genital area clean. Use pads instead of tampons if you are prone to yeast infections. If you use tampons, change them frequently.
Bathe smartly. Stay out of hot tubs. Limit your time soaking in a hot bath. Thoroughly rinse after using products like bath salts.
In general, practicing healthy habits like getting enough rest, eating a healthy diet, and taking care of your feminine hygiene helps reduce your risk of yeast infection. However, if you experience frequent vaginal infections, talk to your doctor about other possible causes.
- Practice Safe Sex:
Always use condoms if you aren’t in a committed relationship.
If you have a yeast infection, you should avoid intercourse until your symptoms clear. Vaginal sex can make symptoms of itching, soreness, and dryness worse.
Although a yeast infection isn’t technically a sexually transmitted disease, it may be possible to get it from your partner during sex. Generally, it doesn’t get passed that way, but when women keep coming back with recurrent infections, sometimes doctors ask the partner to get treated to see if that helps.
Uncircumcised men have a slightly higher chance of passing on yeast since their foreskin creates a dark, damp area where it can hang out. Your risk also goes up every time you have a brand-new partner because everyone has different flora.
- Maintain a Healthy Immune System:
The use of antibiotics and birth control pills has been associated with the onset of yeast infections. These drugs can kill the beneficial microorganisms in our body, making Candida Albicans’ proliferation easier. Antibiotics and birth control pills should only be taken as directed, and unnecessary use should be avoided.
There are certain products, antibiotics and personal care products that are linked to infections from yeast. For example, the vaginal area is a sensitive part of our body and using perfumes can lead to irritation, which can elevate the risk of catching infections caused by yeast.
Finally, a healthy immune system keeps the growth of yeast in check. Keeping a regular sleep schedule and avoiding heavy meals, caffeine and exercise within three hours of bedtime are healthy daily habits for preventing yeast infection. Stress reduction techniques such as regular exercise, meditation, and yoga should be practiced to reduce high levels of stress, leading to a compromised immune system. (4)
Diseases that suppress the immune system, such as HIV and diabetes, also enhance the risk of yeast infections. As sugar is a prime food source for yeast proliferation, persons having diabetes should keep their blood sugar levels under control. (1, 4)
- Diet Habits for Prevention of Yeast Infection:
According to some evidence, it has been proven that sugar helps in the promotion of yeast growth. Yeast’s affinity for sweets has prompted some experts to suggest that diet may be a risk factor for some women when it comes to developing yeast infections.
There is a so-called yeast infection diet or anti-candida diet, which certain people are following. This diet is based on the theory that excluding some foods may help eliminate or at least immensely reduce the risk of overgrowth of yeast.
Supporters of such regimens have claimed that a yeast infection diet assists in curing or preventing yeast infections by excluding:
- Anything which is fermented by using yeast, such as alcoholic drinks
- Certain dairy products, which include whole milk
- White flour and other grains which are glutenous in nature
- Foods that contain simple sugars, which includes many fruits
It is recommended in this diet that sticking to foods like protein (from chicken, beans, grass-fed beef, eggs and wild-caught fish), green vegetables, herbal tea and nuts is beneficial for preventing yeast infections. (5) However, the Candida diet has not yet been supported by a rigorous number of scientific research. However, it only makes sense not to feed something that you are trying to get rid of.
On the Candida diet, it is also recommended to consume probiotics or yogurt, which contain live cultures of friendly bacteria. Probiotics are also considered a popular choice for preventing or curing yeast infections.
This concept is that usually, some bacteria live on the skin, in the digestive tract, and elsewhere on the body, where they lend a hand to digestion and other bodily functions. Therefore, probiotics can assist in restoring the body’s normal bacterial balance, which in turn prevents Candida yeast from growing in a manner out of control and hence prevents an infection.
Good sources for probiotics are:
- Yogurt with live bacterial cultures
- Fermented foods such as kimchi, kefir, sauerkraut, and pickles
- Supplements containing Lactobacillus or acidophilus
Some women successfully prevent and treat yeast infections when they consume yogurt (or a probiotic supplement) regularly; others do not.
It is suspected that women who don’t succeed when taking probiotics are not taking effective species. For instance, one study found that both Lactobacillus casei and Bifidobacterium animalis were more effective than Lactobacillus acidophilus and Lactobacillus reuteri in mice infected with Candida albicans; the yeast species that causes most yeast infections. (6)
Author: Dan Jackowiak, Nc, HHP, Founder of Yeast Infection Advisor. Dan is a Holistic Healthcare Practitioner and Nutritional Consultant that personally suffered from yeast and bad bacterial overgrowth of the gut for most of his life. The information on his website is a combination of his own nutrition and holistic training, life experiences, collaboration with fellow experts on his team, and over 18 years of studying medical research on candida yeasts infections of all types, which has allowed him to take his life and health back help others overcome yeast-related health problems and digestive problems of all kinds.
- Gonçalves B, Ferreira C, Alves CT, Henriques M, Azeredo J, Silva S. Vulvovaginal candidiasis: Epidemiology, microbiology and risk factors. Crit Rev Microbiol. 2016;42(6):905-27.
- Sobel JD, Barbieri RL, Eckler K. Patient education: Vaginal yeast infection (beyond the basics). UpToDate. Inc Updated February. 2019;7.
- Blaganje M, Barbič M. Vaginal Yeast Infection. Current Bladder Dysfunction Reports. 2020:1-7.
- Moshfeghy Z, Tahari S, Janghorban R, Najib FS, Mani A, Sayadi M. Association of sexual function and psychological symptoms including depression, anxiety and stress in women with recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis. Journal of the Turkish German Gynecological Association. 2020;21(2):90.
- Harvey C. What is a Candida Diet?
- Biotherapeutic effects of probiotic bacteria on candidiasis in immunodeficient mice. Infect Immun. 1997 Oct;65(10):4165-72.