As if the overweight men and women of the world didn’t have enough to worry about, obesity is one of the risk factors of chronic yeast infections.
Why obesity can add to your risk of getting yeast infections
There are two reasons why overweight women get more vaginal yeast infections, and why both men and women who weigh too much can get skin rashes and oral thrush, which are both caused by Candida albicans yeast.
- The first reason is purely physical – yeast loves warm, moist areas on the skin, and folds of fat create exactly the right conditions for yeast living on the skin. Yeast can overpopulate areas under the breasts, in the armpit, in the crotch, and in any area that stays damp from perspiration. An absorbent powder used in these areas can help.
- The other reason has to do with hormones. As most of us know, obesity is one of the major risk factors for Type II Diabetes. And diabetes can be caused by something that also causes yeast infections – a change in your hormone balance due to increased insulin resistance.
The obesity/yeast infection/diabetes connection
Insulin is a hormone that is used by your body to keep your blood sugar at a safe level. Extra fat cells can make your body resistant to insulin, so your pancreas needs to produce more and more of this hormone to be effective. When the pancreas is no longer able to pump out enough insulin to clear your blood of excess glucose, you are said to have insulin resistance. By this point, you will probably also be diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Since insulin resistance can cause yeast infections, many women are first diagnosed with diabetes when they go to their doctor about their chronic vaginal infections. That’s why it’s so important to get a complete medical exam if you suffer from any of the common symptoms of vaginal yeast infections, instead of treating the infection itself. The infection could be telling you that you have a serious underlying condition that needs to be treated as soon as possible.
How can an overweight man or woman reduce their risk of yeast infections?
By staying as dry as possible, of course. But the most important thing to do is to improve your health so you reduce your risk of diabetes, which is a far more serious condition than a yeast infection. To do that, you must lose weight, go on a healthy diet, and get regular exercise. Also, recent research has shown that a diet high in certain green vegetables can reduce the risk of diabetes. (Besides, eating lots of green salads will help you lose weight, too.)
Since insulin resistance can make it difficult to lose weight, it’s important to include exercise in your daily routine. Exercise helps improve your cell’s ability to use insulin. It also helps to prevent heart disease, which often accompanies obesity and diabetes. The exercise will help you lose weight, too.
And, you need to talk to your doctor about a healthy diet that will help prevent or reverse your risk of diabetes. Studies have shown that a good diet, accompanied by regular exercise, are the most effective treatment for insulin resistance.
The Diabetes Prevention Program suggests a low-calorie, low-fat diet. Since yeast loves sugar, you may want to eliminate sugar from your diet, as well. It will help you reduce the daily calories you consume, help you lose weight, and reduce your risk for those aggravating yeast infections.
Your first step if you’re overweight and suffering from chronic yeast infections? Talk to your doctor, get checked for diabetes, and take your doctor’s advice! It could save your life.