Preventing yeast infections is a matter of finding the most likely cause for a Candida overgrowth.
While poor diet and damp, warm skin are easily-fixed problems that may trigger a yeast infection, there are other risk factors that must also be considered. Hormone changes and the use of antibiotics and steroid medications are probably the most common. We can control some of these factors, but not all of them.
Preventing yeast infections by keeping your hormones in balance:
If you are using a contraceptive pill and find that you get a vaginal yeast infection at the same time every month, it may be the hormones in the pill that are triggering your infections. You can talk to your doctor about using a different form of contraceptive that doesn’t affect your hormone level.
The same thing goes for hormone replacement therapy (HRT) for women during menopause. If you started getting chronic infections after going on HRT, talk to your doctor about possible alternatives. You might also want to talk to a naturopathic physician who may be able to suggest ways to avoid the menopausal symptoms without HRT.
A high-sugar diet and obesity can both affect your hormone levels – that’s why a poor diet can lead to diabetes. Other risks concerning hormone imbalance are a thyroid dysfunction, a pre-diabetes condition, and uncontrolled diabetes. If you think one of these issues may be causing your chronic yeast infections, definitely bring it up with your doctor, because these conditions are far more serious than a simple yeast infection.
Preventing yeast infections by avoiding overuse of antibiotics.
If you’re sick or have a bacterial infection, you may not have much choice about taking antibiotics. Unfortunately, many doctors assume that you won’t be happy if you leave their office without a prescription, so they prescribe antibiotics even if you don’t really need them, and sometimes even if you have a viral infection and they know antibiotics won’t help.
Make sure you let your doctor know that you are only interested in taking antibiotics if you really need to.
If you do need to take a round of antibiotics, talk to your doctor about possible steps you can take to limit the possibility of a yeast infection.
Once the antibiotic regimen is finished, you can help to replenish the beneficial bacteria in your colon by eating a cup of yogurt every day (make sure it contains active cultures). There are over 500 different species that inhabit a healthy gut, and yogurt can’t replace all of them, but it definitely helps.
If you can’t eat yogurt for some reason, try to find a supplement that contains active cultures at the natural food store, or ask your naturopath for a supplement that will help.
If you are going through puberty and taking a long-term antibiotic medication for acne, you may have both fluctuating hormone levels and antibiotics triggering yeast infections. If you are now experiencing yeast infections and you never did before, talk to your doctor about other alternatives for your acne, or make an appointment with a naturopathic physician who may be able to suggest dietary changes that will help.
And if you or one of your children have chronic yeast infections in spite of eating a low-sugar diet, you may be getting antibiotics in the meat, poultry and eggs they eat. Try switching to certified organic products instead, and see if it helps in preventing yeast infections.
Preventing yeast infections by boosting your immune system:
If you have a compromised immune system because of AIDS, chemotherapy, or the use of steroid medications, be sure to talk to your doctor if you see the first signs of a vaginal yeast infection. Self-help is not a good idea in these conditions.
If you don’t have an underlying condition that has damaged your immune system, you can improve the functioning of your immune system by following a good diet and getting lots of exercise. Drink plenty of water, too, to help your system flush out any toxins. Also be sure to eat lots of the immune-boosting vegetables from the cabbage family – including broccoli, kale, cauliflower and arugula. These greens contain chemicals that have been shown to improve immune function – studies have even discovered that these vegetables may reduce the risk of diabetes in people who are at risk of this illness.
Diabetes and yeast infections often go together, so eating right may be the key for preventing yeast infections and other, more serious, illnesses, too.