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Women's Health

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Vaginal Yeast Infections - What Increases Your Risk

Your risk of getting a vaginal yeast infection can be increased by a number of medical and lifestyle factors.

Some of the common things that put you at risk for vaginal yeast infection include:

Recommended Related to Women

5 Health Habits It's Okay To Skip

By Virginia Sole-SmithDo you really need to eat breakfast every day? Here, five "must-do's" you can think twice about. Don't tell your mother we said so, but she wasn't right about everything -- at least not when it comes to your health. Research shows that some of those habits you've been told to maintain aren't backed up by much evidence, or even plain old common sense. Five "must-do's" you can think twice about:

Read the 5 Health Habits It's Okay To Skip article > >

  • Use of antibiotics. These medicines upset the normal balance between yeast and bacteria in the vagina. Antibiotics can kill too much "good" bacteria and result in too much yeast growing in the vagina, sometimes causing symptoms of a yeast infection.
  • Problems with your immune system that affect the normal balance of yeast and bacteria in the body. Having a condition such as poorly controlled diabetes or HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) can lead to too much yeast growing in the vagina. Taking corticosteroid medicines sometimes also weakens the immune system and increases the risk for yeast infections. Pregnant women are also at higher risk for getting yeast infections because of shifting hormones that can weaken the immune system.
  • Wearing tight-fitting, nonabsorbent pants or undergarments that hold in warmth and moisture.
  • Using feminine hygiene sprays, talcs, or perfumes in the vaginal area.
  • Douching.

Vaginal yeast infections are not sexually transmitted. After having unprotected sex with a partner who has a yeast infection, you may have more than the normal amount of yeast in your vagina. But if after having sex you develop a yeast infection that causes symptoms, it is most likely because other things are also involved.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 17, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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