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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:

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  • 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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 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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