I’ve had quite a few people asking me to explain this in more detail, so here’s my post with the answer to EVERYBODY’s favorite question, What Causes Yeast Infections? 🙂
As simple as it may seem, the human body is a host for an astronomical number of micro-organisms. Several different types of micro-organisms are present in the vagina. These include certain types of fungi belonging to the Candida family.
A vast majority of vaginal infections are caused by the uncontrolled growth of the fungus Candida Albicans, although other Candida fungi are also responsible for a slightly different type of yeast infection.
The bacterium Lactobacillus Acidophilus, which is present in the vagina of healthy women, is responsible for keeping the growth of fungi under control. It does so by producing hydrogen peroxide.
However, due to several reasons, the numbers of this ‘good’ bacterium begin to dwindle. As a result, there is not enough hydrogen peroxide to inhibit the growth of fungi – leading to a vaginal yeast infection.
So what causes Yeast Infections in the Vagina?
1) Antibiotics (also known as antibacterials) caused a revolution in the medical world when they first appeared on the scene.
They made it possible to cure hundreds of infections. Antibiotics kill a lot of bad bacteria but unfortunately, they also kill good bacteria such as the Lactobacillus Acidophilus. With no one to check their growth, the Candida fungi begin to multiply rapidly and their numbers blow out of control – ultimately causing a yeast infection.
2) Douching: For those of you don’t know, (and all of you SHOULD, lol) douching refers to the internal cleansing of the vagina using a liquid solution. Douching kits are available over the counter. Women douche for several reasons – to feel fresh after a menstrual period, to cleanse after sexual intercourse and for other medical, hygienic and aesthetic reasons.
It is a widely believed that douching is actually helpful in treating in a vaginal yeast infection. Many medical websites, magazines and other sources recommend it. However, douching can actually aggravate an already existing infection and cause it to spread to the uterus and the cervix! So stay away from douching even if you are not pregnant and don’t have an infection.
Believe it or not, douching can damage the inner walls of the vaginal and disturb the pH balance within. Your body cleans itself and so does the vagina. If you are worried about hygiene, clean externally and try to keep the area dry and ventilated. Focus on finer aspects like nutrition and exercise – they help regulate hormones and improve the body’s self cleansing mechanism.
3) Pregnancy: The body of a pregnant woman undergoes a series of hormonal changes and this can sometimes cause a yeast infection. Self treatment is not recommended for pregnant women; instead, they should see a medical professional immediately.
4) Hormonal treatment: Certain treatments alter the hormonal balance in the body. This can lead to change in the pH level of the vagina, which subsequently triggers a yeast infection.
5) Diabetes: As you may well be aware, diabetes weakens the overall immune system of the body. Small cuts and wounds become infected and take forever to heal up.
If diabetes is uncontrolled, the heightened levels of blood sugar feed the fungi and promote their growth. (If you have any experience in baking, you probably know that a little bit of sugar is added to yeast to help it grow as it makes the dough rise.
It’s not that simple in the body but you get the idea). This is precisely why you should avoid sweet and artificial foods when undergoing treatment for an infection.
6) Stress, fatigue, and lack of proper sleep: You may be wondering what exactly stress has to do with a yeast infection. Well, again the answer lies in hormonal imbalance. When we are stress, our cortisol levels remain perpetually high (Cortisol is a hormone that the body release in response to stress.)
This affects the secretion of other hormones – which affects the pH balance of the body and makes it susceptible to infections.
7) Sexually transmitted diseases: These alter the synergy between various micro-organisms and weaken the immune system.
It is important to diagnose a yeast infection correctly. It is commonly confused with bacterial vaginosis or urinary tract infection as some of the symptoms such as itching, irritation, pain while urinating etc. are similar in all three.
8) How to cure your yeast infection? The next step is to either cure it yourself with some home remedies, or visit your Doctor or Physician for some help. We also highly recommend the book “Yeast Infections No More” to our readers, and most have come back to us with praise for recommending them.