Antibiotics are one of the most common culprits in causing yeast infections, because they destroy vaginal bacteria and thereby disrupt the balance of power among the vaginal microorganisms. This balance is also affected by hormone levels, so women are more prone to yeast infections if they’re using hormonal contraceptives, during pregnancy, or just prior to menstruation. Yeast infections are also more common in women with compromised immune systems due to illnesses like diabetes, AIDS, or cancer. In fact, anything that weakens your immune system—stress, lack of sleep, consumption of alcohol, and even refined sugar—can lead to an overgrowth of yeast.
While it’s completely normal for your vagina to harbor some bacteria and yeast, certain factors can cause a fungus called Candida to grow out of control. This results in itching, burning, swelling, pain when you pee, and thick cottage cheese-like discharge—the telltale signs of a yeast infection. So it makes sense, then, that you’d want to do everything you can to get rid of one ASAP.
Vaginal infections can also be caused by bacterial vaginosis (BV), the most common cause of vaginitis in women of childbearing age, and trichomoniasis, a sexually transmitted infection. BV and trichomoniasis are associated with more serious reproductive health concerns, such as premature birth and increased risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Because these infections can have symptoms similar to those of yeast infections, yet can have more serious reproductive effects, it's important to see a health care professional to evaluate and diagnose any vaginal symptoms. A variety of medications can treat vaginal infections, but proper diagnosis is key.
Infant yeast infection should be treated with a topical antifungal medicine such as nystatin four times a day. There are combination antifungal/steroid creams available, but the risk is that overusing steroid cream on sensitive private parts or the face can lead to a thinning out of the skin permanently, with what are called "atrophic changes." It's worth avoiding, and if you can get away with no steroid but just antifungal medicines for yeast infections, that is safer for Junior's bottom.
What you wear can make a difference. Underwear with a cotton crotch, rather than one made from synthetic fabric, is recommended. Skirts and pants that are loose-fitting can help keep you cooler and drier. Avoid wearing tight pantyhose and any pants that are tight in the crotch. Change out of wet or damp clothes as soon as possible, including swimsuits and exercise clothing.
The MONISTAT® 7 suite of products is the original prescription formula (100 mg of miconazole nitrate per dose), with smaller doses of the active ingredient evenly distributed throughout the week at bedtime. MONISTAT® 7 meets CDC Treatment Guidelines for pregnant women and is appropriate for women with diabetes. (Consult a healthcare professional before use.) Use as directed.