Yeast Infection Prevention: 5 Tips to Avoid a Yeast Infection

Like other sexual health issues, yeast infections can be sort of a tough topic to approach. But they shouldn’t be so taboo when you consider how common they are. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 75% of women will experience at least one during their life. And men can get them as well, which may lead to an uncomfortable inflammation called balanitis. Basically, the infection happens when Candida yeast, which is always present on your body, starts to multiply too rapidly.

Group Of Women Doing Yoga Indoors

Trouble with a yeast infection? We have some answers. | iStock.com

Because symptoms can closely mimic those of other genital infections, it’s important to see your doctor for a proper diagnosis before trying any over-the-counter medications. Symptoms in women include genital itching, burning, and sometimes an unpleasant discharge. Symptoms for men include an itchy rash in the genital area.

While most women know sitting around in a wet bathing suit all day can lead to a yeast infection or that sex with a certain partner can lead to complications, there are precautions women, and men, can take to ensure a lower risk of catching an infection. Here are five tips for preventing a yeast infection.

1. Wear cotton underwear

Lacy Underpants on a wire

Wearing cotton underwear may help prevent yeast infections. | iStock.com

While lacy hip-huggers and skimpy thongs may be sexier, cotton underwear is the way to go, especially when working up a sweat. The experts at Monistat explain cotton underwear is great for workouts because it’s breathable, absorbent, and flexible, pulling moisture away from the skin and allowing air to flow. “Moisture build up can lead to irritation, yeast infections or bacterial infections and as you might guess, the more sweat the more moisture. If you are planning a heavy sweat session, make sure you are wearing breathable underwear and even plan to change pairs halfway through if possible,” Monistat recommends.

2. Use condoms

Couple kissing

Wearing a condom can help prevent yeast infections. | iStock.com

Because you can get a yeast infection without intercourse, it’s not considered a sexually transmitted infection. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t get one from intercourse if your partner is infected. The Office on Women’s Health recommends using condoms or dental dams to help prevent getting or passing yeast infections through vaginal, oral, or anal sex.

3. Shower ASAP

Fitness spa locker and shower

Be sure to shower after a workout and use unscented soaps. | iStock.com

If you’ve just finished up a workout or are getting home from a sweaty day in the summer sun, be sure to shower as soon as possible. “No sprays or wipes do the same job as a quick rinse in the shower,” Monistat says. “If you’re in a rush or planning to do more active things after you workout, like mowing your lawn or cleaning the house, try to at least change into a fresh pair until you can shower.” It’s no good to have all that bacteria festering in a moist environment for too long, so get claned up when you can.

4. Use fragrance-free soap and dry thoroughly

back side of young female showering under refreshing water

Who knew a shower could cause so many problems. | iStock.com/Anna Omelchenko

While women are more prone to yeast infections, men are still at risk, particularly if they use scented products. According to Everyday Health, these types of soaps can encourage yeast to grow. It’s also a good idea to make sure you’re really toweled off after showering.

5. Don’t douche or use scented feminine products

Two clean white tampons

Avoid scented feminine products. | iStock.com

Some women might think douching will leave them feeling totally cleansed down there, but that’s not actually the case. According to the Office on Women’s Health, douching removes some of the normal bacteria in the vagina that protects against infection. Additionally, it’s important to change tampons, pads, and panty liners often, and only use unscented products. Again, those fragrances will do you no favors.