Medical questions & health advice by licensed doctors
"Are yeast infections more common in the summer?"
Is it the heat? I still shower and change my undies all the time. Can it be stress related? I am a med student and stressed all the time.
Vaginal yeast infections tend to occur when the normal vaginal flora is disrupted. Commonly, this happens after taking antibiotics, which eliminate some of the normal vaginal bacteria and allow yeast--which is already present, but typically held in check by the other bacteria--to flourish. Another major risk factor for yeast infections is increased estrogen, as with pregnancy or oral contraceptive pill use. Other factors that can predispose to yeast infections are use of steroids (like prednisone), having an intrauterine device (IUD), or using a diaphragm for contraception. Some medical conditions, such as diabetes--especially poorly-controlled diabetes--or HIV, weaken the immune system and also increase the risk. Some women are simply genetically predisposed. Common advice for the prevention of yeast infections is to wear cotton (non-synthetic) underwear, and to avoid tight-fitting clothing. There is little data to support these recommendations, but they are probably still a good idea. Also, you should avoid douching with soaps or over-the-counter products, since these will also change the vaginal flora. Other conditions or infections can mimic yeast infections, so if you are having infections you should be sure to see your primary care doctor or gynecologist. These doctors can perform a pelvic exam and look at the vaginal fluid to see if yeast is truly present, or if something else is causing your symptoms.
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