Causes for Recurring Yeast Infections

causes for recurring yeast infectionsThere are quite a few possible causes for recurring yeast infections or candidiasis. If you suffer from these irritating fungal infections, you know how annoying and, possibly, painful they can be.

So why are you having these recurrent infections and what can you do to stop them from coming back?

Well, I guess that is the million dollar question and we will attempt to find the answer for you.

Below we list some of the common causes of recurrent yeast infections. If you see yourself in any of these descriptions, try and change your behavior and see if this stops the infections from reappearing. Although it may seem insurmountable now, sometimes all it takes is a little change to affect your health in a positive way.

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First, though, what actually is a recurring yeast infection? The medical community defines this as having 4 or more yeast infections in a year. (For an explanation of yeast infection itself, see our page on what is a yeast infection?)

Now to be a bit technical here, although they are often used interchangeably, a recurring yeast infection is different than a chronic yeast infection.

A recurrent yeast infection is one that you can successfully treat and get rid of but it is likely to come back in the future. On the other hand, a chronic yeast infection is one that is always there for a prolonged period of time - in other words, you can not get rid of it.

So if you do see your doctor and discuss your infection, just be aware of the difference.

Now on to the causes for recurring yeast infections.

Recurrent Yeast Infection Causes

  • Oral Contraceptives/Hormones - Birth control pills cause the hormone level in the body to fluctuate. As these levels change, it can make the body more inviting and hospitable to the yeast. A women may also be more likely to have a yeast infection around the time of their period due to the change in her hormone levels.
  • Diabetes - A person with diabetes offers a good environment for the yeast cells to multiply and lead to a yeast infection. This is due to the fact that people with diabetes have higher amounts of glucose (sugar) in their blood which will feed the yeast and lead to candidiasis. If this is the case with you, you should see your doctor since a yeast infection in a person with diabetes can be a warning sign that your diabetes is not under control.
  • Pregnancy - Pregnancy, like birth control pills, will also affect a woman's hormone levels. Any change in the balance of the vaginal environment can lead to a yeast infection. There is more sugar in the vagina during pregnancy which the yeast can feed off of, causing the fungus to multiply. For more information, see our page on yeast infections during pregnancy.
  • Weakened Immune System - The body needs a healthy immune system to ward off infections. When the body does not have a strong immune system, it gives the fungus that causes a yeast infection a chance to multiply. People with HIV/Aids are especially susceptible to having yeast infections since it affects the immune system.

Everyday factors such as lack of sleep, sickness, stress, etc. can also lead to a weakened immune system. One of those causes for recurring yeast infections that you may not have been aware of. This gives you yet another reason to take care of yourself.

  • Antibiotics - Antibiotics have many benefits. They do their job well and get rid of the bad bacteria in your body which was making you sick. However, as they are getting rid of the bad bacteria, they are also killing off some of the good bacteria. This alters the balance in your body and can lead to candidiasis.

Since your body has less good bacteria to stop the Candida fungus from growing and multiplying, a yeast infection results.

  • Feminine Products - If you use any of the following products, you should use the unscented and uncolored versions: douches, bubble bath, hygiene sprays, toilet paper and tampons or pads. However, douches and hygiene spray are not recommended, especially if you suffer from recurring vaginal yeast infections since they can change the balance in the vagina.
  • Clothing - White, breathable fabrics such as cotton are the best bet if you have yeast infections. Tight, non-breathable clothing/underwear can give the fungus that leads to candidiasis a dark, moist place to grow. Breathable fabrics that are washed frequently can help stop infections.
  • Spermicides - Some studies have shown that the spermicide Nonoxynol-9 is linked to yeast infections. This spermicide is frequently found in lubricants on condoms. However, Nonoxynol-9 can also get rid of a natural layer in your vagina that protects it from germs. Another one of those surprise causes for recurring yeast infections.

If you use these type of condoms and suffer from recurrent infections, try using condoms that don't have a spermicidal lubricant (but be sure to use another layer of protection).

These are some of the more common causes for recurring yeast infections. If you would like to know the symptoms and treatment for infections, see our list of articles on recurrent yeast infections.

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